DC teams up with Filipino artist Manix Abrera for comic book cover

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Manix Abrera/Galerie Stephanie

Last June, Marvel Comics introduced a new Filipino-American superhero, named Ari Agbayani, in the United States of Captain America issue #4.

Proving that Pinoys can be equally as remarkable beyond paper is renowned artist Manix Abrera, who was tapped by another big-time publisher—none other than DC Comics—to create the variant cover for the Batman The Knight #1 issue.

Abrera is famous for his comic series Kikomachine Comix, News Hardcore, and Bertong Badtrip, as well as graphic novels 12 and 14 that all feature nameless characters reacting humorously to day-to-day situations.

The veteran cartoonist quickly made the rounds online when Comic Odyssey shared his cover art on Facebook on December 28.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Abrera revealed that his collaboration with DC Comics came forth after he joined Next Comic Art, a group where Filipino artists create artworks based on famous superheroes and put them up on sale.

Dito napansin na bagay pala ‘yung style ko na Kikomachine Comix ‘tapos gagawin ko na superhero ‘yung characters. So nag-collaborate ‘yung retailers—Comic Odyssey, Sanctum Sanctorum—pati Next Comic Art. Pinitch nila sa DC kung puwede ako gumawa ng cover for Batman kasi naisip nila bagay ‘yung style ko,” Manix said.

Tapos nagulat na lang ako kasi in-email ako ng editor ng DC Comics for Batman, si Ben Abernathy. Nagulat ako na ino-offer nila ako na gumawa ng variant cover,” he added.

Abrera admitted that while he deemed the opportunity amazing, it also came with pressure. “Sobrang nakaka-pressure kasi [naisip ko] okay ba sakanila ‘yung style ko na cartooney na surreal na weird — ‘yung style ko talaga sa Kikomachine.” he continued. “Sabi niya yes, okay naman kasi nakita niya ‘yung drawing style ko… So masaya ako na game sila sa ganoong art style ko.”

Batman The Knight #1 is written by Chip Zdarsky and follows the story of a young Bruce Wayne as he grows into the mysterious and accomplished Dark Knight.

Abrera said his masterpiece draws inspiration from the cover art of Batman issues in the ’80s combined with his drawing style inspired by mystic arts.

“Kaya mapapansin niyo ‘yung Batman dyan, ‘yung ears niya mukhang bat talaga kasi ganyan itchura niya dati. ‘Tapos in love na in love ako sa ganyang style. Tapos nilalagayan ko ng mga supernatural [elements]—mga magic, mga occult—kasi mahilig ako sa ganyang theme,” he told CNN Philippines.

So nung kino-conceptualualize ko, sabi ko, bagay ‘yung story ni Batman doon sa kwento ng mga alchemy, ‘yung kung paano sila umaakyat sa stairs of wisdom para maka-transmutate ng base metals into gold. So sabi ko, ‘Para pala itong si Bruce Wayne na nagaaral maging Batman… So iyon ‘yung pinitch ko. Buti okay rin sa kanila.

Batman The Knight #1 is slated for launch in January.

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