"Let the soothing waves set you free."
Like Vex, Sirena was inspired by Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment, 2016), though her original iteration appeared in a plethora of random game and short story ideas I had. I wanted to create a Filipino-American who was badass in her own way without letting anyone keep her down.
Sirena's Overwatch iteration. (heckinbear, 2019)
Sirena, fully colored. (xeneriis, 2019)
Eleonor's life would've been over, if not for the miraculous touch of Mercy, who extracted bullets that left her paralyzed. A bullet now hangs around her neck, as a reminder of the day she lost her family — and the day she vowed she would one day return the favor to that young doctor.
Now at the age of 22, Eleonor Santos Aquino, callsign: Sirena, has been outfitted with amplifiers, allowing her powerful voice to be heard across long distances. Overwatch leaders vowed that they would engineer new legs for her, but she refused the treatment — she wasn't powerless without her legs, and she wanted to rise up and prove that.
Sirena harnesses the power of water to help her allies and deny her enemies any respite. Her sweet, soothing voice distracts and causes the watery demise of even the most strong-willed of soldiers, and, with a slight pitch change, calms and heals allies around her.
Concept sketches for Sirena in a modern universe. (rua, 2019)
More concept sketches for Sirena in a modern universe. (rua, 2019)
My very first iteration of Eleonor wasn't a Filipino-American at all but a German superhero named Leo Schäffer. However, as time went on, inspiration struck me, and I ended up combining two distinct personas — Leo Schäffer, the hot-headed superhero, and Eleonor Aquino, a gentle healer — into a single character.
One of Eleonor's recognizable traits is her use of a wheelchair. As a Filipino-American with many family members who work in the medical field, I knew I wanted to create a character who could illustrate some of the incredible work that health workers do.
I also learned that doctors with disabilities are often distrusted by their patients, as the patients don't believe that those doctors possess the abilities to help anyone, let alone themselves. Eleonor chooses to take her wheelchair and turn it into a part of her heroic image, as I imagine her sitting on the water she uses or floating around with the water supporting her legs. I hope that my depiction of Eleonor illustrates a small slice of those issues.
I had a lot of fun writing Eleonor, as I injected many of my — and my family's — personal experiences into hers. Eleonor is a short med school student and Bay Area local who loves singing and is an absolute diehard fan of the Golden State Warriors — what could capture the Filipino-American experience better than that?
My original sketch of Sirena. (2017)
My initial sketch for Eleonor's "pedestrian" form. (2017)
Eleonor strives to become a healing voice, guiding light, and wave of justice for those in need, just like her mentor, Mercy, did for her. Whether she dons her heroic outfit or a doctor's coat, Sirena will be there to protect those in need.
Check out a wholesome one-shot featuring Sirena and her girlfriend here!