This Filipino Comics Artist Self-Published His Own Fantasy Graphic Novel
Six hundred years ago, there existed a realm of powerful dragon-like monsters called the Bakonauas who tried to conquer the world. A race of warriors called the Lanzenreiter were the only ones who could stand up to the monsters. But the Lanzenreiter suddenly disappeared, and the world was overrun by the Bakonauas.
This is the central premise of a new graphic novel called Lanzenreiter, written and self-published by an independent Filipino comic artist named Ardee Arollado. Based in Quezon City, Arollado has been working in the industry for the last 10 years and has self-published other books in the past. Lanzenreiter is special though because he’s been working on it on and off since 2018 and it was supposed to come out in 2020, until the pandemic hit.
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“I get my inspiration from video games from the 1990s and early 2000s,” he tells Esquire Philippines. “Xenogears and Final Fantasy IX were two games that had a big influence on me.”
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Arollado began by working on his art in his spare time and sharing his art online. While many comic artists these days just share their work digitally, Arollado took it a step further and worked on getting physical copies of his books printed and selling them at conventions such as Komikon.
“It's so satisfying to see my book printed!” he says. “And there are still people looking for physical copies. I share my work online, but if people still want physical copies, I suppose there's still a market for it.”
He also decided to publish it himself instead of looking for a traditional publisher because he has more freedom to work on different aspects of the book himself.
“When I draw it, it's not difficult,” he says. “I also work on a variety of other comic projects for my clients. As a result, I don't have much time to draw Lanzenreiter or other personal projects. Because drawing personal projects is a treat for myself, it isn't difficult for me!
“Of course, time and money constraints make it difficult,” he adds.
Despite the challenges, Arollado says he never considered giving up.
“It's my ambition to be able to support myself solely through the creation of my own works,” he says.
After the printed copies of Lanzenreiter finally became available, Arollado says he felt “surreal and hyped.”
“I literally spent an entire day browsing it and taking pictures of it,” he says.
The artist will have copies of Lanzenreiter available for purchase at this year’s Komiket, which is happening on March 4 and 5, 2023 at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall. Look for him at Table 30. “After that, I'll sell it online as well!”
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For now, Arollado says he is busy working on Volume 2 of Lanzenreiter. He says it’s “a long way to the finish line.”
He also shares some tips to aspiring artists and comic book creators.
“Practically, I suppose you should first treat writing and drawing your own comic book as a hobby,” he says. “Don't expect much from it. I'm not doubting your ability, but we must be pragmatic. Do it when you have free time.
“And don't give up drawing!”