Mythspace Monday: The Aliens of Mythspace

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 15 - 2012

For the next three Mondays of October, I’ll be talking about my newest comic book project, “Mythspace: Liftoff”. The #0 issue will be available at the Komikon on Oct.27.

The first Mysthspace Monday was a look into the concept behind Mythspace, and today we go a little into the world building.

I wanted to take some time here to talk about how we re-imagined some of the classic Philippine folklore monsters for the science fiction setting of Mythspace.It also gives me the opportunity to show off some art from Team Mythspace — not that I ever need much of an excuse to do that.

A Kapre and a Human. Art by Koi Carreon.

The Kapre:

“He is as tall as the tree beside which he stands…

His skin is rough, dark, and hairy…

He appears under a new moon and a soft shower.

He smokes a big cigar that doesn’t grow shorter.”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

In Mythspace, the Kapre are the ultimate commandos, equipped with stealth technology and the ability to safely inhale toxins, which helps them minimize the smoke emissions of their projectile weapons. The Kapres are few in number after their home planet was destroyed, but it is known that there is a sizeable contingent on Earth, watching humanity as it sleeps.

Nuno Concept Art by Paul Quiroga

The Nuno:

“The Tagalogs call him matanda sa punso and nuno.

Matanda sa punso means ‘old man of the anthill.’

Nuno means ‘grandfather’ or ‘old man’…

His shirt and pants are red, and he wears a salakot…”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

The Mythspace Nuno stem from a combination of the traits of the traditional Nuno and the Dwende. The Nuno are divided not along racial lines, but along political lines, with factions permanently tinting their skins to symbolize their affiliations. The most important object for a Nuno is his or her “Helm”, which symbolizes that they are worthy of piloting a personal mobile suit, usually called a Bungis.

Early Bungis design, with Nuno pilot to scale, by Paul Quiroga

The Bungis:

“The lives deep in a dark forest.

He looks like a big man but with one eye.

A long tusk sticks out of each side of his mouth.

His name means he is always smirking.”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

It’s easy to see why the Bungis-class mecha of the Nuno were mistaken for one-eyed giants by our ancestors. While coming in a variety of designs, most feature a prominent glass cockpit for the Nuno occupant, and from a distance it does appear to be a gigantic eye. Most humans who found themselves close enough to a Bungis to verify their first impressions did not live to disseminate that information.

Young Tan’gal heroine, early design, by Borg Sinaban

A fully mature “Sixth”, from “An Unfurling of Wings”. Art by Borg Sinaban.

The Tan’gal:

“She is called manananggal by the Tagalogs.

Her name means that she can drop off part of her body.

Her name comes from the Malay word tanggal, ‘to drop off’…

She flies with her arms which she turns into wings.”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

Mythspace’s version of the “manananggal” combines the characteristics of the different self-segmenters in our folklore (the part of the woman-monster which grows wings and flies varies–in some reports, for instance, it’s just the head and spine) into a single entity characterized by an incredible healing factor and a mysterious symbiotic relationship with winged creatures that live within them. The Tan’gal go through distinct phases of maturity, and there is a great difference between a Tan’gal in his or her second decade, and one in his or her fifth.

 

One Response to “Mythspace Monday: The Aliens of Mythspace”

  1. [...] in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There’s also a bit of information on the aliens we will meet in the issues. My favorites are the Kapre and the Manananggal – somehow, these versions are [...]

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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