Saturday, January 24, 2009

In The Making

They are all tired. Earlier, the 5 member creative team met at one coffee shop in Tomas Morato to lay-out the story of what they consider as their final act on their year long run on the once dormant Ravelo superheroes. Ays De Guzman, Phillip King, Danica Domingo, Eden Bernal led by Dindo Perez, comprises the Isang Lakas creative team.

All five just presented their storyline for the new direction of Isang Lakas to Production Director Julie Benitez and Creative Manager Rondel Lindayag. The storyline was good but it’s just too cluttered, and it’s still a little bit confusing. There was silence inside one of ABS-CBN’s executive lounge, the team sat and lay around the sofas with their two bosses for about 45 minutes. Phillip opened his laptop and had some catch up time with the 3rd season of Heroes while Ays was browsing on his downloaded trailers, Eden, Danica and Dindo went outside and lighted up their cigarettes. Then after some silence… “Alam ko na!” Julie Benitez shouted. She rose up from the sofa grabbed a white board marker and wrote a new story structure. Dindo, Danica and Eden immediately went back inside.Then everyone stared at was written and they all said one thing.


After that the flood gates opened and idea after idea rolled out. In just 30 minutes they have mapped out the entire run of Isang Lakas “Hay salamat, marami ng room for character development.” Ays said. The new structure is not a popular and will take a lot of effort for people to see of its potential.

Then for the next three days, the creative team fueled the stories of each superhero tying them up on their main arc. Then what suddenly was a bunch of very masa and cheesy villains became real threats and big time adversaries for the heroes and so the plot thickened. “The new story structure allowed us to delve much deeper into the heroes, so we were able to turn their villains into meaner sons of bitches.”

After those three days the creative team consolidated their stories and linked it up to their main plot and everything magically aligned. Isang Lakas was then approved.

“Now we will have to do the real work, writing it on a daily basis.” Phillip King said.

Watch out for the next post, these are news you wouldn’t want to miss…check out the blog again in 3 days time.

The 80's Kind of Superhero Returns

They were born out of the komik books, got trapped in limbo during the Martial Law years of the 70’s but when democracy returned to the orient pearl in 1986 the pinoy superheroes broke out and flew to the silver screens and the 80’s kind of superheroes were born. So, you ask what is an 80’s kind of superhero?

“It’s a theory!” laughs writer Ays De Guzman. “When we got the list of properties ABS-CBN got from the Ravelos, Flash Bomba kind’a stuck out because his origins and story followed those of the superhero movies from 80’s I watched as a kid.” A lot of superheroes from the film outfits of the 80’s were born out of the cinemas. Super Wan Tu Tri, Super Islaw, Kumander Bawang, Bb.Tsuperman, Super Inday, Kabayo Kids, etc. “All the superheroes from that period had one thing in common, Pinoy Folklore, and folklore is what Flash Bomba has that make him stand out from the rest of the superheroes from the Ravelo pantheon.” adds Ays.

The country has a lot of myths and legends which is a part of our culture and during the 80’s they somehow seeped through the pop cult phenomenon and a sort of “Golden Age” era of superheroes began. “I don’t know how the heck the writers back then pulled that off. I mean men in tights and cape just don’t mix with folklore stuff. But apparently they blurred the lines and made each superhero part of pinoy pop culture. I mean Super Islaw got powers from a magic crutch that an old ermitanyo gave him, and he even had to say magic words to activate it. He and Super Inday were battling giant spiders, vampires and demonic villains for crying out loud. Back then that was their definition of a villain, a Pinoy Villain mind you. Not something copied out of western comic books, and for that I’m proud to be a fan of those films. Ang mga characters na ito ang nagbigay ng kaibahan ng mga pinoy superheroes sa mga superheroes sa amerika. ”

Flash Bomba is all pinoy folklore. He got his super powers from nothing less than one of the strongest folkloric entity, the Tikbalang, which gave him his enormous hands and feet, granting him super strength and enhanced leaping ability. “Writing Flash Bomba was probably as hard as writing Isang Lakas I have to admit. We began creative work on Flash Bomba while we were still doing Kapitan Boom back in May. Then it ended and we found ourselves on the last script of Tiny Tony and we’re still having problems with Flash Bomba, I mean we just couldn’t get it off the ground. The problem was Flash Bomba is a new entity to us it was folkloric in origin and we had to learn how to handle it first.” But looks like the creative staff prevailed as Flash Bomba is now ready to kick ass on-air. “You should see his arch enemy Dark Horse I mean he’s straight out of folklore din but this time we added a twist.”

Folklore is something Pinoy Superheroes has that distinguishes them from all the other tight wearing crime fighters all over the world. It is their core, it is who they are supposed to be. Flash Bomba will air on February 7, Saturday at 6:00 pm on ABS-CBN.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


What does it take to make a good superhero story within a third world country? The superhero stories of the west, pioneered by the two biggest comic book publishers within the continental U.S. Marvel and DC made their stories reflected on the world today…where terrorism is abound and the world moves on such a rapid pace that technology is always changing going further from the high-tech, to the super-tech, but what about us? Those who live in the so-called Poorer Countries…

“We Filipinos have a different view and a different take on life kasi than our American brothers. First off, born and bred out of hardships and poverty tayong mga Pinoy. Each and every Filipino has this Pusong Masa, miski na gaano yan ka-sosyal or ka-kikay meron yan nun. I mean we all enjoy mangga at bagoong for crying out loud, how much more proof of a Pusong Masa could you get? This Pusong Masa came from the fact that we are from a 3rd world country, so in making a superhero story, you’ll have to take that into account.” says Ays De Guzman.

“Culture also is a key ingredient. Nasa kultura at dugo nating mga pinoy ang folklore... we understand more the mechanics of how an anting-anting works than how to operate a PDA. In writing or creating a superhero story you have to also take that into account, because culture is what will make your superhero be true as a Filipino who saves his own people. Except na lang siguro kung foreigner yan.” adds Ays.

Isang Lakas is a super team, composed of Pinoy superheroes. Pinoy is the operating word. “A good story, not just the superhero ones must reflect the things around you…so you can relate to it. But of course in a superhero story, there’s this momentary suspension of disbelief where the impossible happens. But even then, you cannot take your story as far and as extreme than what common knowledge and experience can permit, because if you do, you will take the people to something their not familiar with or to something they can’t relate to, and when that happens, it will be the end of your story and your superhero.”

“Third world superheroes are actually much more interesting to write because things are harder for them. When they investigate something, they just won’t get it by hacking into a computer then downloading things via satellite…I mean if we had that here in the Philippines we wouldn’t be third world. And hindi na kami mahihirapan magpalusot. Hahaha… ” jokes Ays.

“Being in the 3rd world is what made Kapitan Boom resonate with the audiences and the viewers…kasi totoo siya. I mean making costumes cost money…kaya nga Kapitan Boom’s 1st costume was this raggedy red thing with a handkerchief for a mask. Mahirap ang buhay noh!.”

We were going to ask that if Isang Lakas goes masa and very pinoy won’t it alienate the fans who love intricate, complex TV series like Lost, Heroes, 24 etc? But the creative team answered that before we can even ask it. “The story is very simple. You can actually say the premise of the show in six words. We made it simple because we need to cater to the mass market but that does not mean we can’t make a compromise. The story is simple but the structure and the pacing, well…gugulatin na lang namin kayo. The story would be like as if your were riding your bike enjoying the day then out of nowhere a 120mph 10 wheeler truck hits you at every corner you turn your bike.” says Ays

If this 10 wheeler truck named Isang Lakas would really deliver that kind of show on TV, well then I think, I won’t be the only one lining up to eagerly await it’s arrival. Astig maging 3rd world, kaya Isang Lakas tayo!


Dusted off from the old komiks our parents used to enjoy, ABS-CBN brings to life one of the most bizarre superhero within the vast collection of acclaimed comic book creator Mars Ravelo.

If size does matter to the ladies, well then, they will get one hell of a kick outta’ this superhero. He has large hands and large feet, and you know what they say about men with large hands and feet...So play up your imagination because after the fiery Dragonna, here comes Flash Bomba!

Tagged as the “Superhero for all Seasons”, Flash Bomba stars Luis Manzano as the famed crime fighter who loves the spotlight, hence the Superhero for all seasons tag (plus the fact that Luis is the son of the Star for all Seasons, and now the elected Batangas Governor, Vilma Santos-Recto). Flash Bomba is the last of the Ravelo superheroes which comprises the much anticipated Isang Lakas super team, due this 2009 on Primetime Bida.

Flash Bomba is likened to Batman, the enigmatic Dark Knight of DC Comics, for both their origins are the same. Both their past are marked by a death which gave them the drive and will to make a difference in the world. Although Flash Bomba’s origin is folkloric, a given among Asian superheroes, the journey each took to be the superhero the world expects are similar.

Comedy is a staple of the Komiks brand so expect a lot of humorous encounters and situations in which Flash Bomba will find himself in. The once thought dead pinoy superhero genre has now pulled itself out of the grave and found the strength to again fly and this time invade our TV screens. Flash Bomba will be aired in February although the exact date is yet to be announced. Looks like the men and women in tights and capes are here to stay!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

People Will Die

Labeled as The Superhero Crossover Event of 2009, Isang Lakas has been said to follow how the western comic books are structured. “When Marvel or DC do their crossover events, they have these set of unwritten rules that they follow…what we’re gonna do is take those rules and apply them to Isang Lakas” says Phillip King, one of the series’ writers.

So what are the rules of a big superhero crossover event? “People will die. Casualty will be everywhere, even on the side of the superheroes. Some characters will die and not even make it towards the middle of the series, others naman won’t make it out alive.” hints Phillip. So we initially asked why pack in so much body count? “We the creative team kasi regards this crossover as a kind of A Step In Evolution this is were only the strong survives. Kailangan pagdaanan ito ng mga characters kasi they need to grow. We’re also doing this to capture the human side of the superheroes. We are going to put them to one hell of an emotional wringer. People will die, people will suffer and they will be changed by the time this is over.

Aside from deaths what are the other rules of a superhero crossover? “There should be a big change in the status quo of the world, I mean yung world where the superheroes live in. Ni-label namin to as an EVENT, para namang there is no point na we would put the characters through hell if in the end the world goes back to normal.” We had to ask, so what will be the change in the end of Isang Lakas? “That would be fishing…hahaha. What I can tell you is by the end of the series, Isang Lakas would usher in a new era.” teases Phillip.

Nasanay na kasi tayo na sa mga TV shows or sa mga kwento sa komiks tungkol sa mga superheroes, na after matalo ng superhero ang supervillain everything goes back to normal, mamumuhay ulit sila ng mapayapa. We’re changing that, paano kapag natalo mo nga ang kalaban pero everything around you is different na, di ba mas interesting yun?” adds Phillip. “Hindi lang sa superheroes, pati sa mga supporting cast nila, we will push everyone to their absolute limit, with some even paying the ultimate price. Kasi what would really challenge the superheroes is to bring them to the next level in terms of emotional complexity pati yung sheer kickass nature nila.

Isang Lakas seems to be a different brew of a superhero story, the concept of good versus evil is still there but new ingredients are added which makes the entire thing so much more enticing and interesting. Phillip King said that Isang Lakas is “A Step in Evolution” to move things forward. This concept and structure is new and looks exciting. Isang Lakas is shaping up to be one heck of a roller coaster ride. “We’ll try and do our best, we are working really hard to give audiences something they deserve, a good show to watch on TV. One of our goals here is to tell a truly Pinoy Superhero Story, not a western concept dressed up to be a Filipino TV series. That is why we decided to bring pinoy superheroes back to their roots. We examined what made superheroes popular back then? Then when we got those concepts and had the story, we injected it with a 21st century pacing and structure. Sana the audiences supports this because this is really for them. Isang Lakas po tayo.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Get ready for the dark side. The two creative teams responsible for Lastikman, Kapitan Boom, Varga, Tiny Tony, Dragonna, and the upcoming Flash Bomba will team up bringing you “Isang Lakas.”

We’ve been thinking about putting all the Mars Ravelo’s superheroes that ABS-CBN has into a team since early 2007,” says Komik’s writer Ays De Guzman “Ang tagline namin as we do the story is, Isa para sa Lahat, Lahat para sa Isa. So this is really a teamwork type of story…it’ll be interesting kasi to see these different types of characters tapos hahatakin mo silang lahat and make them into a team. Panigurado may mga magka-clash dyan, mag-aaway, maiin-love…maganda yung mix and there’s a lot we can do about it.”

The series is planned to be released during the 1st quarter of 2009. Old becomes new again in Isang Lakas as a new threat arises from the old. “For this series there will be a new threat that the team will face…kasi as the western type of supervillains rose from their individual adventures or series, tulad nila Agaddon from Lastikman, who is an alien, Hector in Kapitan Boom, who is this corporate villain much like Lex Luthor, may mga nahimbing or nakalimutan na na mga kalaban ang mga pinoy superheroes…as they faced Agaddon, Hector and others, the superheroes essentially thought na wala ng threat that could come from these Forgotten Foes. But of course they were wrong.” Ays said.

So the next question will be who are these so called Forgotten Foes? “Well if you guys have seen the old Pinoy Superhero Movies, you’ll know who and what they are.” Ays teases. Isang Lakas is said to be going back to the root of Pinoy Superhero Mythology. Much of today’s pinoy superhero stories have been influenced one way or another by their western counter parts. Whilce Portacio (co-founder of Image Comics) has said that there isn’t much Real True Filipino Stories in pinoy comic books these days. Granted that Isang Lakas is not a comic book but the effort to be truly pinoy is one of the team’s goals. “Folklore is a big factor in our culture, which is also true in every country in Asia. That’s the difference we have from the west, so we’re taking a big scoop of that and adding it to the series” Ays said.

Isang Lakas is not a comic book, but we are treating it like one. The individual adventures of the superheroes like Lastikman, Dragonna etc, those are their One Shot Graphic Novels and Isang Lakas is basically a big Crossover Event, so this means yung Episodic theme medyo mapapalitan ng Arcs. The episodic theme kasi tends to be repetitive, kaya we’ll be doing the arcs. Halimbawa, this story arc plot leads to this next arc which leads to the next hanggang sa marating yung big story.” Ays adds. The structure is what the western comic book publishers are now doing. For example in Marvel, their crossover event Civil War led to the next event which is Secret Invasion which again led to the next event in 2009, Dark Reign.

Isang Lakas will be the first superhero team and the fourth superhero crossover event that ABS-CBN has done. The first crossover event was in Krystala, second was in Super Inggo, third was in Super Inggo 1.5 Ang Bagong Bangis and now Isang Lakas. For his parting words Ays said “Isang Lakas is for the fans who have always been there for us…we are working very hard for them to enjoy this one so sana abangan ito at suportahan. Please talk about Isang Lakas in your blogs, forums, messages, everywhere. We need you help. Isa para sa Lahat, Lahat para sa Isa.