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'Badingger-Z' is all set to alter the course of Pinoy superhero comics

By Jerald Uy Published Feb 10, 2024 7:02 pm

Having secret identities is the common denominator of superheroes and some members of the LGBTQIA+ community. But for the purple spandex–clad Badingger-Z, he carries it with pride and turns the often-used slang into a symbol of empowerment.

"'Bading' can only be derogatory if people choose to use it in such a manner," Real Florido, the writer of the comic book Badingger-Z and the Accla Assassin, told PhilSTAR L!fe. "But because 'Badingger-Z' is such a click word and has a very easy recall, I think this can work as an advantage to get people familiarized with Badingger-Z and what he stands for as a superhero."

The superhero codename is a play on the word "bading" and the mecha anime Mazinger-Z. The comic book was loosely inspired by a college play with the same title written by Rommel Dela Cruz and Byron Barinuevo from Florido's university organization Magwayen Creative Scholar's Guild in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

"I adapted the concept and rewrote a whole new world and character design,” he shared.

Filmmaker Real Florido delves into comic book creation with the gay superhero, Badingger-Z

In the new version, the story revolves around Ading, a bullied teen who vowed to never return to his old military school. His fate changes when he stumbles upon a mysterious particle in the woods, transforming him into a rainbow-surfing superhuman with vast strength, Badingger-Z.

Florido plans to release one-shot stories focusing on one message he wants to communicate about being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. A proud gay man himself, Florido peppered the first story with gay lingo to spark conversations between straight and queer comic book readers.

"I'd like the readers to ask an LGBTQ+ friend, a gay colleague, or even a stranger to help translate the lines and explain its context," he explained. "This way, maybe Filipinos can have a better understanding of what LGBTQ+ people are going through, and who we are as human beings. We can be superheroes, too."

Badingger-Z and the Accla Assassin sold hundreds of copies at Komiket BGC.

The comicbook is in reality a creative product between a gay writer and a straight illustrator.

"In my opinion, in the field of art, everyone is welcome to express their feelings, emotions, talents, abilities, etc. it doesn’t matter what gender. That's how I see it,” said Alfred Ismael Galaroza, a Cebu-based illustrator who worked on the comic from September 2023 to January 2024, while juggling a full-time job.

Cebu-based artist Alfred Ismael Galaroza illustrated the first colorful adventure of Badingger-Z.

With additional art by a young multimedia artist from Davao, Jermaine Tulbo, the film production and distribution company CreaZion Studios then launched Badingger-Z and the Accla Assassin at Komiket BGC in January, selling out all 500 copies.

“We were so surprised that we got sold out during the 3-day pop-up Komiket in BGC. And currently, people are continuously getting copies from our online store,” Florido happily shared.

In the local TV and film circuit, Florido has been known as a director, having helmed 1st Ko Si 3rd, starring comedienne Nova Villa; and the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Kabisera, starring Nora Aunor. With CreaZion Studios, he now holds the role of executive vice president.

"Adapting it to the screen whether stage musical, animation, series, and movies is definitely an aspiration," he said.

But right now, Florido and his team are focusing on Komiket and on the release of its second issue on March 23-24 at Komiket Megamall.

For aspiring queer superhero comics writers who are hiding their fantastic stories in the closet, Florido had this to say: "Just keep your imaginations alive. Create. Be curious. Continuously ask questions, make sense of life. Write, draw, tell your stories in whatever way possible."

Badingger-Z and the Accla Assassin is available online, but the team will be joining the Komiket in Centris, Quezon City on Feb. 10 and 11. The second chapter will be available in print copies on March 23-24 at Komiket Megamall.