What if chickens suddenly gained the ability to think and speak as well as humans?
What starts out as a funny gag quickly becomes a very sobering look at human and animal rights, and a metaphor for race relations. It also gives a pretty compelling argument to stop eating chickens, although I don’t know if that was the intent.
Published by SLG Publishing, Elmer tells the story of one bitter chicken’s discovery of his father’s past, which reveals the history of how the world responded to talking chickens. Elmer is beautifully illustrated by Gerry Alanguilan, who proves himself to be just as skilled a writer. Things might end a little too pat for some but considering the journey the book takes, I can excuse it. The characters deserve it.
Alanguilan is a Filipino comic book artist who has done a lot of inking work for big corporate superheroes, so it’s really a delight to see him tackle something like this. He also runs The Philippine Comics Art Museum, which helps reveal the rich comics history in the country. And he’s quite active on YouTube, where he posts videos of himself drawing, telling jokes, and doing random things to the camera. (This silly video from January 2009 where he gives “hey baby” looks to the camera has nearly 4 million views!) Here’s a video montage of some of his artwork: