By Jiggy Cruz
Marvel Comics dropped a bomb on all fans, most especially the Filipinos, as editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski unveiled it’s newest character – a Filipina! – during the Marvel Panel at the South by Southwest conference or SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Creator and writer Greg Pak tweeted Saturday morning, the look of Wave under the sea with her bright glowing teal swords. Pak acknowledged Filipino superstar comic book artist Leinil Francis Yu for designing Wave.
Before the announcement, I got to talk to Leinil over dinner. It turns out it was C.B., himself, who emailed Leinil sometime early February, asking if he was interested to design a new character who happens to be Filipina. Of course, Leinil replied: “Yes, I want to do it! ”
Then again, it was expected that one of the most talented Filipino artists be asked to do it.
“To be given an opportunity like this, there was really no way I could say no to it,” Leinil told us.
C.B. then got Leinil, writer and Wave creator Greg, and a number of editors from Marvel on an email thread so they could brainstorm. Greg sent Leinil some notes and he received an image of this Filipina in a black diving suit / rash guard with some pink highlights.
Leinil shared that Wave is from Cebu and she uses technology. Wave wasn’t born with powers nor was there any magic used. It was all Greg Pak who thought of it. The name hadn’t been thought of yet at the time with Leinil.
Wave’s design didn’t have any color guides so Leinil ran with it. “Initially I wanted to put some Filipino symbology into it like the rays of the sun but then I realized it might be too out there. Wolverine being Canadian doesn’t have a maple leaf in his costume. But I still wanted some elements so it was the Lapu-Lapu inspired swords that I put there.”
Wave’s Cebu roots come full circle with the Lapu-Lapu inspired swords. The teal color was the final approved color highlight since Wave is water-based. Leinil shared that he dabbled with some sky blue and pink initially but it was the teal color he went with. Wave also has a retractable mask.
“The Marvel editors asked for goggles but I wanted to show her face so I made it a translucent retractable mask that covers her nose so she can breathe as well,” Leinil explained.
I also got a comment from C.B., a dear friend of the Filipinos.
(FROM LEFT) The Author, LEINIL YU, and C.B. Cebulski
“Filipino Marvel fans are some of the most passionate in the world, and we’ve always wanted to return that love… and now we finally have that chance, in the form of the water warrior known as Wave! Greg Pak and Leinil Yu have created Marvel’s newest hero, a fascinating Filipina with roots in Cebu. We look forward to exploring not only her place in the Marvel Universe, but her origins in the Philippines!”
“And of course she’s a Jollibee fan!” Cebulski added.
Wave makes her debut in Marvel Comics’ “New Agents of Atlas” issue one which is a tie-in of their biggest event of 2019, “War of The Realms.”
*This article is originally published in Manila Bulletin Entertainment.