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.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

LASTIKDOG - Lastikman's Best Friend

Since October 4 was World Animal Day, and October 9 was the birthday of komiks legend Mars Ravelo, I thought I'd feature this character who, while not a Ravelo creation, is affiliated with one of his greatest heroes.


Lastikdog first appeared in 1995 in the pages of Lastikman Komiks (where else?), and later in Aliwan Komiks. The series was written by Jeffrey Marcelino Ong, with art by Larry Santiago and Zer Hipolito.


Trojan was an intelligent pet dalmatian owned by Dr. Manuel De Lastico, who also happened to be the superhero Lastikman.


One day, while his master was away, Trojan spotted a passing pickup truck carrying a female dog at the back. Infatuated, Trojan follows the truck to the house of an eccentric scientist named Professor Pakto.


As the dogs were playing, Trojan knocked over a container of chemicals that the professor was working on. He then proceeded to drink the chemical that spilled on the floor.


The formula gave Trojan shape-shifting abilities similar to those of his master's. He would go on to follow in his owner's footsteps, using his newfound powers to fight evil as Lastikdog. All the while, Lastikman is totally unaware of his pet's crime-fighting activities!






Come to think of it, wouldn't it reflect badly on Lastikman as a superhero that a crime happens right under his nose, and his pet is the one who responds to it?