This past Saturday, September 2, 2017, FilAm Creative (FAC) hosted its first panel at Long Beach Comic Con. With special guest panelists, Whilce Portacio (Creator of Bishop, Wetworks, Artist on X-Men, X-Factor), Leo Partible (animation and comic book writer) and Van Partible (creator of Johnny Bravo), the panel was titled Filipino Americans in Comics and Animation held at the Garage 202C inside the Long Beach Convention Center in Southern California.
“Super stoked that FilAm Creative is officially part of the Long Beach Comic Con! I’ve never been to a comic con before, but I’m glad my first one has a panel that celebrates and recognizes Filipino Americans in comics and animation! There’s already a line!!” says FilAm Creative President Meriden Villanueva.
The panelists discussed about the history of Filipinos in comics and animation, their own contributions to the arts, how they got their start, and much more. The event was produced and moderated by FAC member Rodney Cajudo.
In my February 25, 2016 one-on-one interview with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Executive Story Editor and Writer Ray Utarnachitt [link] as well as during the TV Writers Panel in December, 2016 where he was a special guest panelist [link], he mentioned that the new version of DC Comics’ Captain Steel has Filipino origins. And, at the footnote end of my interview with him [link], after doing a bit of research, I found that this Filipino Captain Steel exists in DC’s New 52 comic book canon in “Earth 2” Issue #13. The New 52 version of Captain Steel was created by writer James Robinson and illustrated by Yildiray Cinar. Robinson told the media he was including a Filipino superhero to add diversity to the book. Thus, “Earth 2” #13 had the World Army’s Commander Khan describing Captain Steel this way: “Although an American citizen, he’s native Filipino—born in the Philippines. His father—natural or adopted, we’re still unclear—wanted the best for his son.”
In the Marvel Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, a history is provided to explain Bishop’s origin created by Whilce Portacio. It writes:
“Lucas Bishop was born in the 21st Century A.D. of an alternate future timeline in which mutant-hunting robot Sentinels had taken control of North America….Bishop’s parents escaped to America shortly before the island nation of Australia was destroyed in a tactical nuclear strike. They were soon captured and interred in a mutant relocation camp in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, New York. There, Bishop and his sister Shard were born and, like other mutants, they were branded with ‘M’ tattoos over their right eyes for identification.” This sheds some light onto the possibility of Bishop and Shard being Aboriginal Australians, their great-grandfather being Gateway.
However, back in 1991 during the early international releases of X-Men, official trading cards from Marvel state that he is of American nationality but of Filipino ethnicity (the card says he was born in Tondo, an impoverished district of Manila, the Philippines’ capital city), which is not unlikely as Whilce Portacio, Bishop’s creator is himself half Filipino. Many fans do consider him to be African American as that was his intent ethnicity during his first appearances.“
“Honored to have met Whilce Portacio, been a fan of his work since Uncanny X-Men. Learned Bishop was originally conceived as Filipino American.” says FilAm Creative Vice President and Treasurer Walter Talens.
“Super honored to be a part of the FAC Team. Event Producer Rodney Cajudo put together this amazing Comic Book Writers and Animation Panel for Long Beach Comic Con. I learned so much from hearing Whilce Portacio, Leo Partible and Van Partible speak today.” says FilAm Creative Business Development Arlyn Dela Pena.
“Loved the panel discussion! Thanks Rodney Cajudo for putting this together!” says FAC member Cecillia Lim.
Villanueva adds, “Special shoutout to Rodney Cajudo for setting this awesome panel! And, thanks to our speakers Whilce Portacio, Van Partible and Leo Partible for being part of this!”
You can listen to the panel at The Stuff & Junk Show from WhoWhatWheresWhy site starting at 14:27: http://www.whowhatwhereswhy.com/stuffjunk/2017/9/3/lbcc2017
Compiled and written by
~ Edwin Santos
September 5, 2017
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