Pugad Baboy means Pig's Nest :)
I really love these annuals from the Pugad Baboy series. As a kid all the American graphic novels and Japanese manga were always out of my price range. The annual Pugad Baboys were always affordable being around P150 - P300 each. It was one of the few local comics I actually followed back then. So when my lovely girlfriend gave me the 27th of the series for my birthday I was ecstatic.
(Not my actual comic book... was looking for the cover image in Google)
I think the main driving force for this series are the characters. Each of the characters are funny in their own way and somehow represent a certain demographic in my country, the Philippines. Mang Dagul is the average man who works hard for his family who has a passion for cooking food as well as eating it albeit his usage of less than desirable ingredients. Sgt. Tomas Sabaybunot represents the workers for the military as well as the stereotypical womanizer/ abused husband. Bob Lamoun is the town bum/hippie/druggie with a heart of gold. Utoy, Paltik and Joma are the children of the past and today. Polgas is the philospher and superhero. Patrolman Durugas and Senator Cabalfin are indictments to the corruption of the government and police force. Mao Tang is the ridiculous stereotype of the Chinese salesman. Pao Tang is the voice for the LGBT. Igno Ramos is a mirror to the struggles of an ex-convict and the joys of drinking alcohol. Ka Noli is a nod to the communist parties. Colleen is the recent addition to represent the Atheist community which I like often clashing with Father Marty the laid back priest of the church. And of course... Ambrosia, the skinny house help of the Sungcal family who always brings on the fat jokes, bald jokes, poor jokes, drunk jokes and other assorted jokes.
As for the 27th serial, I found it a bit odd since it's different from the previous books. I don't remember when it started but instead of the usual of having the chapters with strips revolving around a central topic it now features a single joke with multiple punchlines per chapter. I'm not a fan of that. It can be funny sure. But repeating a set up makes reading the repeated panels more of a chore than anything. The comedy of these books were always varied and awesome. They rarely talk down to the readers or dumb it down. So though I enjoy the jokes and punchlines the format is not very good for me. The revolving themes, the different set ups, the political satire, the tiring but truthful commentary on local culture Bring it back Medina - sensei.
The biggest thing I always look forward to in these books are the short spin-offs of the characters. I always thought these deserved their own graphic novels with my favorite ones being: Bardagul Kapote: Private Investigator, Babman : The Pork Knight, Benigno Ramos: Bodyguard for Hire, 2078, Obesa Vanedossa and Maidnappers. The one for the 27th left me with a huge "Meh." It's about Devlino, the main antagonist in the story: "Ang Hiwaga ng Duenas", seeking revenge on the Pugad Baboy crew for the downfall of his "invasion" with the "aswangs". I do love Devlino's character being a gay stereotype for the devil. I think he's one of the more mystical villains that universe. He's also a likable villain. However in this iteration he seems ineffective at best. He kept failing at his plan and multiple back up plans which makes it seem all the more rushed and incomplete. I also like that Colleen the atheist had a driving role since her disbelief of the devil makes her immune to his magic.
The art is always great. The black and white make it simple and easy to consume and the covers are always nice to look and laugh at. The poses and framing are quite dynamic for the action sequences but again all the repetition of frames make it more a chore to read it again and again.
All in all, it's not as good as the previous ones. PB5 still being my all time favorite because it had 2 features in 1 book. It's still a good read though short if you don't bother reading the same frames. The feature doesn't rock as much as the past ones either. But for what it's worth, I'm gonna give this book an: