Seventeen-year-old Marisol Reyes is in need of a do-over. After getting kicked out of one too many schools for strange and unsettling behavior, Mari’s overbearing mother sends her to the Philippines for a fresh start. The promise of a normal life is dashed, however, when Mari attends her recently deceased Lola Talia’s wake. For it’s there she discovers a mysterious wooden mask that unlocks frightening visions…and terrifying abilities.
So begins The Mask of Haliya, where Mari must forge new allies and battle new foes, all while finding her place in a world on the brink of darkness.
Timed to Filipino American History Month, Kwento Comics, the trailblazing Filipino-American comic book publisher, is partnering with Clover Press for a Kickstarter campaign to publish a graphic novel inspired by Philippine mythology, THE MASK OF HALIYA: HEIR TO THE WARRIOR MOON. This 200-page deluxe hardcover is a young adult urban fantasy which follows the journey of a troubled Filipina-American teen who discovers a mysterious mask at her great-grandmother’s wake. The story is written and illustrated by an all-Asian, all-female creative team from around the world and the 200-page deluxe hardcover edition features a brand new cover by superstar comic book artist Haining (Spirit World, DC vs. Vampires: All Out War), and an optional slipcase.
Kwento Comics was founded by a mother and daughter team, Cecilia and Waverley Lim, who were inspired to create a solution to the lack of Asian American representation in media. Their goal in launching the company is to create lead Asian female characters on the page, while also highlighting the talented Asian women artists and writers in an industry that is heavily male-dominated.
“We realized that Asian – and specifically, Filipino – characters, roles, and mythology were not seen in film, television, or comic books,” said Kwento Comics Co-Founder Cecilia Lim, “We wanted to be part of the solution and create stories that introduce Filipino and other Asian mythos to a wider audience.”
“We knew that the creation of these characters starts with women who look like us, who can share our stories and shared experiences in an authentic way, and in doing so, highlight the wonderous world of Philippine and other Asian mythology in our graphic novels,” said Kwento Comics Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Waverley Lim.
THE MASK OF HALIYA: HEIR TO THE WARRIOR MOON is the first release from Kwento Comics and is intended to be the first in a series of books published by Clover Press. The book engages with topics like mental health, intergenerational trauma, and corruption, with a major emphasis on its female characters, through the lens of female creators. THE MASK OF HALIYA: HEIR TO THE WARRIOR MOON’s creative team is comprised of writer Kaitlyn Fajilan (Fruit Fly, Madeira), artist Renoida Renovilla (Creative Connections and Commons, Inc.), editor/art supervisor Jenapher Zheng (Oblivious, Borrowed Light), colorist Charlyn Duy, and co-founder/COO Waverley Lim (The Women’s Project).