Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan

Summary from Goodreads:

Elmer is a window into a world where chickens have suddenly acquired the intelligence and consciousness of humans, where they can now consider themselves a race no different than browns, black, or whites. Recognizing themselves to be sentient, the inexplicably evolved chickens push to attain rights for themselves as the newest members of the human race.

Originally self-published by the author in the Philippines, this is the first US edition of the book and the first edition to be made available to the book and library trade.

I first heard about this particular comic book via Trisha's (Lesbians with Books) comments on one of my Filipino Friday meme posts. Incidentally when I visited NBS, this book was right on the table located on the store front. I thought I might as well. And I was definitely intrigued by the idea of Planet of the Apes, Chicken Version.

I considered the world presented by Planet of the Apes as plausible because for one apes closely resemble humans. But the chickens? Well...at first, I found the whole thing to be absurd. Chickens have feathers, wings, a beak. They cluck and have no hands. But despite that, I still got easily lost in the world created by Gerry Alanguilan. I found it quite interesting. The chicken characters were just made so much human in their ways and thinking that made me believe that this whole thing could be possible. They go to school and get jobs, talk as we do, roam the streets as we do. I thought yeah, this could work. Why not? Although, I had a momentary jolt back into reality by the idea of chickens being physically attracted to humans and even going on to marrying them. This was the thing which I couldn't quite wrap my head into. But apart from that, I thought it was a pretty gripping and believable story. Reinforced by the wonderful expressive and intense illustrations done by the author. The story tackles political and social issues, human rights and animal rights, and family and friendships, and growing up. It's one of those stories that suddenly makes you insightful and reflective no matter how impossible you think the whole story is. I think this is a brilliant graphic novel and it makes me proud that it is done by a Pinoy.   

Elmer is a recipient of Eisner Award Nominee for Best New Graphic Album (2011), Prix Asie De La Critique Wiiner for Best Asian Album (2011), Quai des bulles 2011 Grand Prix Ouest France (2011)

This is an entry (21st) for the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books.


  1. i don't think I've seen this book yet. Thanks for the review :)

    1. Hi Vera! I hope you'll get a chance to grab a copy. It's a different read, really out there. :)


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