If you love mythology and archeology, Sol Dalusung’s tale is definitely for you
Treasure hunts, legends, mythology, MacGuffins and a journey into the unknown. These are the things that filled the world of ’90s kids, and it’s all thanks to pop culture. Science fiction (science fiction) and fantasy were everywhere, from movies showing in theaters and comics currently released at the time to the virtual world with adventure games. Truly, imagination reigned supreme in the minds of young people before the age of social media and high tech. And if you grew up around this time, the “Indiana Jones” movies, the “Tomb Raider” video games and the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” novel series are certainly among your favorites. They’re action-packed and certainly have plenty of nods to historical literature and artifacts.
Filipino comic book creator Cams Cabezas, also known as Breezami, channels the same themes. In their upcoming graphic novel, “Sol Dalusung and the Nameless Hero”, the writer and illustrator pay homage to these classics with a special local twist, incorporating Filipino mythology, especially Kapampangan folklore.
The story centers on Soledad “Sol” Dalusung, an archaeologist who was once celebrated as a demigod. Over the years, the immortal has used her gifts for her research into the history of the Philippines. And as she tries to live a quiet life, her past world continues to disrupt her present peace. But apart from the fantasy that relies on the character, Sol advocates for a cause that goes beyond the pages of comics.
Giving a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes, Cams chats with Manila Lifestyle Bulletin as they reflect on their early days as a comic book creator, the origin of “Sol Dalusung and the Nameless Hero” and the importance of queer representation in Filipino comics.
What inspired you to make ‘Sol Dalusung and the Nameless Hero’?
One of the main inspirations that led to the creation of “Sol Dalusung” was my studies in archeology and art history at the university. I study in Canada, and in the first year, our teachers focused on the issues of Eurocentrism and under-representation in these areas, especially in Western countries. It made me want to make a character of Filipino archaeologist who goes on an adventure like Indiana Jones, or “‘a Lara Croft who knew how to say’tabi-tabi po. ‘â
People see influences from films / books such as Lara Croft, Percy Jackson and Achilles on the graphic novel. Was this one of your intentions as a creator?
Yes! I was not surprised by the Lara Croft and Percy Jackson associations, as they were indeed creative influences in Sol Dalusung. I had compared Sol to Achilles in a concept art I posted very early in development, but never mentioned the Greek hero afterwards. I’m surprised people caught or found this very old post!
Why is it important for you to include Filipino mythology, especially Kapampangan folklore, in the comics?
This is important to me mainly for personal reasons. Kapampangan mythology and folklore especially mean a lot to me because I wanted to learn more with my father, who is from Apalit. I have a memory of him talking about how he felt his language and culture was dying out, so including Kapampangan mythology in the comics became a way of revisiting my heritage. with my dad, hopefully, to inspire him as well. We aim to see more regional things represented in Pinoy Komiksso it’s also important to me that the comic contributes to that in some way.
Can you tell us about the main character, Sol? Why make a queer character an integral part of your work?
Sol is a very private person who keeps a lot of personal secrets, which will be the key to the story and mystery of the Cursed Artifact. Her secrets aside, however, Sol is happy to live among mortals, and she enjoys spending her time learning the ways of humans and supernatural beings in “demigod fieldwork.” Yes, Sol is queer! This is important to me as a queer Filipino creator whose favorite genres are sci-fi and fantasy. There is a position from some fantasy fans that says, “This is a fantasy story, what does a gay character have to do with all of this and why do people care so much?” In response, I like to create queer characters, whether or not it relates to the story just because âwhy not? I know firsthand how meaningful it can be to see an identity or experience like yours in a work of fiction that you love. So it’s something that I do for myself, and I hope what I’m doing resonates with a young Filipino reader somewhere out there as well.
What made you want to keep making comics?
I’ve always loved telling stories, and at one point I tried to get into prose writing. However, I didn’t have enough confidence in my skills. I happened to be really invested in drawing and illustration, so I turned to sequential art forms to tell my stories, like storyboard and comics. The creation of Penlab and some encouragement of collaborations convinced me to try to pursue comics more seriously, now that there was a local online platform where I could share them. And now that I’m doing Sol and planning to develop more fun projects with Kalabaw Kolektib, I don’t think I’m going to give up comics anytime soon.
Learn more about “Sol Dalusung and the Nameless Hero” here.
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