Renowned Pinoy comic-book artists in Manila, as fans meet their real-life heroes

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2019 11:42 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2019 03:52 AM

With the popularity of Marvel and DC films, more and more Filipinos are buying comic books and related merchandise.

There is also increased interest in Filipino artists such as Leinil Yu and Whilce Portacio, who have done covers and artwork for popular comic book titles.

Yu, who has illustrated for Wolverine, X-Men, Fantastic Four, New Avengers, and Captain America, made headlines recently for designing Wave, a Cebuana Marvel superhero. Wave appeared in the “War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas” and had her first cover appearance in a variant cover of Aero #1.

Yu also started working with writer Jonathan Hickman for the new X-Men series.

Portacio, who did work for The Punisher and The Uncanny X-Men and who has helped other Filipino artists jumpstart their careers, also recently did a variant cover for Marvel featuring Filipino superheroes Wave, Sea Hunter and Red Feather. He also did a variant cover for the same X-Men series Yu is working on.

Other Filipino artists with comic book covers recently released are Miguel Mercado for The Amazing Spiderman and Elmer Damaso for Robotech Remix.

To recognize the continued success of Filipino artists, local comic book stores Filbar’s and Comic Odyssey organized the SuperManila Pop Culture Convention held at the Podium in Pasig City from Friday to Sunday this week.

“This is like a celebration of Pinoy-made art that are now known internationally,” said Filbar president Jacob Cabochan. 

Attendees can buy comic books, collectibles and other merchandise and meet Filipino comic book legends through signing events and discussion panels.


Harvey Tolibao, who has drawn for X-Men, Iron Man and Green Arrow, among others, said the event is a great opportunity for Filipino children who dream of becoming illustrators.

“They can see us draw (up close). They can learn. And they can ask us questions,” he told ABS-CBN News.

Tolibao said he is looking forward to the future when they can also hold workshops and live demos for aspiring artists.

Tolibao himself is excited to be around other artists, especially the likes of Portacio, Yu and Pol Medina of the popular Pugad Baboy series.

Medina said he is equally thrilled to see his contemporaries.

“Idol ko lahat yan kasi sila ang mga pinakamapusok na artist na Pilipino na hindi lang nakilala sa Pilipinas pati sa buong mundo,” he said.

(I’m also a fan because they’re trailblazing Filipino artists who are not not only known in the country but also the rest of the world.)

Medina said he is happy that there are now more events catering to comic book fans.

Portacio said the “mere existence” of Filipino artists “will prove to other aspiring Pinoys that the dream of becoming a world class artist is possible”

SuperManila will also serve as a reunion for Portacio’s group of artists he worked with in a studio he set up at 55 Balete Drive. The group, composed of Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Jay Anacleto, Roy Allan Martinez, Edgar Tadeo, Gilbert Monsanto, and Ryan Orosco, eventually worked for international comic titles.


The event’s organizers is also pushing for Wave’s own comic book series. 

Cabochan pointed out that Wave is only an “extra” or a minor character.

“Now we have a signature campaign. Since Wave is now very popular, perhaps it’s time that she has her own title series,” he said.

So far a thousand or so fans have signed the petition.

The Cebuana superhero has appeared in a number of Marvel books and has even been included in a Marvel video game.

Portacio told ABS-CBN News that the increasing number of Filipino superheroes under Marvel is “a testament to the Pinoy fanbase.”

Cabochan said comic book publishers now also recognize how big the Philippine market is.

At one point, Wave became viral after Filipino actress Angel Locsin, who has played the iconic Pinoy hero Darna, said she was “excited to learn more about this character.”

Yu replied by saying that he would love for the actress to play the character of Wave.

SuperManila at Podium will be open until Sunday. Schedule of panel discussions and the appearance of artists can be found on their Facebook Page.