Marvel & Filipino Artists
In a talk panel at Marvel Creative Day Out, the guests shared personal stories and perspectives from their time at Marvel and in the comic book industry.
Leinil Yu reflected on how komiks have changed from the old genres of horror and adventure, and moved towards indie artists who produce their own original work. Harvey Tolibao laments that komiks no longer have the mainstream popularity they used to, with many people in the dark about popular and award-winning works like Budjette Tan’s Trese or Gerry Alanguilan’s Elmer.
Leinil remembers how much more difficult it was to break into the industry before C.B Cebulski’s time and without the aid of the internet. Artists have to take advantage of the number of talents scouts that are going around now.
Leinil also said that it’s always important to have a back-up plan. Even though he had supportive parents and was mentored by Whilce Portacio, he had to wait a while before getting his first assignment.
Harvey stressed the need to never give up. His first submission to a talent agent was rejected, but the latter told him to come back again with new work. Art was always iterative, building on previous work.
Stephen Segovia and Harvey, friends and roommates for a long time, said having a friend who will always encourage you to pursue your dreams was a god-send. “Be the soup of your friend’s pancit canton.”
Everyone emphasized the need to keep working and to strive for exposure. When the work stops, the fans will forget about you. As an artist at Marvel, they each have to balance your work, your financials, your fans, and the passionate kabaliwan that drives their personal fire.
They advise everyone to be always open to feedback, especially with the prevalence of social media, like Twitter and Facebook. Although, they do admit that it’s sometimes very disheartening to read negative reviews, especially from larger, more established websites.
“You can have a 100 likes and but a criticism could still break your day.” But, Stephen wanted to everyone to fight against those feelings and be open to any constructive criticism.
Aspiring artists should strive to etch out their artistic style, but they shouldn’t be afraid to adapt and assimilate the styles of those they look up to.
Lan Medina, one of the first Eisner Award-winning Filipino artists, was trumpeted as a master of adapting his influences and idols into his own creative output. In C.B.’s words, the most difficult and most important step was to get out there and show your work.
After all that, C.B. and the gang were available for artistic consultation throughout the day of Marvel Creative Day Out.
When audience questions were opened, Leinil and Stephen both agreed that Wolverine were their favorite characters. Harvey preferred female characters like Psylocke but then agreed that Wolverine was his “crush” too. Everyone was relatively okay with 616 Wolverine being dead.
Just like their artists, Marvel needs to experiment too with X-23 as the current Wolverine and Old Man Logan as the grumpy mentor. C.B. says a massive roster of characters allows for some to leave the spotlight and others to step up to the plate. Leinil prefers to trade-wait, to avoid being overwhelmed reading comics while working on actual comics. Harvey likes the digital copies, since they make great toilet reads.
Each of them had their own personal favorite moments in Marvel. C.B. loved discovering new artists and getting artists he’s eyed for a long time to join Marvel. Meeting Stan Lee was always a treat, whether in a convention or in a fast food restaurant. Leinil looked fondly at the warmth he received whenever he goes to San Diego Comic Con. Harvey appreciated that working on comics always felt like to the return to his childhood, free to create. Once someone breaks into comics, they should just keep going with the flow and push with all their might. After all, once you’re in, why stop?