A Q&A with ‘Nang Ma-In Love Ako Sa Isang Sakristan’ creator Richard Mercado

Growing up in a conservative Catholic country, it can be hard to find forms of mainstream media that reflect the LGBTQ+ experience. With the release of movies like Love, Simon (adapted from YA book Simon and the Homosapiens Agenda), we’re seeing more representation in the coming-of-age genre.

Richard Mercado, the artist behind the viral webcomic Uy Si Crush (and also a YS contributor), was well aware of this gap. Inspired by his own experience growing up, and with the help of independent publisher Silaw Publishing, he wrote and illustrated Nang Ma-In Love Ako Sa Isang Sakristan— and yes, the story is just as intriguing as the title.

 

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We talked to Richard about his motivations for publishing the comic book, how he came up with the idea for it, and what to expect in the weeks to come.

 

Young STAR: How did you come up with the idea for ‘Nang Ma-In Love Ako Sa Isang Sakristan‘?

Richard Mercado: I wanted to create a story specifically for the LGBT community, something that’s always lacking in the Philippine media. The story is about two boys, Francis and Didoy who discover they have feelings for one another, but the two get caught by Francis’ mom and Father Tony, the priest who is also Francis’ guardian. Francis and Didoy then immediately escape and that’s where the story begins. It’s both an adventure and a story of self-discovery between the two characters.

 

Can you tell us more about the characters of Francis and Didoy?

Richard: Francis is the son of the school principal and is the typical subdivision englishero rich kid. His mom upholds tight conservative values and through the story, he worries on how his mom will take his sexuality. Didoy on the other hand, is a sakristan and lives with Father Tony, and the two have a father-son relationship which is now tested with the revelation that Didoy is gay.

You’re known for the Uy si Crush web comic/ zine. Was the process of making this comic any different, given that it’ll be published as an actual comic  book?

Richard: Nang Ma-In Love Ako Sa Isang Sakristan is actually just one story split into five chapters which will be released both digitally (on Facebook) as well as physically. The first four chapters are available online with Chapter 5 to be released on the second/third week of February.

With this comic, everything was planned from beginning to end as one whole story (unlike Uy Si Crush which is an ongoing webcomic). I made the comic in a way that it’s definitely best enjoyed when you read it as a whole when you get a physical copy of it. I had a lot of fun working on this because, thanks to Silaw Publishing, I had the entire freedom to do what I want with how the story will go.

What do you want readers to take away after reading ‘Nang Ma-In Love’?

Richard: I spent a lot of time in adolescence being completely repressed with the idea of acceptance, especially since I grew up in a conservative Catholic family, to the point that I never wanted to admit that I was gay, moreso admit to liking someone of the same sex. With this comic, I want the people who read it, especially those who are in the closet or have a hard time accepting who they are (because of what society demands them what they are not) to feel “Ah — someone out there understands what I’m going through — I’m not alone”.

 

I saw on Twitter that you’ve been sharing fan art of the comic from some of your artist friends. Can we expect bonus content from the book?

Richard: Yes, definitely! I’m happy to announce that there are freebies, especially if you pre-order the comic. Just message the page fb.me/nmilasis so you can pre-order a copy of the comic which is P300 exclusive of shipping fees. The comic will also be available at these comic conventions: Komiket (Feb. 16 to 17 at Elements Centris, G.C.), Summer Komikon (April 13 at Bayanihan Center, Pasig) and Asiapop Comicon (Aug. 2 to 4 at the SMX Convention Center).

What’s next for you after this?

Richard: There are plans with Silaw Publishing to get Uy Si Crush published soon as an entire compilation so stay tuned for that. Currently writing another comic that’s focused on mental health/anxiety which I am planning to release in 2020.

 

Follow Richard on Twitter and get updates/pre-order Nang Ma-In Love Ako Sa Isang Sakristan through its Facebook page.

Tags:
#art #books #comics #gender #profile

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