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Super Manila 2023 Recap: The Philippine Comic Community Gathers Again Post-Pandemic for a Long Awaited Reunion

It has been over three years since the very first SuperManila convention happened over at The Podium back in 2019 – and it showed a diversity of both international and local talent that had a lot to give and share to the ever growing and popular comic book industry.

As a comic book reader myself, it was a huge and ambitious venture – fueled by passion, dedication, and the hard work brought on by the people behind so many of our favorite comic book stores and shops that are scattered across Metro Manila and that provide us with that spark of inspiration necessary to transport us to different worlds and ideas limited only by our minds and pure imagination.

Held at Ayala Malls Circuit Makati from December 15 to 17, the return of Super Manila comes from the very talented minds behind the businesses providing our regular needs and merchandise related to the comic book world.

As a collaboration between Comic Odyssey, Filbar’s, Next Comics Art, and other partners and sponsors, this was a gathering made for those with a passion and keen interest in comics – and the guests that attended the convention were powerhouses from the local and international scene!

Highlighting the international line-up was Marvel Editor-In-Chief himself C.B. Cebulski – who hasn’t visited the Philippines for over half a decade and returns just in time when things are opening once more and new talent is being sought after to bring the next generation of Marvel Comics writers and artists into the scene.

There’s also well known Pinoy superstar artist Whilce Portacio – a powerful presence who made his name drawing Uncanny X-Men and co-creating the character Bishop as well as being a co-founder of Image Comics in the 90’s with Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, and Rob Liefeld.

For the past few years before the pandemic, Whilce has been a constant presence who has tirelessly helped to bring attention to the comic scene and giving back to the community of fans in the Philippines. He was present in the first Super Manila as well, and he always looks for a chance to attend conventions back in his home country and bring some other guests along to visit and meet fans here as well.

Among the other international guests were Alex Sinclair, Agnes Garbowska, Ryan Benjamin, and even the legendary Mike Zeck – whose work in titles such as Marvel’s Secret Wars, Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt, The Punisher, Captain America, and even Batman: Ten Nights of the Beast remain seminal and inspirational works in the comic book industry.

There were also visitors from neighboring Asia territories, including Voltes V creator Akihiro Kanayama and Gundam creator Hidetoshi Omori, as well as artists like Alan Quah.

Local talent pool also included the likes of Leinil Yu, Carlo Pangulayan, Stephen Segovia, Miguel Mercado, Harvey M. Tolibao, Omi Remalante Jr., Elmer Santos, and Saowee. There was also celebrated Trese creators Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldismo, who had an astounding line of fans who had their collections signed and even cosplayed as the characters Alexandra Trese and the twins!

Literally there was so much to take in and there were plenty of other events happening as the holiday season remains in full swing, but Super Manila’s return in 2023 showed that the comic book community remains ever popular as the industry continues to grow and showcase top talent rising to provide more content and expression of one’s passion and artwork.

I can’t wait to see what happens next, and hopefully we see another iteration of this come 2024 and beyond!