7 Filipino comics that also deserve their own animated Netflix adaptations

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Hulyen’s comics would work in the same way as shows like “Aggretsuko” or “Pop Team Epic.” Photo from HALIYA PUBLISHING/WEBSITE

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — With the recent announcement that Filipino comics series “Trese,” created by Kajo Baldisimo and Budjette Tan, is being adapted into an animated series by Netflix, we’d like to bring up some other Filipino comics properties that would be great for animated adaptations in their own right.

But before we dive into the list, I feel like there is a discussion to be had about comics and adaptations into other media. Some people mistakenly see comics as a stepping stone or a lesser medium. But I don’t want to encourage the idea that when a comic is adapted into a film or a T.V. series, that it means that the adaptation is the superior or better version.

The truth is that some stories in comics were meant to be told in the comics medium itself. Comics has its own rules and tricks that help elevate the story the creators might want to tell, and the experience of reading these stories in comic form will differ from when it is adapted into animation, live action, or novelizations.

I tried to keep this in mind with this list, and considered which Filipino comics would be easier or more open to reinterpretation or adaptation into animated series and what stories lend themselves to that. In the process, I also hope to give you some new books to check out while we all wait for the “Trese” Netflix adaptation.

Here are some comics that desperately need to get their own animated adaptations.

ella.jpg Photo from ELLA ARCANGEL/FACEBOOK

“Ella Arcangel” by Julius Villanueva

Julius Villanueva is one of the most prolific and interesting comic creators in the local comic book scene today. His work consists of dinosaur comics, slice of life condemnations of normies, a comic strip about the mundane goings on of young people, a story about a child aspiring to be a comics creator and her yaya trying to support her however she can, and a dystopian science fiction set in the ruins of Manila where alien entities have changed the natural order of things, among many other out there — smart concepts in his body of work.

01Ella02.jpg Photo from HALIYA PUBLISHING/WEBSITE

“Ella Arcangel” is his take on the paranormal investigation genre, but rooted in a far more grounded reality, way more than most other fantasy genre comic books dealing with mythological creatures and monsters of the week. Here, we see people from the slums, people victimized by these supernatural entities in brutal and horrifying ways, and our hero Ella, a child barely scraping by against these horrifying monsters. Body horror is prevalent, as well as really fascinating monster designs, making “Ella Arcangel” feel like the freshest take on the tired paranormal genre.

You can buy a copy (and read a few  pages) from Haliya Publishing’s website.

02DADE01.jpg Photo from CARLOROZY CLEMENTE/FACEBOOK

“Darwin’s Association of Delicious Evilness” by Carlorozy Clemente

Carlorozy Clemente is a really good artist. He works fast and his comics have an energy to them that makes his work stand out from the local comics scene. Manic and oftentimes beautiful, Carlorozy Clemente is a pretty dang good creator.

02DADE02.jpg Photo from CARLOROZY CLEMENTE/FACEBOOK

His brainchild, “Darwin’s Association of Delicious Evilness” (DADE) is about Darwin, an elementary student who has aspirations to start an evil organization so he can build a bomb inside the earth. He aspires to be a dictator, you see. He recruits different students to his side and we see his adventures trying to survive bullies, older kids, con artists, betrayal, childhood, and so on. I can say that this is one of the most fun, bombastic, kinetic, out of this world experiences you will ever have reading a comic. Carlorozy’s energy is infectious and DADE is just awesome.

Currently, the collected edition of DADE is out of print, but you can contact Carlorozy through his Facebook page and see if you can convince him to release another print run. You can however read the best interpretation of the Legend of Lam-Ang on his Facebook page.

Sixty-Six_large.jpg Photo from ADARNA HOUSE/WEBSITE

“Sixty Six” by Russel Molina and Ian Sta. Maria

“Sixty Six” is about Celestino Cabal aka Mang Tino, a retired senior citizen who runs a sari-sari store. His daughter works abroad, and he spends his days taking care of a wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s. When he turns 66, he finds out he has super powers.

03SixtySix02.jpg Photo from IAN STA. MARIA/ANINO COMICS

Where this book really shines is in its treatment of its characters — all of them could be people who live across the street from you. There’s a humanity in this book that is admirable. The superhero genre mainly is focused on young or middle aged people coming to grips with great power and great responsibility. With “Sixty Six,” we see an old man having to deal with great power thrust upon him. It’s a unique take to see a senior citizen fight crime while dealing with getting old. This book will surprise you and make you cry.

The first volume is available through Anino Comics and in bookstores near you. The 2nd volume is in the works and is coming soon.

04CFCCA01.jpg Photo from KOWTOW KOMIKS/TUMBLR

“Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents” by Noel Pascual and AJ Bernardo

Noel Pascual and AJ Bernardo are a match made in heaven honestly. The two have been collaborating on komiks for as long as I’ve known them, and they haven’t disappointed me ever. (Maybe as people, never with their work). They’re currently working on “Patay Kung Patay,” another really good comic, but “Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents” is what I would say works as a potential animated adaptation.

CFCCA is about, well call Center Agents, a group of friends who find themselves in absurd situations fighting zombies, the paranormal, and never really getting around to fighting crime (it’s funny!).

04CFCCA03.jpg Photo from KOWTOW KOMIKS/TUMBLR

AJ Bernardo is one of the greatest comic artists around the comics scene. From his panel compositions, the way he can choreograph a fight scene, his attention to the facial expressions and body language on each of the characters, he puts everything into the series. Noel Pascual  is one of the dumbest smartest writers I know, able to just come up with these absurd scenarios for AJ to play in and the wittiest dialogue you will find anywhere. With “Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents’” episodic nature — where the gang finds themselves fighting a new monster of the week — and how it deals with it in the most gleefully absurd way possible, I would love to see it as an animated show.

You can read the first three issues here as a free PDF, and you can buy copies of different issues at conventions where AJ and Noel or just AJ or just Noel show up. Check out their Facebook page to see where they might end up.

05Hulyen01.jpg Photo from HALIYA PUBLISHING/WEBSITE

Hulyen

Hulyen aka Julienne Davidas’ work is… unique.

My pitch for this is how Hulyen’s comics would work in the same way as shows like “Aggretsuko” or “Pop Team Epic.” Her slice of life vignettes and sense of humor could go well with short animated segments, and I just really feel like Hulyen’s unique take on the world needs to be seen by more people.

You can find a collection of work in UGH Volume One here.

legal alien.jpg Photo from HAWKERS MAGAZINE/WEBSITE

“I’m a Legal Alien” by Francis and Patrick Concepcion

“I’m a Legal Alien” is ambitious for one thing. It tells the story about immigrants from another planet living here, in Manila, dealing with all the discrimination, political turmoil, and all sorts of ugly things that are born out of it, but it also deals with family and how that is important to us, how a racial identity often is a thing to be reckoned. It definitely paints an interesting realized world and reflects the real life tensions of immigrants dealing with other cultures, mixed races, and bigotry. Definitely one of the more thoughtful series of comics since “Elmer” by Gerry Alanguilan.

You can check out the first few chapters here.

dk.JPG Photo from SUMMIT BOOKS/FACEBOOK

“Doorkeeper” by Ethan Chua, Scott Lee Chua, Gia Duran, Aaron Felizmenio, Allen Geneta, Bow Guerrero, Bianca Lesaca, Jap Mikel, Brent Sabas

The “Doorkeeper” is an entity that travels through time and space to ‘reveal to mortals the consequences of their choices. He does not interfere,’ as described by the blurb at the back of the book. The premise explores this concept and we then see different stories in different eras — past, present, and future — of people reckoning with the consequences of their actions, and the butterfly effect each one has on them.

07Doorkeeper02.jpg Image from DOORKEEPER/FACEBOOK

Written by brothers Ethan and Scott, it makes for a fascinating anthology with each story being drawn by an artist playing to their strengths, genres change, and tone changes. It’s a hard balance to strike, and some stories are stronger than others, each with their own interesting take on the Doorkeeper’s appearance. It may all seem disconnected, but all of it builds towards something. I won’t spoil what. I’d definitely love to see it explored more with other characters and stories that the Chua brothers could come up with. It’d make a great animated anthology series, say with different animation styles and approaches.

“Doorkeeper” is available in your local bookstores and is published by Summit Books.

I’d like to highlight some notable mentions just to cover some bases: “Skyworld,” “Andong Agimat,” “Terrorium,” “Tanod” and “Kubori Kikiam” are some comics properties that would also make for great animated adaptations. “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah,” “The Mythology Class,” and “Tabi Po” would make for great animated shows but they are being or have been developed into animated and live action adaptations at this time.