This Pinay-Written Queer Fantasy Komik Is Getting A Global Manga Release

Your next fantasy komik read.

Champion of the Rose by Cat Aquino is hitting the big leagues with a physical manga from a major publisher coming next year.

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When thinking about comics, the tendency is to gravitate towards the likes of Marvel and DC. However, the local komiks scene is brimming with talent and stories worth the read. The creativity on display from local creators is next level as they’ve built worlds, characters, and narratives that could be the setting of your next fave anime. The global potential is there, and in fact, one komik is about to go worldwide after striking a deal with one of the biggest manga publishers in the world.


A few days ago, Champion of the Rose, a komik written by Cat Aquino and illustrated by Dominique Duran, announced that it is going to be published into a four-volume physical manga by VIZ Media. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because VIZ Media is the English manga publisher being global smash hits such as Pokémon, Naruto, and Demon Slayer. Most of the major English-language mangas are distrusted by them. And now, Champion of the Rose is set to be the latest title to enter its vaunted list with a global physical release in the fall of 2024.

Champion of the Rose isn’t your typical Pinoy komik. It wears its influences on its sleeves as a feminist and anti-imperialist fantasy set in a reimagined Philippines during the Spanish colonial rule. The story centers on Princess Rosa of the Empire of Sagrada. One day, her father, the king, puts her hand in marriage as the prize for a contest he holds. Rosa is vehemently against the plan and decides to strike a deal with trans swordswoman Rey. Rey enters the competition to win Rosa’s own hand at marriage. If he is successful, Rosa will do everything in her power to bring him back to his homeland.


This queer Filipino fantasy on magic and revenge takes strong cues from Catholic imagery, which can be seen in its themes and stunning artwork and drawings from the Quezon City-based Duran. As for the story, Aquino, who identifies as pansexual, initially turned to Disney movies, Game of Thrones, and The Hunger Games as inspirations. However, as she got older, discovered her identity, and studied anti-colonial theory in college, she felt that she needed to switch things up.

Champion of the Rose Manga

“I realized my whole world was shaped by Western literature. So, being more exposed to third-world literature and Philippine literature really got me thinking, If I’m going to be a writer, I might as well write about where I’m coming from, instead of where other people are coming from,” shared the award-winning writer in an interview with Philstar Life.

This isn’t the first time Champion of the Rose made headlines. It once trended on Twitter and was featured at the Festival international du film d’animation d’Annecy, the world’s number-one animation festival, in 2021. But the komik’s publishing by VIZ Media is undoubtedly its biggest international recognition to date. And it feels even better knowing that it’s a unique komik that highlights underrepresented sectors of society as its leads. While waiting for the title’s publishing next year, you can read its prologue on Penlab for free.

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