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‘Kikomachine Komix’ set to invade the screen

By: - Reporter
/ 12:09 AM March 12, 2018

Manix Abrera

Kikomachine Komix,” cartoonist Manix Abrera’s comic strip that’s beloved by many for its fun and witty portrayal of the quirks and mundanities of everyday Filipino life, is set to be adapted into a movie and a live-action series.

Manix, who has been churning out the said strip for the Philippine Daily Inquirer since 2001, recently inked a contract with Epik Studios. Composed of some of the country’s renowned illustrators, novelists and directors, the creation outfit will bring “Kikomachine” to reel life in cooperation with Viva Entertainment.

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“I was worried at first because I didn’t know how my work would translate to a film or series. But the people at Epik assured me that they will take good care of the comics—the story, the characters—I created,” he said in a recent interview. “And now I’m excited to see where this project will take us.”

The strips for “Kikomachine,” which features a motley crew of nameless, but very distinctive characters have been compiled into a number of best-selling books. But more than its popularity, it’s the comic’s “uniqueness,” “relatability” and “simplicity” that inspired Epik to reimagine it for other media.

The coming television and film adaptations, which will jump off from the comic’s seventh book, “Sorrowful, Sorrowful Mysteries!,” are intended for release on video streaming services.

Excerpts from our interview with Manix:

How closely will you be working with Epik? I will help with the conceptualization and perhaps with the casting, too. We will figure out what types of stories will be good for the introductory episodes, so that everything will be smooth. We have already done brainstorming sessions.

What are you most excited about? I’m looking forward to the characters being portrayed by real people. And it would be nice to see them talking like how we do in real life, how I intended them to—in Taglish, using imperfect sentences, stopping and stuttering…I’m excited to see that.

Abrera’s “Kikomachine” strip

How do you think the humor will translate? The feel and humor will definitely be different. And I don’t mind that; I’m actually curious about it. After all, it wouldn’t be good if we just copy the style of humor to a T.

What do you think will be the biggest hurdle? Introducing the characters, especially to people who are not too familiar with my work. That was the same challenge I had to face when I first did the comics. How do I make them endearing and make people accept them?

“Kikomachine” has been around for close to two decades. Where do you draw inspiration? I get inspired by whatever’s happening around me, like simple kwentuhan among friends or riding a jeepney. I look at the things people normally do and look at it from a different perspective. You have to find new angles on overused topics.

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Will you be injecting a bit of political, social commentary? We want the show to be timeless—so, no there won’t be editorializing. I have separate projects specifically for that. For “Kikomachine,” we focus more on the cultural aspects.

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