Filipino touches behind some of Marvel’s favorite superheroes

Anthony Francisco with ‘Black Panther’ star DanaiGurira. PHOTOS FROM ANTHONY FRANCISCO’S INSTAGRAM
Manila Times

They say it’s the costume that makes a superhero. In the Know agrees but takes the conviction a step further to say what completes it is the artist and meaning behind the suit.


Case in point is Anthony Francisco, a senior Filipino-American Visual Development Artist from Marvel Studios. In The Know got to chat with this genius about his works for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was amazed!


Yes, Anthony dabbled in designs for the still showing blockbuster “Captain Marvel” that rightly puts the female in the world of superheroes.


He mostly worked on the “Starforce” characters but also a little bit on Captain Marvel in the early stages, and on the Kree uniform. He was also tasked to flesh out the design for the Supreme Intelligence (which emerged as the final approved design), contributed in figuring out the liquid technology and other elements of the communications tech, and illustrated some Keyframe Art that helped the directors visualize epic moments in the movie.


Anthony says it takes a very long process before designs get approved for a single movie. And if particular designs don’t get the go, they are still considered valuable in determining the final look of a superhero and are used to serve as pointers for upcoming artists from which to learn and understand.


“Sometimes people think it’s a bad thing [for a design to get rejected], but you know, it’s a big help for the director to even find out to not to go to that direction. You help narrow down design aesthetics and develop the final look,” he explained.


Anthony grew up in Cubao, Quezon City and believes that the artist in him was honed from his childhood.


His interest in drawing was sparked by his yaya’s comic books, whose characters inspired him to reach for a pencil and sketch away.


“Noongbataakosi ‘Zuma’ lagiangnasa drawing ko. Mahiligako kay Zuma kesa kay Darnakasinahirapanakosa female noon,” (When I was young, I always drew Zuma. I liked Zuma more than Darna [both Pinoy superheroes] because I found it hard to do a female that time), he happily recalled.


In college, Anthony took up Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas. Two decades ago, he joined his fami­ly when they were petitioned to the United States, and that was when his artistic career began to flourish.


“Early on, I’ve always loved art perohindikoalam na pwedesiyangmagingtrabaho,” he admitted.


Living the dream of comic fans to work with Marvel, Anthony is coming up to his seventh year at the company where his contributions are forever etched in MCU’s back-to-back blockbusters.


The Filipino-American artist was inspired by his aunt’s indigenous table runner for Dora Milaje’s neck accessory in ‘Black Panther.’

And yes, this means there are Filipino touches when Marvel comes to life on the big screen like the costume he did for Dora Milaje in “Black Panther.” Accor­ding to Anthony, he took inspiration from his aunt’s indigenous table runner back in the Philippines for the elaborate costume.


“Black Panther is from African culture so I got tribal ideas from around the world, and of course the Philippines. To add more drama to Dora Milaje’s look, I added a particular design around her neck, which was inspired by a beaded table runner of an aunt of mine. It’s almost like abaca and woven.”


Exposed to various indigenous textures here before his family migrated to the US, Francisco contributed to the final approved look of Groot ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’

Now that you know about Anthony who has extensive exposure to Philippine weaves, patterns and textures, his works may just stand out for Filipinos when they go back to past Marvel movies. Take a closer look at Loki in “Thor: Ragnarok” and Baby Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” and you’ll definitely say eureka!


Most excitingly, Anthony just finished working on “Avengers: Endgame,” which is showing on April 24, two days earlier in the Philippines. So keep a lookout for his art and his name in the credits and be proud of yet another Filipino achiever in the world! (The Manila Times)