Dammit. Star Mandarin will disappear from Destiny on July 15. Fuck fuck fuck. That's probably the one channel I watch more than anything else when I actually find myself in front of the TV. Honestly, I seem to not have the patience for TV anymore. I used to be a TV addict; followed several shows religiously. Thought I wouldn't be able to live without it. Somewhere around college, though, I found that I wasn't watching any shows anymore. Felicity was in eternal reruns by then. The only thing I seemed to watch with any regularity was Conan, but that went too. Nowadays, when I actually find myself turning on the TV, and not to watch a DVD, I just browse through the music video channels, FTV, and Star Mandarin. It'll be a great loss for me: I discovered a lot of fun films through that channel. Some cool directors, a few great ones. What I love most is that it's fairly up-to-date. Some of the films on the channel were in Hong Kong theaters just a few months prior. And they also played Japanese movies (though dubbed in Mandarin; since I was reading subtitles anyway it didn't matter). Hell, I'll even miss the commercials terribly. Most of them are insane and funny, and, if you'll notice, Pinoy commercials have been aping them more and more recently. Woe! Woe is me!
I know I'm going to go through withdrawal. It's going to be difficult when a channel that keeps you up-to-date on the Hong Kong film landscape is suddenly taken away from you. It's like the world wants me to buy pirated DVDs.
So, then: John Pham.
John Pham is a very impressive writer-artist. He puts out an independent comic book called Epoxy. Which is not, in itself, particularly unique (putting out an indie book, not Epoxy; Epoxy's pretty unique as I'll explain below), but why I chose to write about John Pham is: he knows how to deliver a package. I'd first read about Pham in an article at Popimage. It proved interesting, but I didn't exactly have a burning desire to go out immediately and get the book. However, it was at CCHQ the next time I was there, so I got it. The first issue was US$4 for 64 pages. Most comics these days are US$3 for 22 pages. Unfortunately I got busy and forgot I had the issue; it was in its plastic for about a month or two before I unearthed it beneath all the crap it got buried under. So I finally got to open it up, and lo and behold: beyond the attractive price/page ratio, the cover was a gatefold, it came with a free, cute bookmark, AND was signed and numbered by Pham! Now that's how you make a customer feel good. It helped immensely that the issue was kick-ass, too. It's got 3 stories that will run together for the rest of the series: one's a manga hybrid about a dragon chasing an android through future Tokyo about a debt, one's a girl's coming-of-age story, and the last's about a one-armed boxer. The range of stories within the issue itself is impressive, but Pham goes even further: he slightly alters his art style to fit each narrative. Sadly the next two issues weren't at CCHQ anymore. I went to his website and there are details there: the second issue is slightly shorter, but the 3rd is a HUGE issue, and goes for US$15 because of its size (not page count, it's literally around the size of a newspaper). He also has other products on his website: some zines, a handmade sketchbook or two. Check it out.
If you're thinking of changing your wallpaper anytime soon, consider this.