Alfredo Alcala

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Alfredo P. Alcala (August 23, 1925 - April 8, 2000) was a Filipino comic book artist, born in Talisay, Negros Occidental in the Philippines. He was considered one of the top komiks illustrators in the Philippines from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. His work is characterized by intricate rendering and superb brushstrokes.


Alfredo was born with a creative interest in designing. He was hooked on comic books in his early childhood, and his interest continued throughout his life. He was so obsessed with art that he would start drawing pictures and begin posting them in his school's hallways. Alcala was so determined to pursue his career in art that he dropped out of school as a young teenager to do so. He started out doing various commercials and painting signs. Later, he began working in an ironworker's shop, designing household materials like lamps and furniture.

The biggest honor of his childhood came when he started drawing cartoons during the Japanese occupation in World War II. He acted as a spy for the American forces, without any intention of doing so. Alcala would give the leader of the American unit the pictures he drew, which would help them in the war.


Alcala admired many different comic book artists during his time. He was so inspired by Lou Fine's works that he started working in the world of comic books in October 1948, starting with an illustration in one of the local comic magazines called Bituin Komiks. At the end of the year, he would find himself doing many works for Ace Publications, which was then the biggest publishing company in the Philippines.

At that time, Ace Publications was the publisher of four comic books Pilipino Komiks, Tagalog Klasiks, Espesyal Komiks, and Hiwaga Komiks, each featuring some of Alfredo's work.

Working with the company helped him develop many opportunities and expand his career. He took the challenge and made a good living by doing so. Throughout his entire life, some thought that he had some help with many of his masterpieces. But in his own words Alcala said, "I somehow felt that the minute you let someone else have a hand in your work no matter what, it's not you anymore. It's like riding a bicycle built for two."


Alcala became one of the most sought-after illustrators in Philippine komiks. He was so famous that a comic magazine named after him was published, called the Alcala Komix Magazine. Alcala introduced himself to the comic universe when he created the comic book Voltar in 1963, which was a major success.

Alfredo won numerous awards and became sought-after worldwide, which led him to work for DC Comics in the early 1970s, doing horror and fantasy titles. He also helped in recruiting uprising Filipino artists. Being so exposed, Alcala received many commissions, which made him move to New York in 1976.

In the early 1980's, he moved on to take part in the art more suitable to his creative niche. Alcala went on to pencil popular comic books such as Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian. He also inked Don Newton's pencil artwork in Batman.

By the 1990's, his booming career and popularity led him to different projects including making animated drawings for films. Alcala also took part in the novel Daddy Cool, written by the late Donald Goines, which featured some of Alcala's artworks.

He also worked on the Swamp Thing for DC, which marked his return to the comics business. His contributions spanned on several artistic genres including superheroes, horror, and fantasy. On April 8, 2000, Alcala died of cancer in California, leaving his wife and a rich career which helped him earn a place in the art world's history books.


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