Filipino Komiks Illustrators

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The Philippines was once one of the world's largest industries of komiks magazines. One of the leading factors in the success of Philippine komiks was the invaluable contribution of talented Filipino artists who illustrated the komiks pages. Their beautiful and highly artistic artworks elevated the komiks from just being a cheap novelty reading material to becoming an almost "National book" status with large following

There were many talented illustrators in the Philippines, beginning with Francisco V. Coching, Nestor Redondo, and Alfredo Alcala. Their art defined the Filipino komiks art of those successful years. Their art breathed dynamic life to the fiction works of equally talented komiks writers.


Filipino Illustrators in the U.S.

In the early 1970s, American publishers began to take notice of the vast talent of Filipino illustrators. The DC Publisher Carmine Infantino and editor Joe Orlando visited the Philippines in 1972 to recruit Filipino illustrators. The two Americans were stunned to discover that a rich komiks industry was existing in a faraway pacific islands. They also found that Filipinos are as equally talented as their own artists in the States, and that the Filipinos were much faster in drawing without compromising the quality of the drawings. Alfredo Alcala, for instance, can finish 16 pages of highly detailed comic pages in one week, while an American artist can only draw four.

The arrival of American recruiters could not have been at a more opportune time. The declaration of Martial Law and the uneasy economy forced the publishers to cut down on expenses. They were forced to use the cheapest paper in printing comics, resulting in very cheap-looking komiks magazines. Many artists felt that it was not a good time to be creating komiks anymore. Coching and Velasquez as well as a few others decided to retire. They left a void that was not easy to replace

The younger illustrators took the opportunity to work abroad, recruited by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Thus, many talented illustrators went to the U.S. to continue their job there. These artists included Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Tony Zuniga, Alex Nino, and many others. Their art captured the attention of American comic book readers and many gained fans. Truly their skills and talents can compete with even the best American illustrators.

Up to now, many Filipinos still work in many American publishing houses as illsutrators. Many of them work as illustrators, pencillers, inkers, story-board artists, and lay-out artists.

Meanwhile back in the Philippines, the lifting of Martial Law in 1981 somewhat eased down a bit the censorship and there was a resurgence of interest in komiks. The 1980s saw a komiks boom such as had never before. Many writers and illustrators drove the industry to its recap of glorious years. This was hort-lived, however, as changes in economy once again affected the industry.

The arrival of other forms of media like the telenovelas, cellphones, and ultimately the internet had put a decline in mass readership of komiks, until finally no one reads komiks anymore, and the publishing houses put a stop to their komiks publications.

Some illustrators contented themselves to continue drawing to the remaining magazines that still run komiks, like the Liwayway. But the financial benefit was not enough to feed their families. Other illustrators were forced to go abroad to work as security guards, hotel employees, restaurant waiters. Some were fortunate enough to land jobs in animation studios in America, where they made names as talented and no-nonsense artists, not to mention the lowest paid.

The Filipino artists in general had created a name for themselves not only among local komiks but international as well. The Filipino's great contributions to comics and animation art can hardly be exaggerated. If one collects DC and Marvel comics like Batman, Superman, X-Men, or Tarzan, there is a very likely possibility that a Filipino artist illustrated it. Or if one watches animation films of Disney or Pixar, then one can easily spot Filipino names in the credit during the ending of the film.


  • "The Filipino Invasion" Comic Book Artist Vol.1 #4, 2005, USA
  • "The Philippine Comics Review" 1980, Manila Philippines


  • Alanguilan, Gerry "The Philippine Komiks Art Museum" [[1]]
  • Villegas, Dennis "The Beginnings of the Philippine Komiks industry" [[2]]
  • Valiente, Randy "May estilo nga ba ang mga Pilipino?" [[3]]

External links



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