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Filipina Vampire Slayer slays in PH-exclusive ‘Buffy’ cover

Image credit: Filbar’s

As Giles told Buffy: “A Slayer slays.” And this Philippine-exclusive variant cover by TRESE co-creator Kajo Baldisimo of the Buffy: Every Generation #1 one-shot definitely slays. Baldisimo’s cover features the unnamed Filipina Vampire Slayer teased last year by publisher BOOM! Studios, who will have her first full appearance in a 10-page story.

Earlier this year, BOOM! Studios said this one-shot will introduce the “most important new character in over twenty years” to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. They described the stories as the “secret origins of some of the most important Slayers in history”. Not only that, but also this is the very first BOOM! Studios Philippine-exclusive variant cover — a historic feat pulled off by popular Philippine comic book store Filbar’s.

“Pinoy talent has always been recognized by international publishers. In recent years, local collectors have become more supportive of Filipino stories, art and talent — both locally or internationally published. The demand for Filipino-produced artwork is now enough to able to meet the minimum order quantity for exclusive covers,” Filbar’s President Jacob Cabochan told Digital Life Asia.

Making history

The unnamed Filipina Vampire Slayer featured last year on one of the "Chosen One" variant covers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5.
The unnamed Filipina Vampire Slayer featured last year on one of the “Chosen One” variant covers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5. Image credit: Filbar’s

“It’s certainly great to see more exposure for the Philippines in international comics. I would say that part of this recognition comes from all the Filipino artists who are currently working on various titles for publishers in the US. If you take a look at the new comic titles that arrive each month, there is always at least four to five books with Filipinos being credited as the artists,” Filbar’s Chief Creative Officer Ivan Guerrero added.

How was Filbar’s able to pull off this exclusive variant cover for the Philippines?

“We had actually written to Dark Horse Comics about it back in 2019, not knowing that the publishing rights to Buffy had just been transferred to BOOM! Studios. Luckily for us, Dark Horse was kind enough to forward our email and contact details to BOOM! We’ve been in touch with the team at BOOM! Studios ever since the character made a minor cover appearance in June of last year,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero was referring to one of the “Chosen One” variant covers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5. Set in the Philippines in 1910, the cover featured the unnamed Filipina Vampire Slayer. Last year, BOOM! Studios launched its ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book series. This is a reimagining of the original TV series, set in the year 2019. Because of this, the series is at once familiar and unpredictable to Buffy fans.

Filipino representation

Filipinos have been getting more representation in comic books. For example, last year Marvel Comics introduced Filipina superhero Wave, who hails from Cebu.

“We are extremely proud that Filipinos are now being featured as main characters, instead of merely ‘token’ representatives or sidekicks,” Cabochan said.

“While it’s certainly been exciting to see more Pinoy representation in comics, I think it’s also been more rewarding to see accurate portrayals of our people and culture in pop culture in recent years. What really delights us is seeing foreign producers understand and incorporate the nuances of our culture, and translate them into characters, storylines, costumes, fighting styles, and more. This is part of the reason why we’re very enthusiastic about the Netflix adaptation of TRESE, by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo,” Guerrero said.

No stranger to drawing badass women fighting the supernatural, Baldisimo was truly the Chosen One for this variant cover.

“I’m really glad that in my small way, I was able contribute to something that promotes our culture to the world,” Baldisimo told Digital Life Asia.

Comic book community

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Filbar’s is keeping the comic book community engaged and supporting charity efforts.

“As business is still very minimal, we have been actively focused on updating our customers regarding new product releases and pop culture news on our social media pages. We recently launched a short video series called #StayatHome with Filbar’s to keep our customers entertained with new content. We are also supportive of efforts within our community to provide PPEs (personal protective equipment) to our frontliners,” Cabochan said.

Will Filbar’s be unveiling other Philippine-exclusive variant covers this year?

“In addition to the BOOM! Studios cover, we have been working with several pop culture brands on exclusive products for the Philippines. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to reveal these exclusives at this time,” Cabochan said.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is my favorite TV show of all time. I’m also a comic book geek. So you can just imagine how excited I am. Want to make sure you’ll get this limited-run cover variant? You can pre-order your copy now.

It’s a great time to be a Buffy fan!

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