As one of the VIP guests at this year’s HistoryCon 2017, Fil-Am comic book artist Whilce Portacio was happy to face the local media again after arriving in the country last month. Known for working on popular titles like The Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, Punisher, Spawn, and Wetworks, Whilce said he will always enjoy being in Manila. “I feel blessed. Any excuse to come back home. I could go into long, long rants dito sa atin but it’s just the people but it’s also the energy the give,” he shared.
As one of the founders of Image comics, Whilce shared his dream that he hopes Pinoy artists can also come up with a true blue Pinoy superhero. “Actually I hope in the very, very near future. Unfortunate in my position I get invited everywhere so we’d go all over Asia and especially in my field it’s all superheroes. So all the movies right now is basically Jack Kirby and Stan Lee superheroes. As the pride I see happening in the Philippines grows more and more, I’m inviting everybody right now to start now because seriously in the next few years in other show business in other different countries are going to be asking, ‘Ano ba yung next?” and imagine if France comes up with their own superhero and then Philippines comes up with their own character and then what’s going to happen is a worldwide Avengers. So we have to start now so we could have a place and position there,” he advised.
Instead of going the path of usual superhero themes, Whilce hinted at conceptualizing a new character that hits closer to home for his kababayans. “There are five million professionals in the field right now in the States. There are so many Pinoys. You could literally name an entertainment property and there’s not only the low level artists but there’s also managers, they’re now directors. My advice for artists is to do us, do you, do your tropa with all the flaws with all the greatness,” he explained.
With the popularity of digital media, Whilce said it is easier to collaborate and contribute for international projects for Pinoy artists. “We’re very fortunate that the world right now especially entertainment is not also all converging. But because of the Internet and because of the almost instant transportation of media is digital, I don’t have to be at a certain place to do a certain thing. Like in 1995 I chose to come over to the Philippines to see what everything was like here. And then I bumped into all this talent in film, in showbiz, in comics. So I put up a school, I put up a studio and that was on 55 Balete Drive. There I discovered a lot of Pinoy artists in comics who are big names now today. We did a lot of projects back then and produced it for DC, for Wildstorm, for comics in the U.S. Right now there’s a lot of Pinoy artists who are indie and also mainstream,” he said.