A real Filipino hero in the Marvel Universe is possible
Marvel’s man in Asia C.B. Cebulski says, ‘It’s just a matter of finding the right one, and the right people to do it’
Ruel de Vera, May 13, 2016
“The Marvel Universe is the universe outside your window,” the Marvel exec adds. “We want young kids in Manila to be able to look outside their window and see a Filipino hero who is not just stereotypical. So that there are local creators who really feel these heroes were created by someone like them, who understands their culture so their backgrounds feel authentic and their powers are based on Filipino history or mythology. And that the hero is in Manila but can have adventures with Spider-Man or the Avengers or the Fantastic Four, bringing that level of authenticity to the Marvel universe.”
Additionally, that hero’s backstory needs to be a Marvel story. “It’s not just taking a piece of history or mythology. It’s taking the idea and giving it a Marvel origin. Every Marvel hero has a unique origin usually based on tragedy. They’re flawed. That’s why people can relate to them, to the human side behind the mask. We have to make it more Marvel, so that the Filipino Peter Parker or Bruce Banner is someone who’s also believable, has a background in the culture and has problems with their family, like all the other Marvel heroes.”
Cebulski says the Philippines would be perfect for this. “Marvel has such a long history with the Philippines, going back to the 1970s—beginning with Alcala, Steve Gan, Rudy Nebres—and those artists now, with Leinil Yu and Carlo Pagulayan. The Philippines is the perfect place for passion and growth with Marvel.”
Cebulski adds that the Philippines is not only an English-speaking country that got into comics early, that the Filipino creators passed down their knowledge to the next generation.
“There’s a feeling of mentorship in the Philippines that I don’t see in other places,” he points out, adding that there is “an enormous amount of Filipino talent working with Marvel” including Yu, Pagulayan, Gerry Alanguilan and Stephen Segovia.
He also praises “Trese” creator Budjette Tan: “He does a great job of doing his own books and his own comics that really embrace the Filipino storytelling side of things, but also sharing the passion for the Marvel brand because that’s the basis of superhero storytelling.”