Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Tomb of DRAKULA

I realize that this is a weird subject to post for the month of December, but I've been experiencing some delays in updating this blog, and this just happens to be the only one I have on deck at the moment, so what the hey. Just think of this as a very belated Halloween post.


Anyway, ever since the Lord of Vampires first rose from his tomb in author Bram Stoker's immortal 1897 novel, Count Dracula has proven himself the Lord of All Media as well, having been the subject of countless films, and of course, comic books. In fact, his reign of terror has extended as far as the Philippine shores, as chronicled in the pages of Drakula at Iba Pang Mga Kuwentong Puno ng Lagim ("Dracula and Other Stories Full of Dread"), or simply Drakula Komiks-Magasin ("Dracula Comics-Magazine"), first published by Atlas Publishing Co., Inc. in 1988.

A weekly horror anthology title, Drakula Komiks played host to a number of short horror stories and serials, including a series of tales starring Dracula himself (or "Drakula," as his name is spelled in Filipino). Here's one from issue # 14 (May 25, 1988), Ang Kambal ("The Twin"), written by Lito Hamto and illustrated by Carlos A. Divinagracia.








Of course, despite the ending, Dracula can never truly die...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BULALAKAW

Bulalakaw ("Meteor") blazed through the pages of Kidlat Super Heroes Komiks (published by Sonic Triangle Publishing, Inc.) from 1993 to 1994. The series was written by Jeric Salonga, with art by Ariel Padilla, and later, by Luisito Antonio.



TWO RINGS TO RULE THEM ALL



Marko San Diego was an archaeologist who discovered a pair of mystical golden rings embedded within the remains of a crashed meteor. Now, whenever he presses the twin rings together, he transforms into the golden-clad guardian of good known as Bulalakaw.




POWER RINGS


Bulalakaw possesses superhuman strength and speed, invulnerability, and the power of flight. His rings are capable of projecting fire, energy blasts and force fields. He is also seen to have telekinesis and heightened senses.






ENEMIES

KADILIMAN ("DARKNESS")

Bulalakaw's arch nemesis, the living embodiment of evil and darkness in the universe.



A shape-shifter, Kadiliman has also faced Bulalakaw under a number of guises, such as a super-powered "demonic alien" and the mad scientist Dr. Karzov.


 TAONG BATO ("ROCK MAN")
One of Kadiliman's minions, a creature made out of solid rock.

 GORDON
A thug transformed by "Dr. Karzov" into a super-powered being to take down Bulalakaw.

SKULLIBOR
An undead skull-faced swordsman who rises from the grave to challenge Bulalakaw to a duel.

THE KING OF SATURN

The mysterious ruler of the sixth planet from the Sun, he plots to have Bulalakaw eliminated.

ZATURKO
A prisoner from the planet Saturn and a reluctant assassin sent by his king to destroy Bulalakaw.

LUCARIA

Another Saturnian convict, the most beautiful and most dangerous woman on her world. Lucaria derives her power from her uncontrollable anger.



GUEST STARS

On one occasion, Bulalakaw joined forces with fellow Kidlat Komiks heroes Kampeon, Elektro, and (of course) Kidlat in battling Kadiliman.



COVERS






Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ASTER The Last Celestial Knight

As October also happens to be Filipino American History Month, here's a Philippine-made comic book character that actually managed to penetrate the American market during the mid-1990's.

Art by Oliver Isabedra

Aster: The Last Celestial Knight was created by writers Ronaldo and Narciso Roxas and artist Oliver Isabedra for C.A.T.S. Studios. Originally intended to be released locally, it was eventually published under American comic book company Entity Comics in 1994.


COSMIC EPIC

Art by Mark Vuycankiat

For untold millennia, peace in the universe was maintained by an ancient order of cosmic beings known as the Celestial Guardians, and their agents, the mighty Celestial Knights. Among the most powerful of the Knights was Aster, tasked with the duty of destroying worlds that the Guardians judge too corrupt to live.


However, Aster was later manipulated by the renegade Guardian Dessa, who sought to wrest control of the Gem of Saghal, the very source of the Guardians and Knights' power.


It took the combined forces of the Guardians and Knights to defeat Dessa, a battle that wiped out virtually all of the Celestial Knights. The Guardians entombed Dessa within layers of space debris, forming a planet that would come to be known as Prison World.


As for Aster, despite his part in Dessa's defeat, he was sentenced to exile in the Empyrean Void, cast adrift into the farthest ends of the universe.


He would emerge from the void thousands of years later. By this time, Prison World had become inhabited by the survivors of the planets that he had once destroyed. Now the last Celestial Knight, Aster seeks to atone for his past indiscretion by defending his new adopted world from the evils that beset it.





COSMIC POWERS


Aside from the usual superhuman strength, speed, endurance and flight, Aster commands vast cosmic energies that he can harness in the form of blasts and shields. At his most powerful, he is even capable of obliterating entire planets!


He also has the ability to strip naked at a whim.



ALLIES


THE MOUNTSMEN

A tribe of mountain-dwelling warriors.

KHALED BRAHMA

The chieftain of the Mountsmen.


SHAIANA

Khaled Brahma's daughter, she befriends Aster and accompanies him on his quest.


Shaiana
appears to die at the end of the first Aster mini-series, but she is immediately resurrected into her own spin-off series in 1995, which was drawn by a rather unlikely yet talented artist. Who was he? Find out here.





GHAYAB

Shaiana's young companion.











DHUMAT

A proud Mountsman warrior, he grows suspicious of Aster's presence in their midst.


OGHUR

An enigmatic old man who possesses mysterious powers and keeps a sinister secret.



THE DISCIPLES

The rulers of the various kingdoms on Prison World.

REISHA OF SHARNUK

Queen of Aldebaire, the richest kingdom in the galaxy.


PALADIN AERIOS


Winged monarch of the sky city of Vultura.


SHARKEEM MANTREY

Leader of the underwater colony of Clastigor.











THE HARRIERS
A team of intergalactic mercenaries who encounter Aster shortly after his release from the void. (Pictured here with Entity Comics heroine Nira-X.)


ENEMIES

DESSA
Although his body is buried deep within Prison World, Dessa's spirit lives on, plotting to regain corporeal form and reclaim the Gem of Saghal.

TOLMEK


A former disciple of Dessa who now seeks power for himself.


THE GROGGS

A savage race of half-men half beasts who serve Dessa.


BANDAR

Tolmek's brutish minion and commander of the Groggs.








KALLAURIA
A shape-shifting, fire-breathing sea dragon, Kallauria's eye is sought for its magical properties.


STAR POWER

Other notable Filipino artists have also worked on Aster, such as Jay Anacleto...




Aster had even attracted the talents of major western comics professionals, such as George Perez...


... Jae Lee...


... and Joe Quesada.



AND A FEW COVERS MORE

And now, let's close with some covers from co-creator Oliver Isabedra.