|The Manila Times r.o.i.
Saturday August 1, 1998
LET’S GET STONE(D)
Pinoy comic book for international release
Comic book veterans Whice Portacio and Brian
Haberlin announced in the US comic press the creation of a new comic book
publishing venture, Avalon Studios. The Studio plans to launch several
exciting new properties between 1998 and 1999. The first property, entitled
“Stone,” is scheduled to be shipped to US comic book retailers this
One of the industries most respected penciler
/ creators, Whilce Portacio, a Filipino and founding member of Image comic,
and probably best known as the creator of “Wetworks” for Image comics and
“Bishop” for Marvel comics X-Men series.
Brian Haberlin co-created the popular title
“Witchblade” (which is being produced by Oliver Stone into a live action
TV series), and his digital color house, Haberlin Studios, is regarded
as the finest in the industry. Writer Brian Holguin (“KISS: Pscho Circus”,
“Cyberforce”, and upcoming “Spawn”) has been tapped as the editorial director
of Avalon Studios.
Avalon Studios is truly an international
company in scope. The main offices and production facilities and editorial
staff is located in sunny California, USA, and printed in Canada, where
it will then be shipped all over the world.
The main artist studio, however, is located
here in the Philippines. All the artists involved in creating the artwork,
for the first three books to be published by Avalon this year, are from
the Philippines. Whilce penciler for “Stone”, Gerry Alanguilan inker for
the “Stone”, Gilbert Monsanto penciler for “Hellcop” and Efren “Jay” Anacleto
penciler for “Aria”.
Whilce is largely a responsible for training
and landing Leinil Yu (penciler) and Edgar Tadeo (inker), their jobs on
“Wolverine”, one of Marvel Comics number one X-Men books, both local boys.
(As a supplement to the Avalon artist studio,
the Learn Center (5th floor Megamall; 633-1629 / 634-217) is holding comic
book courses to train artists for the field.)
The number one independent comics book
publisher Marc Silvestre of Top Cow Comics (publisher of “Darkness”, and
“Witchblade”) has signed on as the publishing partner for Avalon in the
US. They will handle US promotions and trade coverage, beyond actually
publishing Avalon’s books. The partnership was forged because Whilce,
Marc and Brian are good friends and decided to band together to add to
each others endeavors.
A deal has been struck with Avalon Studios
and Image comics so that all Avalon comics will be published with the Image
Trademark. This makes the Avalon part of the populous Image family of comics.
Five years ago the Image founding members quit Marvel comics at the height
of their popularity and formed the highly-popular independent Comics publishing
conglomerate known as Image Comics.
Avalon co-owner Whilce remarks: “After
a two year hiatus I am coming back to comics and it feels right to come
to Image as well.
Pinoy folk tales
The first Avalon Studios release for August
is simply entitled “Stone”. It is a supernatural adventure centering on
a mystic battle to wrest control of a number of ancient gems called “Agimats”.
Inspired by own Filipino folklore and legends,
“Stone” as it unfolds, will have the main character Gerry Alan locked in
combat with a Tikbalang Prince of War. Gerry will see someone close to
him transformed into a vicious Manananggal, his closest friend will be
an ancient White Dwende King, he will have friends possessed by demented
Aswang spirits, he will try to stop the hordes of Kisapmata destroyers,
Engkanto conspirators, Magiks hunters called Redeemers, Sirena Warriors,
wise Nuno Revellers, hypnotic Kapres…that is but the first year of stories.
Whilce hopes to expose to international
audiences all the legends, myths, and folk tales locked in the Filipino
psyche: ”The material is all there in the collective minds of the Filipino
people. There are stories with character, with scope, in fact it’s all
so epic…I’m just being inspired by it all and putting it into a form where
people all over the world can enjoy it.”
Local efforts are being mobilized to make
“Stone” not only the first internationally-released Filipino comic book
but a truly huge event. Local “Stone” business partner Salito Malca says:
“It’s about time we gave to the world a truly Filipino product.” Malca
has landed a deal with Sony which will produce a music album for the “Stone”
PWU’s The Learn Center (Megamall) is not
only the site of the Whilce Portacio Comic book course (Whilce studied
Fine Arts at PWU Taft) but will also be the contact base for a nationwide
search for artist inkers. Avalon will launch three new books for release
Infinite info, a multimedia packages for
Malacañang, the British Embassy, and APEC, has signed on to produce
and maintain a massive website for “Stone” and Avalon Studios. It will
have a huge character data base showcasing the different creatures of Filipino
mythology, a chat area for guess to interact and tell their personal stories,
and an online store that will sell “Stone” merchandise. Stay tuned at www.whilce.com
for the opening of the “Stone” website.
By all hints, the weeks leading up the
August release of Avalon Studios “Stone” comic book, based on Filipino
folklore, will be an international event to be missed.