At the first-ever Supermanila Pop Culture Convention in the Philippines, Marvel TV fans launched a petition on behalf of Filipina superhero Wave. Marvel Comics introduced Wave in May 2019 in the first issue of War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1. In her short comics history, Wave has appeared alongside other Asian superheroes including Shang Chi and The Totally Awesome Hulk.
Wave was designed by comics writer Greg Pak and Filipino artist Leinil Francis Yu. Born Pearl Pangan, the hydrokinetic hero hails from Mactan Island in Cebu, Philippines and sports dual, single-edged water longswords, inspired by kampilan (a weapon that originated in the Philippines) along with gold armor. This July, Wave also appeared in the Aero book series, a character primarily known to Chinese comic book readers; however, his new book series was also released to English readers for the first time.
Last week, Filipino comic books fans gathered in Pasig City for the inaugural Supermanila Pop Culture Convention, which focused mainly on comic book culture. As part of the event, organizers spearheaded a fan campaign urging Marvel to create a solo TV series starring Wave. The popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has also increased the popularity of comic books in the Philippines, especially for Filipino comic writers and artists, according to ABS-CBN News.
After the most definitely not-critically-acclaimed Iron Fist series on Netflix, Marvel has been under pressure to create more diverse film and TV offerings for fans. Iron Fist was widely panned for insensitive portrayals of Asian culture and playing into the “white savior” archetype. More recently, Marvel has announced several high-profile projects starring Asian characters and actors. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is slated for a February 12, 2021 release date. That film stars Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu, while the upcoming Marvel film Eternals will co-star Pakistani-American comic Kumail Nanjiani.
So far, it’s unclear whether Filipino fans will get much traction on their campaign on behalf of Wave. Whether or not Marvel ultimately produces a solo TV series based on Wave, the petition is further proof that Marvel’s global audience is demanding more diversity in comic book adaptations. If Marvel gives the fans what they want, Wave would be the first Filipina superheroine to receive a major international TV series. So far, the Disney+ lineup of Marvel TV shows is focused on more familiar heroes such as the Falcon and the Scarlet Witch.