The Mythology Class: Where Philippine Legends Become Reality TP
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Price: $18.99
Creator: Arnold Arre
Format: 368 pgs., B&W, 7" x 10", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8048-5542-6
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This is one of those books that helped shape a nation’s graphic novels, and should be read with that in mind. Arnold Arre’s artwork from 1999 was very good, but not necessarily the best that ever came out of the Philippines, and one reason for that is that in the “old days,” comic book artists from the Philippines came to the U.S. to work for Marvel or other publishers, rather than doing their own indy projects. This book was something of an inspirational breakthrough for indy comics in the Philippines. On the other hand, people don’t read Maus for its artwork…and the story is what carries this book, as well.

The Mythology Class, a compilation of four shorter books that form a complete story, is a quirky work about the past, present and future all blending together, as a group of wizards and heroes travel forward through time to combat a series of problems in each age they visit. In each time period, they recruit “locals” to help, and to become that time’s heroes. In the Philippines of the 20th century, they recruit a motley crew of young adults, who are working on their own lives in various ways.

The opposition ranges from dangerous monsters to creatures who were never more than a nuisance, but that just don’t belong out in the wild in modern times. As in most fantasy stories, though, things don’t go smoothly.

Several things are not explained, such as the way the art styles vary from character to character, or why one of the characters speaks only in Tagalog [and his words are never translated, a minor obstacle for those readers who don’t read Tagalog], while the others seem to all speak English, as do the ancient wizards and heroes for some reason…

While readable by teens, this one may attract adult readers more, and at least the bulk of the characters are probably in their 20s.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.