Sunday, November 28, 2010

BIOTROG


Capitalizing on the popularity of arcade fighting games, Infinty Publishing Inc. came out with Kick Fighter Komiks, which had quite a successful run during the mid-1990's. Launched on February 8, 1993, the weekly magazine played host to a number of video game-inspired heroes. The most popular and enduring of them all was Biotrog, created by writer Jojo Ende Jr. and artist Gilbert Monsanto.


ORIGIN

Roger was the son of Remy Summers, a dedicated cop who ran afoul of a powerful criminal syndicate. As a young boy, Roger and his parents were on vacation when they were ambushed by the syndicate's assassins. The Summers' car was set ablaze and the family was left for dead. However, young Roger just barely survived, though the ordeal had left him severely injured, badly disfigured, and suffering from memory loss.


The ambush was witnessed by a Chinese scientist named Dr. Wang, who takes the mortally-wounded Roger to his laboratory for treatment. To save Roger's life, Dr. Wang had to amputate one of the boy's arms (always written to be his right, though drawn in the early stories as his left) and both his legs, replacing them with artificial cybernetic limbs. Unfortunately, the doctor could do nothing for Roger's heavily deformed face ("Dammit, man, I'm a scientist, not a plastic surgeon!")


Dr. Wang takes in the amnesiac Roger as his adopted son. The only clue to the boy's identity was a postcard that bore his name. He is given the nickname Biotrog, which variously means Bio-Electronic Roger or Bio-Technological Roger (this is what you get when nerds name their kids). Trained in the martial arts by Dr. Wang, Biotrog grows up to use his fighting skills and bionic abilities as a masked vigilante, battling crime in the streets of Manhattan.

Apparently, they spoke a lot of Tagalog in New York.

Read a more detailed account of Biotrog's history in his Wikipedia page.


POWERS AND ABILITIES

As mentioned, Biotrog is a highly-skilled martial artist, having been trained by Dr. Wang since he was a boy. His cybernetic body parts give him the strength of six men. Initially, he only had one bionic arm, but he later had his other arm replaced after losing it in a struggle with his arch foe Biolante. Both of his cybernetic arms come equipped with retractable razor-sharp claws, while his cybernetic legs enable him to run faster than the average human.

A couple of early stories had also shown Biotrog to be capable of telekinesis and telepathy, but he has rarely ever used these abilities since then.



Yukk ain't got nothing on him.

Biotrog was later given retractable cybernetic wings that enabled him to fly, but like his telekinetic powers, he very rarely used this ability as well.



FACES AND PHASES

Biotrog's disfigured features would eventually be repaired, thanks to the efforts of his scientist girlfriend/crimefighting partner Dianne "Angel" Mendoza.


Although Biotrog and his fellow Kick Fighter mainstays were inspired by popular video game characters, it is to their creators' credit that they moved beyond being mere knock-offs. Rather than simply ripping-off from those that influenced them, they were given completely new backstories, and their look would gradually be modified (as is the case with Biotrog's later costume below) to make them original characters in their own right.



ALLIES

DR. WANG

Biotrog's mentor and adopted father, a former Chinese monk turned scientist. A master of both science and the martial arts, this mysterious genius is also hinted to be over 100 years old!









Looking good for an old geezer.


ANGEL

The daughter of a murdered scientist, Dianne Mendoza became the female vigilante Angel to avenge her parents' deaths and recover her father's stolen formula from the terrorist organization known as the War Claws. She crosses paths with the silver-masked hero Biotrog, and the two crimefighters would eventually fall in love.

Angel is an expert martial artist and swordswoman, as well as a brilliant scientist. She was also responsible for fixing Biotrog's deformed face.

--and busting this woman's.

RED NINJA

The original Red Ninja was an android created by Dr. Wang to test Biotrog and, later, to assist him in his missions.

On one occasion, Dr. Wang disguised himself as the Red Ninja to defeat the ninja terrorist Mr. Grey. Ironically, the Red Ninja identity would eventually be taken over by Grey's own brother.


RED NINJA (BERNARD GREY)

The twin brother of Biotrog's former enemy Mr. Grey, Bernard Grey became the hero's ally, later assuming the mantle of the Red Ninja.

Trained in the art of Ninjitsu, the cunning Bernard is a master of trickery. He also posed as Biotrog for a time while Roger was recuperating from his facial surgery.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Secrets of SHAIANA

I was at Komikon 2010 last week, and as I was looking through the 20 peso bargain bins, I came across something that piqued my interest...


Shaiana first appeared in 1995 as a supporting character in Entity Comics' 4-part cosmic epic Aster. Originally slated to be killed off, the heroine proved popular enough that she was given a stay of execution and eventually spun-off into her own 4-issue mini-series that same year.



Art by-- I'll tell you later.

But wait, wasn't Entity Comics an American publisher? Why is this being covered here? That's because the comics themselves were created right here in the Philippines. Both Aster and Shaiana were produced by the Philippine-based C.A.T.S. Studios.


Shaiana was co-written by Eric Duen with C.A.T.S. publisher and comic store proprietor Billy Lim-It. The first issue was illustrated by 2 artists, including Efren "Jay" Anacleto, who inked the book and pencilled 6 pages.

Art by Jay Anacleto

But most of issue no.1 was drawn by an artist who is actually very famous in the Philippines, albeit in another field of entertainment outside of comics.


Shaiana #1 was this artist's only professional comic book work, although he did recently contribute a piece to the Typhoon Ondoy benefit book Renaissance: Ang Muling Pagsilang, which was covered here a couple of months ago.


So just who is this mystery artist? Well, he's a man of many names as he is of many talents. His real name is Beethoven Bunagan. The comic credits him as Toybits. But he is best known to many Filipinos as Bitoy...


Yes! It's singer/actor-comedian
YARI KA!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

BATCH 72 - Deadline Blues


From Polgas: Ang Asong Hindi/Tales from Indigo Valley #2 (July 1997), published by Powerhaus Unlimited, Inc. for Alamat Comics, here's a short tale featuring Budjette Tan and Arnold Arre's super-powered rock group Batch 72.

____________________________________________________(Printing error?)
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This post is once again dedicated to the memory of...

1987-2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

ALYAS ASWANG


Mike Relon Makiling is perhaps best remembered today as a screenwriter/film director. His works include the screenplay for Celso Ad. Castillo's classic 1974 horror film Patayin Mo sa Sindak si Barbara and helming a string of 1980's comedies starring Tito, Vic and Joey. Prior to these, however, he had already been an accomplished komiks writer. He made a return to the komiks field in 1993 with Alyas Aswang, which was illustrated by Alejandro C. Sanchez and first appeared in Shake, Rattle & More Komiks #19 (June 28, 1993), published by Sonic Triangle Publishing, Inc.


Alyas Aswang was, obviously, a superhero who just happened to be an aswang. Like that creature of Philippine folklore, he could change his form to that of any fierce animal. In addition, he could also fly and split his body at the waist like a manananggal.


He also possesed super-sharp senses of smell and hearing, and his body was so slippery that bullets and other types of ammunition would only bounce off him.


One unique power he had was bilocation, or the ability to appear in two places at once. He could also control men's minds with his hypnotic gaze.

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Still scared of aswangs? Then go see Kumander Bawang!

KUMANDER BAWANG - Kalaban ng mga Aswang

In keeping with the Halloween spirit (though it's All Saints' Day by now), here's another non-komiks post as we take a brief look at--


Kumander Bawang, Kalaban ng mga Aswang ("Commander Garlic, Enemy of the Aswang") was a 1988 comedy-horror-fantasy film. Herbert Bautista (Ninja Kids, the 1986 Captain Barbell) starred as Tikboy, a hapless lad who discovers his late father was a fearless aswang-slayer. Inheriting his father's mystical garlic-shaped pendant, he must use its power to become the aswang-busting superhero Kumander Bawang.
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Here's a short clip from the movie:


18 years later, Bautista reprised the role in the 2006 ABS-CBN television series Super Inggo. In the show, he becomes the headmaster of the Power Academy, a school for young superheroes. He also gets a new Matrix/X-Men inspired black leather outfit, which looks boring, in my opinion. The old green-and-orange costume may have looked tacky, but it did have more character.


As of late, a number of 1980's Pinoy fantasy films have been remade, such as the recent Petrang Kabayo and the upcoming Super Inday. So don't be surprised if we see a new Kumander Bawang hitting the screens in the future. If it does happen, I hope they give him a costume more like his original suit.

And they should keep the theme song, too.



Next up on our post-Halloween aswang double-bill: Alyas Aswang!