When I was a young boy, comic books had a place in my bookshelf. I would not consider myself an avid collector, but I would say I dabbled in the worlds created by Marvel and DC. I guess I’ve come to love comic books because they are pure escapist fantasy. I live vicariously through their adventures in print and I am free from my mundane boring life.
Here in the Philippines, we have our own versions of popular super heroes. Captain Barbell is a Superman analogue. Darna is obviously a Pinay version of Wonder Woman. I have also taken to liking Kajo Baldisimo’s Trese series. However, I felt that there was a distinct lack of one specific niche in the comic book world – we do not have a superhero team (author’s note: well, there is the Pintados so I’ll take this opportunity to apologize to Vandolph and Anne Curtis for that gaffe).
So I decided to flex my creative muscles and I tried cooking up my own Filipino superhero team. This may seem like a childish exercise but hey, I’m bored out of my wits and there is nothing better to do, so why the heck not? Besides, I kinda want this to be a long term side project of mine (this won’t take over the Hugot side of this blog) and maybe, if some awesome illustrator (I can draw jack shit) would like team up maybe this could be something bigger. Or then again, maybe I’ll fall flat on my face and shelve this idea if it goes nowhere. We’ll see how this goes.
First off, I would start by doing some worldbuilding. My comic book world would be set in Manila and thereabouts or a reasonable fictional city with a clear Filipino flavor. This will not be a gleaming Metropolis but not as dark as Gotham, maybe something in the middle. I want some grit and a touch of realism in the environs, and it should evoke a feeling of danger.
Now here comes the hard part – my characters. Here are the basics: I’ll borrow certain archetypes from the comic book world and add a touch of Filipino flair. I also want deeply flawed characters. I want them to feel human. There’s a reason why Batman is more loved than Superman. It’s because Batman, a tortured soul with a darkness about him, is far more relatable than a overpowered, goody two-shoes in Superman. I am also eschewing costumes for my heroes. Instead of being symbolic heroes always seen in public, my heroes would lurk in the shadows, keeping the city safe at night.
In any case, here is a rough draft of who my superteam is going to be. I’ll add a short primer of who they are and build separate story arcs for each of them later on.
There is something fascinating about the balisong, the butterfly fan knife. So my first character would be an adept at using this weapon. I want the character to be a girl, because it’s a trifle unexpected to have a girl knife fighter.
Sabine is a 17 year old Assumptionista who comes from a rich family living in Forbes Park. She’s essentially a bored rich girl who is trying to subconsciously rebel against her always absent parents by engaging in dangerous activities. She trains under an Eskrima master and after learning the art of knife fighting, she prowls the night hunting criminals.
Mang Temy is a 49 year old security guard who is also a former member of an elite anti-terrorism unit in the Philippine Army. Unfortunately, he suffers from a form of post traumatic stress syndrome and he feels that he has to go out at night to root out evildoers.
Karla is a shy, soft spoken office worker. She also comes from a long line of mambabarang (witches) from Siquijor. Of course, being a witch would make her too powerful outright so I want her to have some form of social anxiety. She also needs time to prepare her hexes and curses and the results can range from trivial to devastating.
One of my favorite creatures in the Philippine mythos is the Tikbalang, a creature that is half-man, half-horse, except unlike centaurs, the top half is horse and the bottom half is human. Basically a human with the head of the horse.
Sibat is a Tikbalang with immense strength. He can only be seen when he wishes to be seen. However, Karla accidentally enthralls him and he has to grudgingly serve her. He also desperately wants to escape and schemes to get Karla to release him.
My final character is Pepe, a 9 year old boy who is more than meets the eye. He speaks Spanish and German fluently and has an uncanny knowledge of medicine and chemistry. He also has a habit of falling in love with girls twice his age and he woos them poems and letters. If you’ve read up on your Philippine history, he also just might be worshipped by a certain sect in the southern Tagalog area.
Anyway, that’s my rough draft for now. Feel free to comment or make suggestions.