Comic book enthusiasts in the Philippines would know full well that many veterans of the local industry from decades past have found their way overseas to work on major publishers of superhero comics. This migration of talent actually contributed to the decline of the Pinoy Comic Book scene towards the turn of the millennium. But the artists who have since established themselves in Marvel Comics and other labels have become famous worldwide, and even leveraged this to create Filipino comic-book characters when they could. Last month, Marvel announced that a Filipina superhero will soon debut in one of their comic storylines. That character is finally revealed by her creative team.
Cosmopolitan.ph reports that Greg Pak, film director and also writer for Marvel Comics, has released the first teaser image of Wave, a Filipina superhero in the mainline Marvel Comics Universe (codenamed Earth-616 or Prime). The image of Wave, a black-haired brown-skinned lady warrior with energy wings and a pair of glowing pre-colonial “kampilan” swords, is part of a cover image for “War of the Worlds: The New Agents of Atlas” issue 1, written by Pak. The Korean-American author elaborates that Wave was co-created and designed by Filipino artist Leinil Yu.
“”I’m thrilled to share the great @leinilyu’s stunning design of WAVE, Marvel’s new Filipino superhero!” announced Pak on one of his Twitter posts promoting the comic book and Wave. “Gorgeous colors by @sunnygho! She’ll appear for the first time in WAR OF THE REALMS: NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #1 in May, with art by Gang-Hyuk Lim.” According to the publicized plot blurb for the debut issue of that new ongoing title, Wave will be a new recruit to the Marvel international undercover team Agents of Atlas, hailing from the Philippines. As part of the regional recruitment drive, she will work with other Asian costumed crime-fighters like China’s Sword-Master and Aero.
The story of Filipino involvement in Marvel Comics, both as in-universe characters and as part of the creative process, is surprisingly long. In 1991 Filipino artist Whilce Portacio and writer John Byrne created the mutant antihero Bishop, who would become an integral part of the X-Men during that decade. In 2008 Marvel would create an all-Filipino superhero team serving as a supporting cast to Tony Stark/Iron Man: the Triumph Division seen in the “Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2” series, issue 2. There was however no Filipino involvement in their conception.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star