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DOORKEEPER

ETHAN CH UA SCOTT LE E CH UA

Gia Dominique Duran | Aaron Felizmenio | Allen Geneta Bow Guerrero | Bianca Lesaca | Jap Mikel | Brent Sabas


DOORKEEPER WRITTEN AND CREATED BY ETHAN CHUA AND SCOTT LEE CHUA

GIA DOMINIQUE DURAN AARON FELIZMENIO ALLEN GENETA BOW GUERRERO BIANCA LESACA JAP MIKEL BRENT SABAS


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, some places and incidents are products of the authors’ imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. DOORKEEPER is published by Summit Publishing Co. Inc. 6F Robinsons Cybergate 3, Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City, Philippines 1550 Copyright Š 2017 Ethan Chua & Scott Lee Chua Cover Illustration by Jap Mikel Illustrators: Allen Geneta (Chapter 1) Bianca Lesaca (Chapter 2 and Interlude) Jap Mikel (Chapter 3) Gia Dominique Duran (Chapter 4) Brent Sabas (Chapter 5) Bow Guerrero (Chapter 6) Aaron Felizmenio (Epilogue) Borg Sinaban (Chapter Openers) Raymund Bermudez (End Pages) Editor-in-Chief: Lio Mangubat Managing Editor: Mica De Leon Art Director: April Asis-Manto Summit Books President: Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng Publisher: Edna Tancongco-Belleza VP For Operations: Hansel dela Cruz Deputy Group Publisher: Christine Ko Sr. Publishing Assistant: Ishi Castro Deputy National Circulation Manager: Glenda Gil Logistics Manager: Norman Campo Production Manager: Eliz Rellis Production Coordinator: Dina Jesuitas Production Graphic Artist: Mady Marcelino All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Visit www.facebook.com/SummitBooks for updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @Summit.Books


D

OF PORTALS AND GATEWAYS

id you check your horoscope today? Have you consulted a fortune teller lately? Do they already have an app that will help you divine your future? We are forever intrigued by the possibility of knowing what happens tomorrow, before it happens. Stories have been written about dreamers, prophets, and visionaries that have given us dire warnings or welcome blessings that await us in the days to come. Stories have also been written about machines and devices that would allow us to take a peek behind the chrono-curtain or break the time barrier and discover our future fates. In comic books, we’ve read about The Watcher and Sandman’s brother Destiny, omniscient beings that can foretell events but cannot intervene in the decisions of mere mortals, although sometimes they have done so. Inspired by these past tales and the aforementioned characters, Scott Lee Chua and Ethan Chua proudly present to us the Doorkeeper, a cosmic (or is it a magical?) being, that has the ability to travel the time stream. The Doorkeeper serves as our narrator, guide, and the catalyst in moving the lives and influencing the decision of protagonists throughout time and space. Through the Doorkeeper, Scott and Ethan serves us an amazing collection of stories, reminding me of my favorite TV shows like Twilight Zone and The Ray Bradbury Theater. We meet various characters who have reached a crossroads in their lives and see how the Doorkeeper influences or affects their decisions. More importantly, the stories of the Doorkeeper becomes a way for readers to get re-introduced to heroes and creatures from Filipino myths, characters from our classic literature, as well as brand new ones.

There is a great mix of stories that range from battles with mythic creatures and nuclear weapons, to quiet little stories about lost childhood friendships and a barkada bonded by rock n’ roll and revolution. All of these tales were drawn by a carefully selected group of artists that bring to life the different timelines in their own distinct art style. In a few moments, you’ll be able to turn the page and be in awe of the artworks of Allen Geneta, Bianca Lesaca, Jap Mikel, Gia Dominique Duran, Brent Sabas, Bow Guerrero, and Aaron Felizmenio. I am envious that Ethan and Scott were able to gather all these amazing artists for their initial comic book project. Back in the 90s, we didn’t have the internet. We would have had to call up people on landlines or send them messages on their beepers (which was how we put together Alamat Comics, but that’s a story for another day). You hold this comic book in your hands as evidence that you’re now living in one of the best times to be a comic book creator. Thanks to the the authors’ passion for storytelling—and thanks to the internet—they were able get this produced and published. I hope this book inspires you, gentle reader, that nothing can stop you from telling your own tales! If we were to look into future using some scrying pool or some quantum temporal device, I would like to see our bookstores and ebook shops filled with more comic book stories from our 7,107 islands, to see the world raving about the wonderful and fantastic tales from the Philippines, and definitely, to see more tales from the Doorkeeper. Budjette Tan September 2017 Billund, Denmark


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Doorkeeper is the product of many minds and many hearts. Thank you to our crowdfunders who financed this project when it was still an idea: Rowie Juan Matti, Jeanne Chua, Julie Tiu, Debbie Tan, Akash Mamidi, Christian Ching, Chyna Co, Caila Noche, Rofel Brion, Josie and Cheska Cruz, Austin Chua, Renz Lukban, Aileen Ty-Africa, LJ Flores, Shaun Tan, Kurt Tan, Kevin Tan, Trenton Tan, Kester Ng Wee, Kirby Chua, Pepe Mapa, Sebastian Di, Shaun Yuson, Cass Chan, Anthea Chua, Angad Srivastava, Hebe Hilhorst, Monty Ngan, Kyle Kang, Marco Ocampo-Tan, Jarred Co, Nathan Oranga, Cass Chan, Lance Ting, Andrew Chua, and several generous individuals who prefer to remain anonymous. Thank you to Oliver Yu, Louie Lagon, and Nathan Oranga for being our test audience and suffering through our early drafts. The story is better off because of you. Thank you to Larry Ypil, whose insights on narrative structure and theme propelled the writing of our second draft. Thank you to Cat Aquino, Louie Kiu, and Ariel Lim for graciously producing the marketing collaterals that are now all over Facebook. Thank you to Jolene Lum for proofreading some chapters replete with time travel verb tenses, and JJ Agcaoili for storyboarding some chapters we could never visualize ourselves. Thank you to Danna Xue for introducing us to Givebutter; Sophie Demanawa for believing in this project from the beginning; Yeda Porcalla and MJ Pajaron for their interest and support; Djai Rugeria for his assistance with historical research; JJ Disini for his advice on copyright law, and Bo Tiojanco for the introduction; Omeng Estanislao for introducing us to the local comic artist community. Thank you to the Summit Books team—to Lio Mangubat, Mica de Leon, and Koko Ko for believing in the comic when it was nothing more than a first draft; to April Asis-Manto for poring over the layout of each and every page with a fine-toothed comb; to Ishi Castro for spearheading our marketing efforts. Thank you to Toshi Alibudbud for infecting us with his passion for comics and belief that they can change the world. Without you, there would be no Doorkeeper. To our friends, for indulging two nerds with a pipe dream to write a comic, And our families—Smith and Queena; Ron and Annabelle; Kirby and Kyra—for their unconditional love, guidance, and support— Thank you.


Y E A R O F T H E E C LI P S E


S

cientists say that the universe began by chance. A roll of the dice, they say. A quantum fluctuation. But the scientists are wrong. The universe began by choice. In deep space, a particle chose to exist, willing itself into being.

When that choice was made, Doorkeeper was there. He watched as atoms coalesced into dust…

…as dust settled into stars…

…as gravity pulled soil and diamond into spiral orbits.

Planets formed, collapsed, re-formed. Still he watched.


In that beginning, nature set its laws into place-Matter to bind with matter. Light to travel at a preordained speed.

Doorkeeper, too, was bound by law.

Never to interfere. Only to show the way.

And the ways were many.

MINDORO. YEAR OF THE ECLIPSE.

BAKUNAWA! BAKUNAWA! BAKUNAWA!


BAKUNAWA! BAKUNAWA! BAKUNAWA!

This was hers, Makaraeg. My little flower...

Be at peace, Nanang.

I will redeem her soul.


Gani, our people are here. Stay with them.

Father, let me fight with you!

“Should I not return...

...take care of them.�


O KAPTAN, IBALIK KAMO SA KAGATANG BULAN!


PISTI! PISTI!

AS MAKARAEG FELL... As Makaraeg fell...

...time stopped.

...TIME STOPPED.


Who are you?

Who I am is not important, Makaraeg. But some call me Doorkeeper.

Yawa’a ka! I know of no such name in the scrolls of Kaptan. Are you sent by the sea? By the moon or the stars? Your gods do not command me. But while I am here, you are safe. The Bakunawa is frozen, trapped within two heartbeats.

If you have no quarrel with me, why show yourself? I have watched you since you were but a babe. You crossed spears with Malandok the Terrible. You plunged that very spear into the maw of an aswang.

But those were younger days, when scars faded quickly.

Do you not seek rest?


I have a duty to my people-And you have done your duty. All your life you have done it.

Before you were born, I saw the babaylan choose you in Kaptan’s name. Your father had to give you up.

Did you know him? He was a strong man.

But he wept.

But it was Kaptan’s decree. I serve him, not you.

Tonight you are not bound by his laws.

I offer you a choice.

The one you could not make for yourself when you were born.


If you choose to run‌

‌you will be honored as a fallen hero.

What then becomes of my people?

You know what happens.


If you fight the Bakunawa, you will suffer...

‌and suffer greatly.

What is my fate? Do I die fighting this monster?

Strange.

I cannot see this battle’s end.

Then, demon, Doorkeeper--if you meant to sway me, you have failed.

Leave me. I have chosen.


So be it.

HYAH!

HYAH!


L E Y TE | 1 9 41


You grew up in the shadow of the narra tree, whose branches you loved to climb.

On most mornings, breakfast was warm pandesal and munggo spooned steaming over rice.

Father noticed you up there one dull afternoon, and built you a treehouse out of deadwood.

One day you were nestled in the branches of the narra, calling out: Uwak. Kalapati. Kuwago.

Then something unfamiliar.


Nighttime brought the drone of wings, the sound of splinters, a rush of wind your father called an airplane.

The springs of the bed broke during the tremors.

One night, your mother woke you in a hurry.

You stayed hidden until the sun shone slight through the gaps.

You were afraid of falling, but you jumped anyway.

After that, your father sawed a hole into the floor of your house.


Father was no longer there come morning.

You took his bolo and ran deep into the forest...

...where the soil was dense with creepers and old vines.

Then there she was.


In the clearing were the shells of heavy fruits pierced by metal casings.

You ran in circles until evening.

Then you took her to your father’s treehouse.

You whispered the names of birds as they flew by.

She had never been so high up in the air before.


But at home, food grew scarce...

The games you played unfolded into months.

...and sometimes mother would fall asleep before dinnertime.

You almost forgot the taste of munggo.

Almost forgot the smell of air that wasn’t mixed with smoke.


The sando he would wear, stained with cigarette ash.

The way father would ruffle the spot behind your ears to wake you.

She took you to the shore, before the gulf.

You were afraid of drowning, but you jumped anyway.


I brought you into my house as my daughter’s friend.

Between the reeds, she taught you the old names of fish, in syllables that sounded like the ebb of lonely waves.


The surface-dwellers were...

...less welcoming.

Whatever happens, I promise I’ll keep you safe.


Wake up! They’ve arrived.

We can’t stay here anymore.

You promised yourself you’d come back someday. You sailed out onto the bay.

But you grew up.


MANILA, 1958.

You must know this story...

...hear it echo in the chambers of your chest.

...by the sound of the sea in empty tins of coffee...

You must remember my daughters. By the coral necklaces draped around the statues of San Pedro...

...by the cries of seabirds that sometimes fly overhead.

You must remember us. You must.


It is time, Allmother.

Already?

Yes.

How do you choose?

No. Do I remember you?


UNDERWATER.

I am familiar with you, Doorkeeper, no matter what form you take.

This is your domain, Allmother, and I respect it.

Given the choice, I would not have interfered.

We are past pleasantries. You know full well what you have done.

They chose. It is finished. What would you have me do?

In Sarangani, when Herminya first whispered of a woman birthed by sea--I was born. And the stories that followed--of the whispering coral, the sleeping mountain, the butterfly who wished to be a god--each gave life to one of my daughters.

But those are forgotten now, replaced by tales of fire and war. We are fading, Keeper.

I would have you save us.


I know. And old habits are hard to shake.

There are rules.

Kingdoms come and go.

Does it not disturb you though, that it will be as if we never lived?

But what are cities to stars...

But you never saw the old city. Spires reaching up to scrape the tide. Moonlight shining off schools of sea bream.

...and what are stars to the endless flow of time?

Oh, it was beautiful then!

Endless for you, maybe. Not for me.


Perhaps this is my fate...to be forgotten. Or perhaps I’m just afraid to die.

I will remember you, Allmother. But I cannot undo what has been done.

I always knew this tree would outlive me.

They never grow this old anymore.

In the end, Keeper, we all have to change. Else the world moves on without us.


O R O Q U I E TA | 1 5 60


Let me... Let me go back...

Lady Flerida, I’ve lost him!

No, he’s over there!

Split up! We cannot allow the spy to escape!


THE OUTSKIRTS OF OROQUIETA, MINDANAO. 1560 AD.

Let me go back!

HALT! DROP YOUR WEAPONS!

A man in enemy garb within my borders-unarmed?

My mission is one of peace. I have none.


Peace? As your men lay siege to my home?

We have but met, yet already you cast me as a villain.

Your kind murdered our people-And your people murdered mine. Who, then, is good, and who is evil?

Would you have me believe in your righteousness?

I would only have you believe my story.


Growing up in the shadow of the King’s castle, I found adventure in my mother’s tales.

My favorite was that of Aliguyon, the virtuous hero of Hannanga.

Stay back, Mother! My fight with Pumbakhayon isn’t over!

Mother, do you think that one day I could save Albanya and become king like Aliguyon?

If you learn everything Antenor teaches you, maybe.

Once it is, there are fresh pastillas waiting for you.


Why not? But you know, Aliguyon never became king.

Tradition, Adolfo. Only the prince succeeds the king...

“...just like Florante will inherit Briseo’s crown.”

Later, I was sent to Iligan to study...

...along with my cousin Florante.


Is this how the prince treats his subjects? You are the son of a king.

And you are the son of a whore. All your mother did was marry my uncle. What do you know of royalty?

One day, cousin, you may take the throne. But you will never be my king.

You think you can do better?


Petros! Weapons.

No. We fight to draw blood.

Sire. Two training swords?

During class, Florante always fought for show. Not this time.

His ferocity surprised me.

I realized then that my cousin meant to kill me.

But all his strength went into each blow, and he was quickly tiring.


I saw an opening, and took it--

Then, everything... stood still.

Just a little more, and I would have beaten him.

But my sword, too, was frozen. Only the shadow moved.


Ungh!

I have many names-Moirae, the Norn, Ang Kumakatok.

You... what are you? So the tales are true.

You have heard of me, Adolfo, in your mother’s tales.

They often are.

The shadow showed me visions of the future.


There was one where I was king.

Albanya had prospered, as I knew it would. I was loved and feared in equal measure.

All I had to do was kill Florante.

But when the Sultan’s armies came for Albanya...

...I could not stop them.


In another future, I had spared Florante, who would crush the Sultan’s army.

There, I was but a lowly adviser.

I was a naive child whose head was filled with fairytales.

What did I choose?

I yield! I yield!

So I chose as Aliguyon would have.


THIRTY YEARS LATER.

Menandro! How many riders are ready?

Sire, I bring word from your uncle. Ali-Adab and his Moros have taken Crotona.

Four hundred by dawn, Your Majesty, one thousand by week’s end. Have the thousand ready by tomorrow.

But Crotona is a fortress! If the Sultan has taken the walls, we cannot win.

My uncle calls for aid. I will not stand by and wait.


I promise you...

Crotona is in your debt, my King.

...this war has just begun.

LONG LIVE THE KING!

A thousand rode into Crotona. Seventy rode out.

So Florante called for more. This was not their war. Farmers. Poets. Tanners. None had ever held a sword.

No more.


Written in the code of Kalantiaw is an old law. If a king is judged unfit to rule, his court can overthrow him and choose a successor.

Once Florante had left for Oroquieta, the aristocrats crowned me in his stead.

But the rest of Albanya was less than pleased.


Over? Florante is out there leading our men.

The time for war is over.

Towards what? Death and glory?

We ride for Oroquieta at first light. Ready your men.

NEXT DAY.

Is that the king?

Ready your men, Menandro-But--

--and do not question me.


That I am.

What’s your name, son?

He lost his brother at Crotona. Yet you would have peace with those animals?

Let’s go.

You have lost nothing, “king.”


OROQUIETA OUTSKIRTS, 1560 AD. We camp here for the night.

This is the forest’s edge.

Menandro? Rodrigo? Calix?

Anyone?


AAAAGH!

YOU LIED, SHADOW!

Give up the crown, you said...

...and save your kingdom.

You lied! Let me go back!

LET ME GO BACK!

And here you find me. Let me... Let me go back...


The--the siege?

You mean the siege is not your doing?

You dishonored your laws. Betrayed your king.

I journeyed here to stop that very siege.

But even your treachery had noble intent.

Anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it.

And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it. Surat az-Zalzalah.


MY LADY!

I killed him, Lady Flerida! The kafir is dead. What have you done? My lady?


He did not deserve such a death.

Peace and blessings of God be unto you.

But... ...he was our enemy.

It is time we return home.

Lower your weapons, sisters.


M A L AT E | 1 9 8 0


So there’s Form 16A... ...Form 16B... ...Form 22A...

...then Form 101M in triplicate? What does that mean?

It means you fill it up thrice.

Who’s gonna read it thrice?

It’s paperwork, Sands. It’s meant to be confusing.

At this rate, I’ll never make it to the embassy alive.

Don’t you dare miss that appointment, Cassandra Alvarez.

I met this really hot waitress at Tony’s.

Take too long, I’ll ask her out.


Go ahead, Ry. One waitress? I have a whole strip club of Arellano girls.

Oh wait, I don’t-It shut down last year.

No way. Frenzy Hot Models? Gone. Just like Erwin’s and the Blue Bar.

That’s not the nightlife I remember.

It’s dead, Ry. No one stays out past midnight anymore.

Do you really believe all the talk? Communists? Rebels? All I know is it’s not safe.

Hey, you’ll be out of there soon. Why don’t you take a break, play some guitar?

Ry, I haven’t touched the electric in years.

You know I don’t do music anymore.

*sigh*

I did love it when you played.


What a disgrace.

He stands on the same stage Track A used to perform on and calls himself a singer.

Track A, here? When?

You were still in law school then, way before-Excuse me, hi!

I’d ask you to sign it, but--

You’re Sandy Alvarez! And you guys are the Underground Railroad!

I still have your record--Hard Times?

I’m...surprised people still remember us.

Thank you so much!

I have a napkin here, if you like. Pen, Nat?

Thanks too!

And...stay in school!

Don’t talk to strangers!


Sounds like life right here.

Eyes front, Sands. I have half a mind to tell Ry. How is she, by the way?

The usual. Working overtime. Paying back rent. Scraping by.

Better there than here.

Now, this next song is for our beloved first lady...

Not this song again. I didn’t come here to listen to some hack kiss ass.

O mahal, aawitan kita...

Hey, this isn’t the sixties anymore.

But back then, they never shut us down. Never told us what to write or sing.

And what, Ian? You want to do something about it?

We could bring the Underground Railroad back.


The band, back? After all this time?

Think: a concert. Word of mouth. Luhang Bayani, Munting Kidlat, all the songs they want us to forget.

And then what? Revolution? Get real--no one’s gonna notice us. We wouldn’t change a thing.

You know what happens to the people who pull this kinda shit.

Exactly why we need to lie low.

What do you want from her? It’s been six years. People change.

So you’re just gonna do...nothing? We have a chance to do something good. Something right.

Maybe you have. You should know by now. It’s never as simple as the ‘right thing.’

The old Sandy would disagree. But me?


aaaah...

Ian...

I’m done keeping quiet.

Ian Navarro.


I knew this would happen. I knew it, I knew it.

Somehow, I knew it, and I didn’t tell him.

If I had just told him the truth... that he was making sense...that I was starting to believe him...

Hey, hey. Nat. You can’t blame yourself for this.

But who’s to blame, then? The ones who stabbed him? The ones who spied on him? Or the friends who didn’t take his side?

We have new lives now. We stopped playing rebel for a reason.

Breaking up the band was your idea, Nat--and it was a good one.

I get it, Sands. You met Ry. You fell in love.

You’re leaving for the States. And I’m happy for you, truly.

But that’s not how things turned out for me.


After Dario disappeared and the band broke up, I took a new job and tried to forget. But I couldn’t.

I waited forever for a knock, a call, hoping he’d been found.

He wasn’t even a good brother.

I didn’t pass the bar with him, and he never let me hear the end of it.

But he was my brother.

There’s no Cali apartment waiting for me, Sands. There’s just this. Nothing else.

I’m doing the concert. If I don’t do it now, I never will.

All those years alone... I’m sorry.

Don’t let me do this alone, too.


If Ian recovers...I could ask Nat to postpone. Maybe in a few days, she’ll change her mind.

No, Nat’s Nat. She won’t cancel. But she just doesn’t want to perform alone. I don’t have to be the lead.

Of course, I’ll help her organize everything else. Drinks, sounds, posters...

I’d do that, of course...

...but I won’t--


I...

Shit.


FOUR DAYS LATER.

I have to! It’s not just any gig, it’s-Probably not, after this. No, that’s bullshit. Of course I care about you more--

Ry? Ry?? Hello?

Ms. Alvarez?

What? It’s, uh, five to 9. Okay, sorry.

Damn it!

What? Never seen a girl cry?

I said I heard you th--


Well met, Maria Cassandra Alvarez.

I don’t have time for this. Just tell me what you want and go.

Oh, but we have time. The crowd will wait an eternity, if that is how long it takes.

Look, whatever it is you want-Doorkeeper.

--you picked a bad time to show up.

On the contrary. This is the moment you choose who you will be, who you--

Oh, spare me the speech. As you wish.


You will choose, here and now, which one comes to pass.

I will show you two futures.

If you perform tonight...

...you never leave the country again.

Ian wakes up. Dario never goes home.

Arianna settles down with someone else and calls it love.

Some days she believes it.


Things don’t change right away, but the revolution...

be prepared-your power as a people--

...it begins with whispers and murmurs, and an old tune that won’t fade.

And in February of ‘86, a girl hears a call on the radio and remembers how you fought, so many years ago.

Now, if you choose to leave...

...your life goes on in California with...

Enough!


How do you choose?

Get out.

I am a servant of the Universe and the Protector of the Ways.

You cannot banish me like some figment of your imagination.

Then tell me...

...Doorkeeper...

...why are you doing this?


Because the destruction of a whole timestream is no small matter.

Wrong. I asked, why are you doing this?

Because I have done this since the beginning of time.

For you to learn where the paths diverge. For you to freely choose.

But I already chose.

Until you walk out there, you can still--

You really don’t get it, do you?


I called Ry, before you came.

She hung up on me.

And Nat... ...oh, Nat... I promised her I’d pull through this.

She knows there are spies in that audience. That she likely won’t make it home in once piece. But she chose this...

...and so did I.

I told myself I’d be strong enough to see this through, until you came here and screwed it up...


...and showed me everything I’m about to lose. I only guide. I do not interfere.

But you did.

In what way? Your choice remains the same.

Nothing has changed.

I have.

I don’t understand.

So how do you choose?

I choose to forget.


It’s never been done before. I...don’t know if it can be done.

I get a choice, right? I want to be the old me. The one who never met you.

The rules-they do not forbid it. They do not detail a situation such as this.

You know what they say about rules.

So be it.

I still don’t understand.

I know. Don’t feel bad.

I mean, how could you? You’re just a servant of the Universe.


A flash of lightning.

That is all they are.

Sands? You ready?

Let’s do it.

She could have been happy.

It would not have been selfish.


Instead, she fought for something that would only hurt her.

Another door has opened.

My time here is up.


This place... I know it. It has changed, but I know it.


So how does the demon Keeper still walk the earth?

And how does Makaraeg still wander this land?

Surely you understand that the fuel of life is will.

Simple. I do not allow myself to die.

Come, demon.

It is the oldest magic.

Walk with me.

Perhaps the same power sustains you.

When we last met, you commanded me to leave.

My tribe has long passed. It is a comfort, somehow, to see a familiar face.

One does grow weary fighting the same battle, again and again.

Duty. The most sacred of burdens.


Is it duty that brings you back to these shores?

That can wait. Surely you cannot have traveled this far without a few stories to tell

Yes. You have another choice to make.

Day would have broken twice over before they were all told‌ ‌and I cannot stay for long.

Just one, then.

All right. There was once a young boy not unlike yourself. He loved his tribe and sought to serve them as king.

The best stories begin thus.

But he was not heir to the throne.


When I met him, he was a sword-stroke away from claiming the crown. Then I showed him how his cousin could protect the nation where he could not.

The boy fought for peace, but was called a villain. He died far from home at the hands of a stranger.

So the boy let his cousin become king and throw away the lives of his people in a pointless war.

He deserved better. But we do not always deserve the lives we are given.

His life was not forced upon him. So why did he choose the harder path?

I cannot speak for the boy, but I can speak for myself.

I desired a peaceful life, yet I also swore to protect my tribe. I could not have one without losing the other.

What was it that you lost?


A life free of endless battle...

No, Gani. Only stars.

There’s no moon tonight.

We have to leave. Now.

You travel through time, do you not? Is there any way--

...a life with my son. I miss him.

No. There are rules.

I am sorry.

I...I should not have asked.

However...

There is something I can do.


What is it?

I can show you how his life unfolded.


A life. I see... I see it now.

How beautiful. Thank you.

A universe unto its own.

The sun rises, Makaraeg. The Bakunawa approaches. Your choice awaits.

And my answer has not changed.

I will not run.

I simply go where the path leads.

So be it.

Do we meet again?

Maybe someday, it will cross yours once more.

If the gods are kind, perhaps. Until then.


Any rumors that Mongolian terrorists are behind this attack are false. This is undeniably the M.O of the Western Trade Union’s operatives.


END


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATORS ALLEN GENETA is a freelance artist who creates video game assets, as well as

2D concepts and illustrations. He has worked for Anino Games, a pioneer in game development, and Ladyluck Digital. He has also worked on the Uncharted series, The Last of Us, and Sims 3 expansions. Allen collaborates with local and foreign indie comic books and titles, and is currently trying his hand at comic book coloring.

BIANCA LESACA is a freelance illustrator who is a member of Ilustrador ng

Kabataan (Ang INK). She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong. Her work has appeared in children’s books, editorials for newspapers, as well as on skulls and giant shoes. Check out her website at biancalesaca.com.

JAP MIKEL is a freelance illustrator and designer. He has illustrated for both local books and magazine editorials. He calls his art style “geometric impressionism,” where shape and color are subtly arranged to create light and shadow, depth and movement. His process of building and imagining worlds enables his visuals to tell tales on their own.

GIA DOMINIQUE DURAN is a Visual Communications major at UP Diliman, College of Fine Arts. Her comic “Heart On Your Sleeve”, part of the Komiks Cum Laude Student Comic Anthology (2017), was nominated for Best Komiks Artist and Best Student Komiks in the 2017 Komiket Awards. She also co-created “Sins of the Forefathers” with Scott Lee Chua. Check out her work at fb.com/giadraws. Email her at g.dominique.duran@gmail.com. BRENT SABAS is an art director at an advertising agency and a member of

Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK). A Fine Arts major at UP Diliman, Brent has illustrated the children’s book May Lakad Kami ni Tatay and the comic book Sumpa. His works have appeared in Bench’s #LoveLocal shirt series, and in local magazines such as Esquire Philippines, Preview, Mega, Adobo, and Team. Brent was also included in Real Living Magazine’s 25 Creatives To Watch in 2016.

BOW GUERRERO is the National Book award-winning artist and cocreator of Mikey Recio and the Secret of the Demon Dungeon, as well as one of the artists behind The Lost Journal of Alejandro Pardo. When he’s not drawing comics or illustrating books, he is secretly building a time machine in his room to gather info on mysterious happenings during the height of colonial Spanish rule. AARON FELIZMENIO is a starving artist with bad posture who likes to believe he can make a living drawing comics. He is best known for independent titles such as Manila Accounts: 1081—Good Criminals Wear White, The Minkowski Space Opera, and Gwapoman 2000. He is a big believer in traditional illustration. BORG SINABAN is a cartoonist and a member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK). In 2014, the second issue of his children’s comic book series, Pilandokomiks, won the National Book Award for Graphic Literature in Filipino. A founding member of local comic book studio Studio Salimbal, Borg has worked on Mythspace, Muros, and the anthology The SEA Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia. RAYMUND BERMUDEZ is an artist based in Quezon City. His most notable

works include Amazing Spider-Man #1.3 and 1.5 for Marvel, and Justice League 3000 #5 and Action Comics: Lex Luthor #23.3 for DC.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS ETHAN CHUA is a Chinese-Filipino spoken word poet and a physics major at Stanford University. His work has been published in major Philippine newspapers, the Philippines Graphic, DIALOGIST, Strange Horizons, and The Blueshift Journal. He also received the 2017 Geballe Prize for short fiction. Ethan sings while biking, narrowly avoids accidents, and performs as part of the Stanford Spoken Word Collective. Email him at ezlc327@gmail.com. SCOTT LEE CHUA is an economics major and student business consultant at YaleNUS College, Singapore. He received the Nick Joaquin Literary Award for short fiction in 2017 and the Palanca Kabataan Essay Award in 2011. He is also the author of Top Ten Travels, a children’s book series that became finalists for the National Book Awards. Scott reads The Sandman regularly, designs and plays escape rooms, and cries at Marvel movies. Email him at scottleechua@gmail.com.


A N I M M O R TA L B E I N G . S I X I N D I V I D UA L S , T R A P P E D BY FAT E . A L L O F T I M E A N D S PAC E . Doorkeeper has lived for an eternity and more, the unyielding guardian of the Ways of time and space. His task: to reveal to mortals the consequences of their choices. He does not interfere. But then he meets a doomed warrior. A boy with an imaginary friend. A would-be king. A world-weary musician. A priest with a crisis of faith. A scientist faced with the ultimate choice. And Doorkeeper travels with them, from prehistory to dictatorship, from World War II to the frontiers of the far future. Through colonial Intramuros, alleyway bars, and half-imagined queendoms. Doorkeeper watches, listens, and learns. He maintains the Ways. He does his duty. But perhaps even the oldest of beings can change.

“ … A N A M A Z I N G C O L L E C T I O N O F S T O R I E S …” -BUDJETTE TAN ( TRESE ), FROM THE FOREWORD

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Written and created by Ethan Chua and Scott Lee Chua I l l u s t r a t e d by G i a D o m i n i q u e D u r a n , A a r o n F e l i z m e n i o , A l l e n G e n e t a , B ow G u e r r e r o , B i a n c a L e s a c a , J a p M i k e l , a n d B r e n t S a b a s

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Doorkeeper Graphic Novel  

(c) Ethan Chua and Scott Lee Chua, 2017. Free to read online with the gracious support of our publisher, Summit Books.

Doorkeeper Graphic Novel  

(c) Ethan Chua and Scott Lee Chua, 2017. Free to read online with the gracious support of our publisher, Summit Books.

Profile for scottchua
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