Friday, January 29, 2016

Looking forward to the Future Quest comic

Am happy for the announcement that DC is reviving some of these cartoon classics in comic book form. Of course, these Hanna-Barbera characters have previously been featured in comics. I have almost all Comico comics of Jonny Quest. And the Space Ghost special on Comico written by Mark Evanier and drawn wonderfully by Steve Rude -- that will be in my Top 20 favorite comics ever. I could lose the majority of my collection but that one I will keep forever.

Of the four Hanna-Barbera books announced by DC, it is only Future Quest that I will check out. 

The Herculoids were one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. Have been trying to find any DVDs of those old shows. Not sure how the comic will stand up but will sure give it a try.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Some interesting British comics you should read

Some interesting British comics you should read
by rick olivares

Whenever I go abroad, one of the shops I check out are the local comic book stores. I don’t go for American comics since they are readily available here in the Philippines. What I look at are the local publications. Thus far, I have comics from France, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Scotland, and England.

This second trip of mine to England, I went to four comic specialty shops — Gosh in London, Mega City in Camden, and Worlds Apart and Forbidden Planet in Liverpool.

Basically, in those countries where I picked up local comic books, I noted that there’s a dearth of superhero comics as they prefer adventure, real life, science fiction, history, or horror. In France, I asked a shop proprietor why European comics tends to shy away from the superhero milieu, he said that they do not do it as good as the Americas hence they concentrate on where they are good. 

Here are the three titles I picked up and should be of interest to Filipino comic enthusiasts.

The Pirates of Pangaea (David Fickling Books)
Written by Daniel Hartwell and drawn by Neill Cameron
I went to my favorite comic book shop in London, Gosh Comics (1 Berwick Street, Soho) and they had this massive sticker of The Pirates of Pangaea on the front glass window. Even as a grown adult, how can you can you not be drawn to a visual that has dinosaurs and pirates? I picked up the trade paperback that collects the first four story arcs that first appeared in The Phoenix Weekly Story Comic, an anthology of different titles by different creators.

The Pirates of Pangaea tells the story and adventures of Sophie Delacourt who has been sent to the neewly discovered island of Pangaea to live with an uncle. The island, however, is teeming with pirates at war with Her Majesty’s Army for control of the island. It seems that people have learned to co-habit or even control the dinosaurs up to a certain degree. Sophie is kidnapped by the ruthless Captain Brookes but she escapes with the most unlikely of allies to complete her journey.

With the return of Jurassic Park to filmdom and the success of The Pirates of the Caribbean films, stretch your imagination further in this most unlikely mash up of genres. It’s no fluff piece as it is fraught with danger and death (and rightfully so when you have man-eating dinos and cutthroat pirates in every corner). Sophie is no Wendy Darling as she can fend for herself and you find yourself eager to follow her travails. 

The storytelling is taut and engaging. Hartwell introduces us to a Pangaea that we want to see more of and know about. We also meet a lot of characters aside from Delacourt such as the cabin boy Kelsey, pirates Ten Gun Jones and Captain Ford and the Tyrannosaurus Rex Sophie names, Cornflower! 

Cameron's art is expressive and a wonder. You have to love his facial expressions especially on Kelsey! Andseeing the massive wooden ships strapped to the backs of Sauropods… it’s majestic. The chemistry of the creative team is evident on every page that is pure wonder and joy.

Check this out if you know what’s good for you.

Vampire Free Style (Neptune Factory)
Written and drawn by Jenika Ioffreda
This is a spiritual cousin to the classic Goth comic, Gloomcookie. 

Vampire Free Style tells the story of Padroncino, a young warlock who has yet to fully master witchcraft. Padroncino, uses his powers to search for a lost love. in the midst of his quest, picks up a stray black cat that doesn’t seem to be what it is. At the same time, a vampire with no recollection of what he truly is also plagued by a gaping hole in his memory. All he knows that he is searching for his lost love for the past 300 years.

Ioffreda, an Italian who has made England her home, has crafted an interesting love story. The search of both Padroncino and Edward the vampire will remind you of John Cusack’s character of Jonathan in the film Serendipity except it is Goth-style.

The Great Salt Lake (Gosh Comics)
Written and drawn by Matt Taylor
The Great Salt Lake is about a lone survivor from a ship that is burned a sea. He finds himself on a lifeboat propelled only by his quest to be reunited with his lost love. Battling the elements, loneliness, starvation, and perhaps even dementia, will he ever find his way back?

Of the 112 panels that make up this 28-page comic, only two panels have words. It’s mostly a silent comic and one can understand because who does the man talk to when he is alone out at sea?

The Great Salt Lake is powerful and gives you pause to reflect. And Taylor’s art has you mesmerized with every panel. His style is Americana yet with a dynamic feel to it. He is also currently doing the fantasy/crime comic, Wolf with Ales Kot for Image Comics. 

In fact, I can say that if you enjoyed Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s excellent Daytripper, you’ll love The Great Salt Lake that is a story of desolation and loneliness. 


Other British comics we picked up and will soon feature:
Becoming Unbecoming by Una 
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

Monday, January 18, 2016

At Gosh Comics at Berwick Street in London

Gosh Comics is my favorite comic shop in England for the simple reason of its celebration of British and European comics. The store, with a cool address of #1 Berwick Street in Soho, has two floors. The first floor features all the works of British and European comic book creators. The second, at the basement features American comics books. They also have a nice back issue rack.

The shop proprietors are also really cool and friendly folks. Terrific ambiance. Plus, it is along Berwick Street with a few awesome record stores (Sister Ray and Reckless Records are the two shops left from the dozens that dotted the place during the 1980s and 1990s) and excellent eateries. The Breakfast Club, that always has a long line outside, is situated in the area (an adjoining street).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

At Mega City Comics in Camden

At Mega City Comics along Inverness Street in Camden.

This is what interests me -- their line of local English comics including their indie scene!

It's a nice store to visit. They've got loads of back issues of American comics as well. There's enough room to move about. The shop staff are cool dudes!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

At Worlds Apart in Liverpool

I can't believe that I didn't check out the comic book shops when I was here in Liverpool last October 2013! This time, I made sure I did. In fact, after I left my hotel, I went to Worlds Apart, one of three comic book shops in Liverpool. It's just a minute's walk from my hotel anyways!

When I went here at around 3:30pm, there was a steady stream of customers. Like everywhere else in the world, all the new stuff comes out on a Wednesday. Since today is Tuesday, it's a pretty good crowd that comes in.

Worlds Apart is spacious. There's enough room to walk around without bumping into other folks. The selection of American comic books is awesome including graphic novels. You'll see stock that isn't readily available in Manila. They've got a good selection of manga that rivals Kinokuniya's stock. The other merch stuff isn't so bad -- toys, shirts, posters, DVDs, mugs, and other comic book culture paraphernalia. 

Enjoyed going here. The staff's pretty friendly and they do like engaging you in conversation. Plus, it's got that homey vibe too!

I wanted to get the Star Wars Empire recruiting shirt but they didn't have anything left in my size (XL). Prices vary according to the shirt design.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Octo 1

Octo 1! That robotic character created by Little John in Voltes V. Got this nice figurine for my collection.

Short Tweet chat with The Sheriff of Babylon's Mitch Gerads

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Found my Marvel coffeetable book (by Les Daniels)

The two essential Marvel Comics tomes!

Check out the Star Trek 50th Anniversary stamps!

Check out the designs for the United States Postal Service Star Trek 50th Anniversary stamps!

Japan's 40th Comiket

Take a look at these two links regarding the 40th Comic Market/Comiket in Tokyo, Japan that drew hundreds of thousands of people from December 29-31, 2015. There's a time lapse of the people who lined up to enter Tokyo Big Sight and it's amazing.

Here's the link to Neatorama and the time lapse video and the photo report from Crunchyroll

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Nanjing: The Burning City hits with the force of a A-bomb

Nanjing: The Burning City hits with the force of a A-bomb
by rick olivares

“If Confucius decides to return from the dead and lead us out of here, I’ll be the first man to welcome him.”

It’s gallows humour from a dead man walking. That’s a quote from “the Captain,” one of the characters in Ethan Young’s powerful graphic novel “Nanjing: The Burning City" that gives life to the horrific events that followed the fall of Nanjing, the former Chinese Capital to the Imperial Japanese Army 78 years ago during the early days of World War II. 

That’s how bleak it was in Nanjing (spelled “Nanking” at that time). Following the city’s fall to the IJA, for at least six weeks, the victorious army proceeded to commit atrocities so horrific, so barbaric that even today, it resonates among Asian countries that felt the wrath of “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" doctrine that was espoused by Tokyo.

In fact, last New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2015, a Korean woman angrily confronted her country's Foreign Minister, Lim Sung-Nam, in front of the media, following reports that Japan offered a new apology for pressing Koreans (and many other women of Asian ethnicity) into roles of “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers during WWII and the sum of $8.3 million in exchange for the country not pressing any future claims on the issue. Media bureau CNN and the United Nations also released statements on the same day that not only must accords be speedily reached but the victims who come from China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, new Guinea, Hong Kong, Macau, and Vietnam must be given more.

Following the Fall of Shanghai, the Japanese trained their eyes on Nanjing. The battle for the capital began on the first day of December and ended 13 days later after ferocious fighting between the two armies. Bloodied, tired, and angry, Japanese forces executed prisoners of war and civilians while looting the city. Anywhere from 30,000 people to over 350,000 Chinese lost their lives in the six weeks that followed the capture of the Chinese capital. 

In “Nanjing: The Burning City,” comic book creator Ethan Young recounts Asia’s own holocaust in a 224-page black and white graphic novel published by Dark Horse Comics. Told through the eyes of two fictitious Chinese soldiers struggling to get to safety, “Nanjing: The Burning City” is a moving war story. With every turn of the page, you could feel the sense of impending doom and abandoned hope. You feel the tears well up in your eyelids and dread what lies ahead with every turn of the page. That must how it must have been 78 years ago in Nanjing. No one knew what was going to happen next with every minute.

In Young’s tale, two soldiers, one who simply goes by his rank of “Captain” and a grunt named “Lu,” attempt to get to the safety zone established by John Rabe, the real life German national who is credited with saving hundreds of thousands of Chinese lives from the wrath of the Japanese invaders. Along the way, they stumble along a dying city and streets lined with corpses. Eventually, they come across some Japanese soldiers who murder a mother and her child and some who just finished raping some women.

The story hits home yet Young, who is Chinese-American, remains objective with his storytelling and imbues both sides of combatants with some sense of honor. That is in the Captain and Lu as well as “the Colonel,” a Japanese officer who frowns and disapproves of the invading army’s behaviour. Both parties try to hold on to their dignity but being men of war, have no choice but to follow orders and do horrific things of their own.

A lot of credit has to be lauded Young’s way as he doesn’t fall into the easy trap of depicting unnecessary gore and violence or even in denigrating all the Japanese soldiers. Aside from the Colonel, there is a Japanese soldier named Yoshi who also looks upon his fellow soldiers with disdain and openly tells them that they treat the local women like animals. 

In an interview with Young, the author said, "I practiced a lot of artistic restraint throughout the entire book, as well as throughout my career in general. I'm not a huge fan of gore. Occasionally I'll watch something gory and cringe a bit, but I don't indulge it. And personally, I believe our minds paint the worse pictures we can imagine anyway. That's why a lot of the violence in Nanjing is 'off-camera', so to speak." 

In some of the pictures that was released by the victorious Allied Forces following WWII, there were pictures of the decapitated heads of Chinese soldiers lined up against the wall, young naked children thrown into a common grave, and the corpses of sexually abused women littering the streets among many. In Young’s book, the atrocities are mentioned. Some panels show the carnage but not in gory detail. The horror is  reflected through the facial expressions of the two Chinese and Japanese soldiers. 

The Colonel and Yoshi somewhat represent General Iwane Matsui, the commander of Japan’s expeditionary forces in China. Matsui did what he could to prevent civilians and prisoners of war from his army’s atrocities but dissension from his officers didn’t help him at all. In the end, it wasn’t enough and Matsui was eventually executed by a war crimes tribunal after the war. 

Young explained his objective depiction of Nanjing’s main chracters, “It's very easy to be drawn into extreme nationalism when you read about an atrocity committed against your own people. But it's more important to stay as objective, especially when you have a responsibility as a storyteller. Although the Imperial Japanese Army played the largest role in the Nanjing Massacre, the Kuomintang (the Chinese Army) was corrupt and practically abandoned the city of any hope to be properly defended, which played right into Japan’s hands. So, I wanted our main characters to reflect the complicated origins of the conflict. The Captain and the Colonel are two sides to the same coin: pragmatic men of war who are morally ambiguous." 

It is already cliche-ish to utter American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman’s oft used quote that “war is hell.” And it’s true. In the end, everyone is a victim. Even the two Chinese soldiers who leave behind an elderly Nanjing citizen because the Captain felt he would be a detriment to their escape. 

As much as the Captain wants to defend his motherland, his goal changes to survival and that means getting to safety as quickly as possible. When he leaves behind an elderly Nanjing native, Lu is once more upset at him and quotes Confucius: “Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.”

Unfortunately, the barbarity of war leaves no one unscathed. Even the supposed good guys. 

On why he did this book, Young said, “As a Chinese-American, the Nanjing Massacre was always a very sensitive subject for me. I learned about the Second Sino-Japanese War from my parnets before I learned about Pearl Harbor in school. But ultimately, China’s involvement in World War II is largely relegated to footnotes when discussed in textbooks here in the United States. As a lifelong comic fan, I felt a cultural duty to eventually craft a story about the conflict."

Hopefully, the story and its lessons, aren’t lost and are understood especially by this new generation that has shown an appalling lack of knowledge and understanding of history. 

Do yourself a favor and pick up Ethan Young graphic novel “Nanjing: The Burning City.” It’s just as powerful as any superhero book.


Additional reading: An interview with Nanjing: The Burning City creator Ethan Young

Nanjing the Burning City can be purchased at Fullybooked or ordered through your favorite comic book specialty shop.


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An interview with Nanjing: The Burning City creator Ethan Young

While writing my review for Nanjing: The Burning City (published by Dark Horse Comics), I conducted an interview with the graphic novel's creator, Ethan Young.

Here's the transcript of that interview:

Rick: Of WWII-era stories, there's hardly anything -- stories or film -- about the Sino-Japanese War, and Nanjing is a welcome and much needed addition to this part of history. What made you decide to create this story? Was it an easy thing to do? How much research and time did you put into this? Were you able to speak to knowledgeable folks about this?

Ethan: As a Chinese-American, the Nanjing Massacre was always a very sensitive subject for me. I learned about the Second Sino-Japanese War from my parents before I learned about Pearl Harbor in school. But ultimately, China’s involvement in World War II is largely relegated to footnotes when discussed in textbooks here in the United States. As a lifelong comic fan, I felt a 'cultural duty' to eventually craft a story about the conflict.

Creating this book took its emotional toll at times. I did research on and off for about 10 years, starting with Iris Chang’s Rape of Nanking and The Diaries of John RabeNanjing was going to be my first comic after dropping out of college in 2002. After a year of tinkering, I decided to put the project on hiatus because I wasn't mature enough (emotionally or intellectually) to tackle such a sensitive subject. I held onto all my notes and reference, though. I would periodically revisit the story just to remind myself to work on it someday. After I wrapped up my semi-autobiographical webcomic, Tails, I read Forgotten Ally by Rana Mitter and The Search for Modern Chinaby Jonathan Spence, both of which delved into China’s tumultuous formation into an eventual global power.

Unfortunately, outside of hearing a few second hand stories from family members, I didn't talk to any survivors or other historians, only lots of reading. I would've loved to visit Nanjing to do more in-depth research but my time and money was very limited (my wife became pregnant midway through creating the book). Also, I hate flying and avoid it all costs if I can. 

Rick: Through the Colonel, you try to somewhat temper the barbarity of the Japanese's atrocities. How did his character come about? I love how you try to imbue some of Idris Elba into his character. How big a fan are you of the actor? What is your fave Elba film?

Ethan: As I said before, creating this book took its emotional toll. And many times, it's very easy to be drawn into extreme nationalism when you read about an atrocity committed against your own people. But it's more important to stay as objective, especially when you have a responsibility as a storyteller. Although the Imperial Japanese Army played the largest role in the Nanjing Massacre, the Kuomintang was corrupt and practically abandoned the city of any hope to be properly defended, which played right into Japan’s hands. So, I wanted our main characters to reflect the complicated origins of the conflict. The Captain and the Colonel are two sides to the same coin: pragmatic men of war who are morally ambiguous. 

As for the Idris Elba influence, I was watching Luther and just marveled at his screen presence. I wanted the Colonel to simultaneously project both gravitas and danger. You want to believe what he says, but you don't know if you can. Elba was great in Pacific Rim, and of course everyone loves him in The Wire, but I love the grittiness of Luther. I love how his portrayal is always half-defeated, yet always resilient. I've heard nothing but good things about Beasts of No Nation, so I can't wait to watch that. And if he's the next Bond, count me in. 

Rick: There are a lot of gory and horrific pictures that came out of Nanjing. Did you change any of your art panels because they were too gory?

Ethan: No, I practiced a lot of artistic restraint throughout the entire book, as well as throughout my career in general. I'm not a huge fan of gore. Occasionally I'll watch something gory and cringe a bit, but I don't indulge it. And personally, I believe our minds paint the worse pictures we can imagine anyway. That's why a lot of the violence in Nanjing is 'off-camera', so to speak. 

Rick: Was this a conscious decision to render the book in black and white?

Ethan: Yes, definitely. I'm personally a huge fan of black and white comic art, even though I can do digital colors. Rule of thumb for comic art: if it doesn't look good in black and white, it won't look good, period. It also creates a more subdued tone for the book. It lends it a dramatic feel. 

Rick: What has been the response to the book? What are the memorable feedback (from readers and I am curious if any Japanese readers have responded) have you received?

Ethan: The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’ve even had a few readers of Asian descent personally thank me for making this book. A lot of libraries and teachers have also responded well, which is great, because I think this book can reach a lot of younger readers through visual storytelling. It's easier to learn, and easier to encourage learning, when you make it more accessible, and graphic novels have the ability to do that. As for a negative response, the book's editor and Dark Horse Comics, my publisher, received angry tweets from a Nanjing-denier a couple of months back. We're actually surprised it didn't happen sooner during the promotion of the book, but it wasn't entirely unexpected. If I was a younger man, I would've been a lot more upset and vindictive, but I'm older and a father now, so I don't have time to bicker with folks over the internet, which is a pointless endeavor.

Rick: Who are your influences in writing and illustration? What comics did you read growing up and today?

Ethan: I grew up reading a lot of typical American comics, such as Batman, Spiderman, and X-Men. I became influenced by the major artists who were popular around the late 80s, early 90s, mainly Art Adams and Jim Lee. As I grew into young adulthood, I discovered more mature content, such as the work of the Hernandez Brothers and Dan Clowes. Over the years, I've gravitated more towards Asian-American voices in comics, such as Derek Kirk Kim, Gene Yang, Jillian Tamaki, and Adrian Tomine. Even if they aren't specifically writing about the Asian-American experience in every single story, there's a certain nuance that an Asian-American has in their approach: the way they craft a character's demeanor, their relationship to the outside world, their sense of cultural and physical alienation. 

As for writing, I've never been a huge reader. I occasionally read non-fiction books, but I have to be in the right mood for the subject. I enjoy memoirs and essays, literature that uses a first-person narrative. An omniscient narrative bothers the hell out of me, because I keep imagining how I would display the actions visually, stripped of superfluous prose. I just get frustrated because I want words to be as economical as visuals, but that's my personal taste.

These days, I'm reading comics from Brian K. Vaughn, Kate Beaton, the artists I mentioned before, and a few superhero comics here and there. I started Amy Poehler's Yes, Please on a flight but haven't been able to revisit it since, due to work and fatherhood. Other than that, basketball articles and movie reviews. 

Check out Path of the Raging Fist & Crunch Time Komiks!

Local “Fighting” komiks are go!
by rick olivares

Street Fighter Unlimited #1 was published by Udon a few weeks ago and the new story delves into Ryu’s quest to prevent from succumbing to Satsui No Hado, or the Dark Hado, that Akuma has mastered.

The comic, a spin-off from the popular and best-selling video game of the same name, has since 2003, seen 57 standard issues, three graphic novels, and two short stories published.  

Even in the local comics industry, one can see the extent of its influence in a pair of recently published independents — Path of the Raging Fist #1 and Crunch Time Komiks Volume 1. 

Path of the Raging Fist is written and drawn by Ron Hubbard tells the story of Zion Adlas who goes on a quest to discover his mysterious past while learning to control his rage while Crunch Time Komiks Volume 1 is an anthology of stories that features Samuel Donato’s Atlas Division that has Street Fighter overtones. 

Hubbard makes no bones about Street Fighter’s influence, "In some way, yes. I'd say it's the style and the general feel of the fighting genre. I am also hoping that maybe someday, a fighting game would come out of it.”

"I played 'Street Fighter 2' when I was kid even the latest versions. I am most interested in Ryu's lore and his fighting style. I also think that it is one of the major influences in my work. I also took inspiration from everything that made my childhood awesome. You can find some Ghost Fighter, DBZ, HunterXHunter, Naruto, and One Piece vibes to it. I also played a lot outside after the cartoons for the day was over and talked how awesome the episode was with my childhood friends (we are still close friends to this day but with dad bods hehe). It's basically a Chop Suey of my childhood.”

In Donato’s 15-page Atlas Division chapter of Crunch Time Komiks, it’s a teaser of sorts as an amnesiac boy is nearly run over, a man is suddenly imbued with super strength, a sinkhole appears, and a missing friend seems to be wholly different. Donato’s art will not look out of place in Street Fighter publisher Udon’s art style. It’s dynamic and packs a punch.

During an interview with Filipino comics great Whilce Portacio during AsiaPop Comicon, the super star artist noted that local artists have come to international recognition for their take on foreign art styles including manga and anime. “People say that it’s a foreign influence but what is wrong with that? If it gets you noticed why not? And we can also turn it into our own?” Portacio gained recognition for his early work on Marvel Comics’ “The Punisher” and “X-Factor” with his heavy manga influence. 

Summed up Hubbard, “If you’re into the action and adventure genre, I think you’ll like it (referring to his comics). I’m trying to make it as fun as possible because that’s what I felt when I watched those series from my youthful days."

For more details on “Path of the Raging Fist” and “Crunch Time Komiks” check out Cosmic Cube Comics and The Yellow Couch respectively on Facebook.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Got me a Deadpool Chimichanga Truck Pop!

This has got to be one of the coolest Funko Pops ever! Deadpool's Chimichanga Truck! Amazing details and the menu entries as simply hilarious! Want a bonus? The Deadpool Pop is holding a... chimichanga! Hilarious!

Suddenly, in the last month, I've started my Pop collection. I know... that's a danger signal. I've already got too much on my plate as it is. I can't help it! These buggers look cool!

"Datu" Batman coming to your shelves soon

“Datu Batman” coming to your shelves soon
by rick olivares

On the eve of the screening of the highly-anticipated Batman/Superman: Dawn of Justice film in the first few months of 2016, a unique “Datu Batman" bobblehead will be released to celebrate that occasion. 

The POP figure is designed by Filipino artist Heubert Khan Michael who has drawn Vampirella and the Owl for Dynamite and Cyberforce for Top Cow in collaboration with Pop! Pinas and Studio Genesis. 

"I was approached by fellow toy collector and custom Pop aficionado Jun Go, who was planning on making a custom Pop Batman with StudioGenesis,” related Michael. "Being a big Batman fan, I excitedly said yes. My first two designs were rather generic, and it was only after our first meeting was I able to realize that Jun and the rest of the group was looking for something unique; something that would stand out in even the most crowded Pop shelf. Jun sent me a picture of a Samurai Batman custom that Funko even featured on their various social media networks, and in an instant I thought about making a Batman clothed like that of a Filipino warrior from Mactan, during the time of Lapu-Lapu."

"I have designed toys before, but not for a smaller group that makes it more special -- exclusive. That makes the project close to personal, and I think I make the coolest designs when working for myself. While designing the figure I had my copy of (National Artist for Visual Arts) Francisco V. Coching's masterpiece, Lapu-Lapu, and studied his designs for the Datu's warriors. I was so carried away by this project, I even came up with a write-up, like a fan-fiction, involving Datu Batman.”

Pop vinyl figures have become popular and highly collectible in recent years owing to Washington, D.C.-based company Funko that began creating bobbeheads of pop culture icons such from comic books to animated films and eventually, mainstream film. The creation of the “Game of Thrones” figures of the massively popular television series blew the industry wide-open opening it to a larger audience. 

Fans collect these Pop figures for their use of popular characters, cute factor and style, and most of all, affordability.

Most recently, Filipino sports icon Manny Pacquiao was accorded the POP treatment when a pair of boble heads — one a boxer and the other as a basketball player — were released ahead of his match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Bobbleheads of mythical creatures such as  the “Aswang” and the “White Lady” have also found their ways to the shelves.

“This is a cool project for me as an artist and as a fan,” summed up Michael. "Making it to the mainstream comics in the US was a dream that I never thought would come true. It's so cool and awesome and surreal and humbling all at once, my only wish is to be able to stay i the industry for as long as I could.”

The “Datu Batman” is being sculpted in Hong Kong and will be soon available at Filbar’s comic book specialty store. Stayed tuned for more details. 


When I think of bobbleheads, I think of Bobblehead Night at Yankee Stadium. They give away bobbleheads of baseball players at the Stadium. I also thought of that scene in the film, The Fan (Wesley Snipes, Robert De Niro), where there these bobbleheads on the dashboard. So I thought it was chilling. Despite the popularity of the Pop Vinyls from Funko, I never really got into them.... until a few weeks ago. I was given one of Michonne as a gift about two years ago and I still have that. But I got my first one -- it was Captain America right before Christmas. And that led to Agent Carter and then Manny Pacquiao. Now waiting for my Daredevil (Masked Vigilante) and Ant-Man and Ant-Thony. Damn! I got into it.