03 Jul Beware Manix Abrera’s ‘Terror Prof’
Everyone school has one—the notorious “Terror Prof”—but leave it to “Kikomachine Komix” creator Manix Abrera to create the most distinctive, iconic one yet. She not only looks the part but she not only places her students in impossible classroom recitations, mercilessly plays around with their grades and may even be communing with the supernatural to further torture her students in Abrera’s daily “Kikomachine” strip in the Inquirer, where the character began in cameos.“Around 2009 na yung true character niya, as in yung terror mode na talaga,” Abrera says. Believe it or not, she is based on a real person! “Based siya–pati itsura niya–sa isang nakakatakot na teacher namin noong grade school! Tapos noong college, marami rin akong naging prof na terror, pero not as scary as yung teacher namin noong grade school.”
“Kikomachine” is a strip known for the fact that none of the characters have names save one —until recently, only the violent Bertong Badtrip was officially named. Well now, the Terror Prof has been offically name as well, and like Berto, the Terror Prof is getting her own spinoff collection, self-published by Abrera, 260 pages of Manix madness fingertips. Along the way, you not only see the evolution of the character but even the evolution of how Abrera draws her until she becomes the Terror Prof we love to fear (and read) today.
What makes Terror Prof different? “She goes the extra mile talaga to make creative ways para mangbagsak, And minsan may hiwaga siya, minsan may transcendental/philosophical chenes pa na ginagawa para mangbagsak,” he explains. Minsan din bata pa siya–bagong graduate–minsan naman ancient na siya. So unknown, even to me, ang tunay na age niya.”
Most of the time, readers will have experienced Terror Prof in the classroom when they are asked to accomplish something basically impossible. Where did he get that? “Sa kakabasa ko po ng science-fiction books! Naa-apply ko yung mga paradox, weirdness, and ibang mind-boggling ideas kay Terror Prof para makapangbagsak siya. Marami rin akong nakukuhang ideas galing sa mga malalapit sa akin na mga prof. Yung loved one ko po–naks–ay prof, haha! Yung nanay ko rin, at kapatid ay mga prof. Ine-exaggerate ko ang ilang stories na nakukwento nila tungkol sa mga classes nila. ‘What would the Terror Prof do?’ ang naiisip ko kaagad kapag nagkukwento sila.”
Then, we move from the classroom to the experiences of the neophyte bald teacher, the fresh grad that the Terror Prof has taken under wing and reveals all her secrets on basically had to screw with the students’ grades. “May prof kasi kami noong college na feeling talaga namin ay super imbento lang sa pagbibigay ng grades! Kasi tipong ang tataas mo sa exams tapos passing grade lang ang final grade mo, ganun! Tapos yung mga bagsak-bagsak and laging absent, biglang ang taas ng grade! Kaasar,” he says. “Kaya naisip ko ganun si Terror Prof. Minsan pinapa-grade niya lang ang exams sa pamangkin niyang 5 years old.”
At one point, the Terror Prof appears to be communing with supernatural forces as a means to her ends. Is it real? Or are readers just hallucinating? “Pwedeng real, pero pwedeng hallucination nga rin ng students! Hindi ko rin sure! Pag ginagawa ko na kasi ang strips, nagkakaroon siya ng sariling buhay!” Abrera warns he’s not done with Terror Prof’s tricks yet: “Lagi talagang may twist!”
After “Bertong Badtrip,” why did Abrera choose Terror Prof to be the next character to have her own collection? “Kasi napansin ko po na isa siyang character na marami ang nakakaranas, and patuloy din siyang nage-evolve pa! Lalo po sa ‘Terror Prof book 2’--labalabas sa near future haha–makikita ang mga ibang levels pa ng kaweirduhan niya. Like nasa super future na tapos nagta-travel na sila ng students niya to different planets, kung saan makikita pa nila sila Adam and Eve; etc.”
And, ultimately, the Terror Prof is a universal concept, Abrera explains: “Sa palagay ko po dahil halos lahat talaga tayo ay may naranasang Terror Prof sa buhay.”
“The Terror Prof” is available on the Kikomachine Komix shop on Shopee.