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Comic Book / The Mythology Class

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Never take things for granted.
Never ignore what is obvious.
For just when you least expect it... engkantos will always have a way of surprising you.''

The Mythology Class is a late 1990s–early 2000s Philippine comic by artist Arnold Arre. The series, now complete, chronicles the adventures of a group of university students when they answer the calling of the old gods.

In 2020, Arnold Arre finally followed it up with a sequel, The Children of Bathala, which reunites the class years later.

See also Arnold Arre's other novel, After Eden.

The Mythology Class provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Western names and their derivatives for the students (Nicole, Gio, Sam, Rey, Misha, Gina, Lane, Angie, Edward, Lisa, and an actual Bob), vs. indigenous or Asian names for the mentors and heroes (Datimbang, Kubin, Sulayman, Aili (?), Tala, Lam-ang). Even Datimbang herself goes as "Mrs Enkanta" knowing that her students are used to Westernised names. (Lusyo the tikbalang is a sort of intermediate case, as he has a Hispanic name rendered in Tagalog spelling.)
  • Afro Asskicker: Lam-ang. He's not a black African/-American, but the closest Philippine equivalent—part of the Aeta ethnic group, who are darker than the average (brown, relatively unmixed) Filipino, and have curly hair. He valiantly slices through a bunch of aswangs when they're accidentally released, before they overwhelm him through sheer numbers.
  • The Alleged Car: Sam's Jalopy. Gio describes it best: "It does look like crap on wheels."
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The aswangs—bloodthirsty demons hellbent on making as many Human Sacrifices as possible to appease Sitan, their God of Evil.
  • Arc Words: Spoken by Nicole's grandfather.
    Grampa: "Just when you least expect it … engkantos will always have a way of surprising you."
  • Badass Biker: Lisa. She sees a lot of action on her bike.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rey and Misha. More romantic than sexual per se, but certainly very belligerent at times.
  • Big Bad: The Master Aswang.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Averted with Kubin Ibalon, plus a few other characters. This appears more to be a consequence of Arnold Arre's drawing style than a conscious decision to identify heroes or villains, although Sitan has snakelike pupils.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Lisa.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Gio's feelings for Angie. A magical fruit from the tree of Pedro Penduko forces him to spill the beans—as it does to Angie, who however confesses to something else. (Neither seem aware of this however when the fruit's effects wear off.)
    Gio: I love you!
    Angie: I bite my toenails!
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "Kneeling Aswang" drawing. Nicole initially wonders if it was a mistake that its indigenous/precolonial artist used river symbols for the aswang's body. Later she realises it was intentional—the drawing was a map, the body and limbs actually represent the Pasig and San Juan Rivers, and the head gives away the location of the aswang temple—beneath the Plaza of the Gods, in Makati.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Even if by accident, Misha's "sickness" (i.e., her tendency to forget or leave behind the engkanto jars). One of the jars she misses ends up capturing the Master Aswang when he pokes around inside it out of curiosity.
  • Cool Car: In a huge contrast to Sam's dilapidated Jalopy, the new Stallion Cedan 959, with its streamlined shape and bulletproof windows. It was on display at the Plaza of the Gods atrium until the class use it to fight off the aswangs (especially since they got to Jalopy first).
  • Cool Sword: Lam-ang's kampilan (a Philippine sword with a blade and a hilt both shaped like a dragon's mouth). Also Kubin's kris (a Philippine/Malaysian wavy sword, the symbol of which also forms a motif on the Mythology Class's invitationals).
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Sam's Jalopy (commandeered by a gang of aswangs) collides with a tanker truck (also hijacked by aswangs). The two explode in an enormous fireball.
  • Extranormal Institute: The University of the Philippines, where the main cast study, becomes this, in a way, at least where the titular "mythology class" is concerned.
  • Fairy Sexy: Tala, the celestial sprite who introduces the student characters to the titular class, depicted as a luminous nude humanoid (albeit with Barbie Doll Anatomy).
  • Fish People: A syokoy with long scaly limbs and large fishy eyes makes an appearance in a river. Looks much more fishlike than humanoid, however.
  • Glamour Failure: Nicole's adopted dog starts howling during a sunset—because he's actually an aswang. All the other aswangs exhibit the same behaviour.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The music equipment that the A.U.C. team (Angie, Edward and Bob) devise to play back the "Dance of the Diwatas" song does its job so well of lulling one kapre to sleep, it ends up attracting the kapre's entire family … and the class thought they only had to deal with one. More comically, the music—meant to "charm the savage beast", per the cliché—ends up lulling all the boys to sleep as well. Even Sulayman.
  • Gratuitous Tagalog: Only one character speaks in Tagalog with any regularity. (Sometimes he veers into Taglish though.)
  • Human Sacrifice: The class very nearly became this for Sitan—tied up to stakes awaiting his waking—but they're saved thanks to supernatural intervention from some of the team left at Gina's house (including Gina, Mrs Enkanta, Edward, Aili and Nuno).
  • Indian Burial Ground: The Plaza of the Gods was built over the aswangs' old temple, which makes it very easy for them to mount a counteroffensive by terrorising the mallgoing populace overhead—and to capture the members of the Mythology Class, when they visit it to celebrate the completion of their quests.
  • Insistent Terminology: The aswangs refer to guns as hammers.
  • Karmic Death: The dog demon that got away from Kubin's attack is thrown into a truck headed for an asusena shop—i.e., an eatery that serves dog meat. Plus, the guys who pick him up also find the magic sword capable of killing demons like him.note 
  • The Mall: The Plaza of the Gods. It plays a huge role in the graphic novel mainly for being built, Indian Burial Ground-style, over the aswangs' old temple, and is marked as such on the "Kneeling Aswang" drawing. The latter chapters of the comic involve a tour and shopping spree through the mall as the class' gift to their mentors—which then culminates in the aswangs kidnapping them, at which point the climactic conflict shifts into high gear.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lane the telepath when she gets into her dance costume to appease the giant kapres. Nicole also gets a Shower Scene complete with Censor Steam. Then there's Tala, who's seen mostly as a nude (if relatively featureless) humanoid.
  • Philippine Mythology: A deep in-depth exploration of the mythos.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Most of the ancient jars simply contain mythical creatures and spirits with no ill intentions, and the class' job is to hunt them all down and return them to their jars—think Ghostbusters, in most cases. (Though a number of them can still be quite unpleasant—one scared the shit out of Misha and attempted to bite her until Sulayman returned it to a jar.)
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The largest vessel, however, contains the evil aswangs. It functions sort of like a Philippine Pandora's Box; it's box-shaped, with a curiously shaped lid with a sculpture depicting two figures in a boat—the "ferryman of death and his passenger" motif, like in the Real Life Manunggul Jar. It induces enough psychological havoc and Greed that the mall-owner Mr Quantos is Driven to Suicide over it and the El Diablo gang pursue Lam-ang over it, accidentally releasing the aswangs when they shoot at it. It's their release that sparks most of the conflict of the story.
  • Spiritual Successor: In some ways the "Spiritual Predecessor" to Trese, a later graphic novel series also featuring romps through a metropolitan Manila filled with mythical beings and creatures.
  • Shock Jock: Lance. He can be extremely offensive and insulting towards his callers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Pedro Penduko, a folk hero created by comic artist Francisco V. Coching and himself the star of several movies and TV shows since his inception. In this universe, Pedro Penduko is apparently real, and the class takes a trip to his forest sanctuary.
    • Also to action star Fernando Poe Jr (FPJ). One of his classic movies is showing in one scene where he cocks a pistol and shoots at what appear to be zombies—that's how the Master Aswang learns to use the "weird-looking hammer" he found on the El Diablo gang. (He accidentally shoots one of his own Mooks in the learning process.)
  • Urban Fantasy: Most episodic adventures take place in Metro Manila. A few scenes take place in the outskirts and surrounding provinces.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: In this case, saving the world actually counts towards the students' class units, hence it being called a class. (One wonders how Mrs Enkanta managed to get this approved with the university administration.) Nicole doesn't seem to balance her other classes that well though—in one scene she dozes off in one of her general-education subjects, with the rest of that class looking on disapprovingly.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Nicole notes that Misha does tend to attract engkantos—in part because she had something of a sceptical response to them in the beginning.