Filipino creator behind Ned’s Lola comic book cover gets featured on AsianFeed

March 30, 2022 - 5:21 PM
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Comic covers from illustrator, animator Ben DeGuzman (Instagram/AsianFeed)

A Filipino artist was featured by a publication for Asian stories for his comic book covers about a Filipino character from “Spider-Man.”

AsianFeed, a publication for shared cultural experiences of millennial and Gen-Z Asians based in the United States, posted some of the artworks of illustrator and animator Ben DeGuzman on its Instagram page on March 25.

“An artist created comic covers starring Ned’s Lola from ‘Spider- Man’ and they’re hilarious,” AsianFeed said in the caption.

 

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DeGuzman’s comic covers titled “The Further Adventures of Ned’s Lola” starred the Filipino grandmother who briefly appeared in the latest “Spider-Man: No Way Home” movie. It premiered in the Philippines last January.

She’s the grandmother of Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Peter’s best friend in the movie. Jacob is also of Filipino descent in real life.

The word “lola” is the Filipino translation for “grandmother.”

The grandmother who was played by first-time actress Mary Rivera only made a brief appearance in the movie.

However, it immediately earned some buzz among Filipino fans who noted that she talked to Ned in Filipino language.

‘Into the Lola-verse’

The covers AsianFeed posted were DeGuzman’s recent works that he posted on his page on March 19.

Following the story arc of the latest “Spider-Man” franchise, De Guzman picked up on the “multiverse” concept or “Spider-verse” of “Spider-Man” and called it “Into the Lola-verse.”

The covers showed Ned’s lola meeting different versions of herself.

“Ok so I was dead wrong about not making any more ‘drops’ of these. I kinda had an idea to tie into ‘Into the Spiderverse; and these three covers came out of it,” the animator said on Instagram.

DeGuzman also cleverly described each version of Ned’s lola that he created.

His artworks, on the other hand, showcased different elements of modern and traditional Filipino culture such as the practices of “tsismis” or gossip as a pastime, throwing slippers or “tsinelas” and eating “lechon.”

Lechon is a pork dish that has become a staple food in Filipino festivals and celebrations over the years.

The comic covers themselves seemed to reference the design of Marvel’s comic series “The Amazing Spider-Man” that was released in 1963.

There is an animated film with the similar title as De Guzman’s viral comic covers. The film is called “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” that was released in 2018.

However, it was neither part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe nor the current Spider-Man franchise.

The animator

De Guzman’s imagined comic series went viral on social media last January amid the screening of the “Spider-Man” movie.

In an interview with PhilstarLife, the artist shared that he was inspired to create these pieces after seeing the grandmother in “No Way Home.”

“Knowing Jacob Batalon is a Filipino was already inspiring me to create art. I just assumed the movies would never even address that Ned’s nationality, or introduce anybody in his family,” DeGuzman was quoted as saying.

“Then came No Way Home to prove me wrong.  Immediately when I saw Ned’s Lola, I thought I absolutely have to draw her,” he added.

More ideas later came in for DeGuzman’s fan art where Ned’s lola met and fought off Spider-Man’s villains such as the Green Goblin, Carnage and the Vulture.

These artworks soon reached the actress Rivera herself.

“I still can’t believe that happened.  It made everything worth it,” De Guzman said.