Comic book creators can’t help but put something of themselves into their stories. The legendary Jack KIrby sometimes drew himself into his stories, such as the early face of Reed Richards; what’s more, he often said that his character Ben Grimm, The Thing, was the embodiment of Jack himself. And he famously named Susan Storm after his daughter Susan and Benjamin after his own father. It’s more rare, however, for comics writers/artists to create, write, and draw superheroes named after themselves and based on their own lives and likenesses.
Yet that’s exactly what Jinky Coronado has done with BANZAI GIRL, her series of adventures now collected into the BANZAI GIRL: SCANDALOUS SCHOOLGIRL Boxed Set now available on Kickstarter. Jinky began working on BANZAI GIRL while she still lived in the Philippines. “I was in these Glass House Graphics ‘Creating Comics Seminars’ surrounded by Bong Dazo and Stephen Segovia and Wilson Tortosa and all these other guys drawing powerful superheroes and fantasy characters,” Jinky explains. “Although I’d read native Filipino comics my whole life, I wasn’t relating yet to the super-heroes of American comics. That’s when my instructor David Campiti suggested I write and draw what I know.”
She began writing about herself and her friends at school, and about her family, drawing authentic backgrounds in the Philippines. When Jinky began sketching an Aswang, a frightening Filipino monster of myth, it all came together.
“Instead of a mildly funny slice-of life-story, it became about me as Banzai GIrl battling native monsters of myth. Nobody else was doing that, bringing our monsters and culture into a fantasy superhero comic, particularly for the American market.”
Once Jinky moved to the USA, she shopped and quickly sold BANZAI GIRL. She sold her first story arc to Sirius, which released five issues, a trade paperback, and a sketchbook. The tale focused on her self-named character coming of age, battling a sinister snakeman, a haunted tree, a Manananggal, and even aliens — all the while wearing a skimpy schoolgirl uniform in anime` fashion.
JInky’s second story arc went to Arcana, where her art style matured as her characters released an album, traveled the world as pop stars, and her inventor father was revealed to work for a character known as The Overseer deep in the Filipino government. Jinky even got to fight a giant robot even as a person story unfolded where her Dad in the series marries her best friend’s Mom.
“That didn’t happen in real life,” Jinky says, laughing. “The characters are a weird mix of real-life and make-believe. My sister Michelle is my friend in the comic; the character who becomes my step-mom in the comic is entirely made up; my cousins and friends in real life made it into the comic somewhere. And Michelle and I really did have a music CD come out.”
Through the hundreds of pages of adventures, Jinky and the other characters get older, graduate college, become pop stars and entrepreneurs, and fight on against creatures and injustices.
Some readers were surprised that Jinky is really a female artist given her penchant for drawing such sexy characters, in a style that grew to resemble J. Scott Campbell, Al Rio, and Dean Yeagle’s work. But seeing her in the schoolgirl uniform at conventions, posing for photos and doing sketches for fans, showed truth was stranger than fiction — or just as true, at any rate.
“I won a dozen beauty pageants back in Iloilo, Philippines,” Jinky recalls. “I was a Miss Pond’s Asia promoting their cream and soaps. I went on to be a lingerie model in calendars and appeared in FHM Magazine, so I knew what the guys buying comics would like to see.”
What you likely want to see is Alpha Comics’s BANZAI GIRL: SCANDALOUS SCHOOLGIRL Boxed Set, featuring both her softcover BANZAI GIRL Graphic Novels — Volume 1 “By Dreams Betrayed” and Volume 2 “Fifty Shades of Prey — as well as an all-new full-color SCANDALOUS SKETCHBOOK of her newest works and an autographed collectible photo card of JInky in costume as Banzai Girl herself.
“It’s over two decades of my BANZAI GIRL in this boxed set,” says Jinky. “working with co-artists Wilson Tortosa and Larry Tuazon. I think fans of sexy anime, Good Girl Art, and fantasy adventure will love it — and Filipinos who want to see their culture in American comics will appreciate it, as well.”
What’s more, Jinky is creating custom art commissions for her fans, something available only through her Kickstarters.
You can find the BANZAI GIRL: SCANDALOUS SCHOOLGIRL Boxed Set on Kickstarter at this link —