MANILA -- It is common today to find Filipino creators working on American comic books. But usually, they work on other people’s plots, scripts, and characters.
There have been Filipino-Americans such as While Portacio (Wetworks and Stone) and Jonathan and Joshua Luna (Ultra, Girls, and The Sword, and Alex + Ada) who have had their original works published abroad.
But an entire creative team of homegrown comic book creators getting published abroad is a rarity.
In February 2016, the San Antonio, Texas-based comic book publishing company Antarctic Press released Immortal Wings, a four-issue limited science-fiction fantasy series about a space bounty hunter hired by the Galactic Shogunate to eliminate a threat to their rule.
Written by Carlo San Juan and drawn by Eisner-nominated artist Rod Espinosa, Immortal Wings is a must-have for local fans.
Now, more than two years after the first series, a second one is being planned once more for international publication.
“There will be a sequel,” bared San Juan during the recent Indieket comics convention.
“I cannot fully divulge the plot or even how many issues will be produced. We’ve pitched it once more to Antarctic Press and we’re waiting for their thoughts about the proposal. And I hope that Rod will work on it again, but if his tight schedule doesn’t permit it, there is also a possibility that someone else will illustrate it.”
Espinosa isn’t the only one with a hectic schedule. San Juan is very busy himself as he is a practicing medical doctor. He is also responsible for the popular Callous comic strip that appears in the pages of a major newspaper.
Espinosa has written and illustrated many independent books in the American market, including The Courageous Princess and Neotopia for Antarctic Press.
Some of the more popular titles published by Antarctic Press include Hepcats, Ninja High School, Strangers in Paradise, and Warrior Nun Areala.
The publishing company was formed by Taiwanese-American creator Ben Dunn to put out books that featured manga-inspired artwork.
“Immortal Wings was conceived to be an ongoing series,” revealed San Juan. “But Antarctic was of the idea of putting it out as a limited series and taking it from there. There is an entire universe of characters for Immortal Wings, and for the sequel, I want to focus on a soldier from the Galactic Shogunate and how he deals with his place in the world after a particular battle he took part in. You can say that he is trying to find his significance in the universe.”
"Before I conceived of Immortal Wings, I wanted to read a story that had all the awesome stuff that I loved as a kid samurai films, spaghetti westerns, space operas, fantasy games, and cartoons all in one story. I didn’t find anything so I told myself, why don’t I create one myself? It was a challenge to write and I enjoyed putting it together.”
San Juan was introduced to Rod Espinosa during a comic book event.
“I saw all his large body of work and he is quite a storied artist. And he was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do,” related the writer on the fortuitous meeting with the artist that led to their eventual collaboration.
“Right now, the proposal is on the desk of the editors of Antarctic Press. Hopefully, it will get the green light soon so we can have it out by early next year; three years after the first series.”