Author: Paolo Javier
Illustrators: Ernest Concepcion and Alex Tarampi
Publisher: Nightboat (2021)
OBB a.k.a. The Original Brown Boy has many identities: it is a comics poem and a manifesto on comics poetry; an experimental comic book sequel to a poem twenty years in the making; and an homage to the Mimeo Revolution, weird fiction, kamishibai, the political cartoon, Pilipinx komiks history, and the poet bp Nichol. Javier deconstructs a post-9/11 Pilipinx identity amid the lasting fog of the Philippine American War, to compose a far-out comic book awit.
“Perhaps this is how the epic poem will survive into the twenty second century, as an aerial nomadic journey laid out in color as well as black and white. There are countless gradations and qualities of line pressed into service here. The language comes across as essential to its imagery, even when stenciled in or glued down to the page. O.B.B. is built like a trembling tower of books within books. A life-long structure, bright enough to bear the glare of the cosmos.”
“Propelled by Paolo Javier’s inexhaustible but canny energy and assisted by intricate images created by Alex Tarampi and Ernest Concepcion, O.B.B. aka the Original Brown Boy is a politically astute, socially generous, and magnificently melodramatic critique of contemporary and perpetual colonialism in Amerika. Yes, Javier is outraged by what he knows and sees in the imperialist history and neoliberal present effecting pretty much all of human society, including, lest we forget, Pilipinx people. But anger is by no means the sole driving force of O.B.B. Influenced by political cartoons, expert at deploying the radical juxtapositions and narrative disjunctions of comic strips, and grounded in a long engagement with avant-garde poetry and poetics, Javier sends O.B.B.’s pages gamboling forth, bearing love as well as militancy. And, like its author and illustrators, the readers of O.B.B. will gratefully participate in its improvisatory play and delight in its aesthetic power, and they—we—will return to the book over and over.”