Francisco V. Coching

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Francisco V. Coching
Born January 29, 1919
Buting, Pasig
Died September 1, 1998
Parents Gregorio Coching
Juana Pandacan

To read this article in Filipino, please see this link.

Francisco V. Coching was a popular Filipino komiks illustrator who dominated Philippine komiks art in the 1950s. By general consensus, Coching is hailed as the Philippines's greatest illustrator.

Born in Buting, Pasig in 1919, Coching was well-known for his dynamic compositional technique, as well as beautiful line work. Some of his most famous works include El Indio, Barbaro, Gigolo, Waldas, Condenado, and Thor, to name a few. He was posthumously named as National Artist for Visual Arts in 2014.

Early life and career

A contemporary of National Artists Carlos (Botong) Francisco and Vicente Manansala, Francisco Reyes, Isaac Tolentino, and Tony Velasquez, Coching was born into the art. His father, Gregorio, was then one of the more prolific and better known vernacular novelists and as a young boy, Francisco used to go with his father to Liwayway Publications. It was there he got the rare opportunity of watching prominent illustrators at work. Among them was a pioneer in the illustrated medium, Francisco Reyes, the creator of Kulafu. Reyes was to have a tremendous influence on Coching.

It was in 1934, at the very tender age of 15, that Coching thought he was ready for the comics world. He created Bing Bigotilyo, a cartoon character that saw publication in Silahis magazine. The next year, he began Marabini, a serial about an amazon warrior drawn alluringly and involved in fast-paced action, which became an instant hit in Bahaghari magazine. The serial, however, was rudely interrupted by the outbreak of World War II.

Coching spent the war years as a guerrillero with the Kamagong Unit of the Hunters-ROTC resistance organization. It was his unit that conceived the clever idea of smuggling arms in coffins past Japanese checkpoints.

Peak years as illustrator

After the war, it was inevitable that Coching would return to his craft. It was surprising, however, that his first work was not about those danger-filled years - specifically the resistance movement of which he was part. What he produced was a character whose domain was the jungle - Hagibis, clearly inspired by Francisco Reyes's Kulafu and Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan. Hagibis ran for 15 years in Liwayway in 5 adventure-filled episodes, and was adapted into a motion picture.

Before Hagibis bowed out of the komiks scene, Coching was already into other serials, all in the action-adventure genre. Quite notable among them was Ang Barbaro, his first opus set against the background of Filipino rebellion against colonial Spain.

During his peak years, Coching was writing and drawing 3 weekly serials simultaneously.

Later years

Coching retired at the age of 54 in 1973, 39 years and 61 komiks novels later. All but 10 of those novels were filmed. Among the more memorable of his creations, aside from Hagibis and Barbaro, were El Indio, Bertong Balutan, Don Cobarde, Ang Kaluluwa ni Dante, Pagano, Haring Ulupong, Dumagit, Lapu-Lapu, Bulalakaw, Waldas, Talipandas, Thor, Harangan Man ng Sibat, Palasig, Movie Fan, Gat Sibasib, and Satur - mostly in the action-adventure genre spiced here and there with fantasy.

His last works included Dimasalang, Bella Bandida, El Vibora, Sa Ngalan ng Batas, and El Negro, his final novel which was published in 1974 and filmed in the same year.

Coching received the Makasining na Komiks Award in the Tanging Parangal for Comics Art from the Manila Commission of Arts and Culture in 1981.

In 1984, his peers honored him with the the Komiks Operation Brotherhood Inc. (KOMOPEB) Life Achievement Award. Illustrators like Noly Panaligan, Federico Javinal, Carlos Lemos, and Celso Trinidad learned the art from him. He influenced Emil Quizon-Cruz, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Emil Rodriguez, among countless others.

The Pasay City government gave him an Award of Excellence for his substantial contribution to the arts in 1998. In the same year, he died at the age of 79.

In 1999 and 2001, Francisco V. Coching was nominated as National Artist for the Visual Arts. On 20 June 2014, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III posthumously named Coching as National Artist for Visual Arts.

Exhibit and Book Launch

An exhibit and book launch entitled Telling Modern Time: The Life and Art of Botong Francisco and Francisco Coching was simultaneously held at the National Museum of the Filipino People on 11 December 2009. The exhibit, which features approximately 100 works by Coching and painter Carlos Botong Francisco, was curated by art scholar Patrick D. Flores, who also edited the books The Life and Art of Botong Francisco and The Life and Art of Francisco Coching.

List of works

  • "Satur." Pilipino Komiks. Manila: Ace Publications Inc., 1950.
  • "Palasig." Liwayway. Manila: Liwayway Publications, 1952
  • "El Indio." Pilipino Komiks, 32d. Manila: Ace Publications Inc., 1952-1953.
  • "Espada." Liwayway Komiks. Manila: Liwayway Publications, 31 March 1952.
  • "Dumagit." Pilipino Komiks. Manila: Ace Publications Inc., 1953-1954.
  • "Maldita." Pilipino Komiks. Manila: Ace Publications Inc., 1953-1954.
  • "Lapu-lapu." Pilipino Komiks. Manila: Ace Publications Inc., 1954.
  • "Waldas." Pilipino Komiks. Manila: Ace Publications Inc., 1954-1955.
  • "Gigolo." Pilipino Komiks, no. 217, 24 September 1955. Manila: Ace Publications Inc.
  • "Pulot-Gata." Pilipino Komiks, no. 248, 1 December 1956. Manila: Ace Publications Inc.
  • "Taga sa Bato." Espesyal Komiks, no. 110, 24 December 1956. Manila: Ace Publication Inc., 1957
  • "Laban sa Lahat." Liwayway. Manila: Liwayway Publications, 1958.
  • "Talipandas." Espesyal Komiks, no. 138, 20 January 1958. Manila: Ace Publication Inc.
  • "Berdugo." Pilipino Komiks, no. 307, 7 March 1959. Manila: Ace Publication Inc.
  • "Gumuhong Batayog." Pilipino Komiks, no. 340, 11 June 1960. Manila: Ace Publication Inc.
  • "Masikip ang Baigdig." Pilipino Komiks. Manila: Ace Publication Inc., 1961-1962.
  • "Mga Batikan." Liwayway Komiks. Manila: Liwayway Pub., 1964.
  • "La Sombra." Hiwaga Komiks. Manila: Ace Publications, 1965.
  • "Ang Limbas at ang Lawin." Hiwagang Komiks. Manila: Ace Publications, 1966.
  • "Dimasalang." Liwayway Komiks. Manila: Liwayway Pub., 1969.
  • "Panagupa." Liwayway. Manila: Liwayway Publications., 1969.
  • "El Vibora." Liwayway. Manila: Liwayway Publications, 1972.


  • Makasining na Komiks Award from Manila Commission of Arts and Culture, 1981
  • Life Achievement Award from Komiks Operation Brotherhood, Inc. (KOMOPEB), 1984
  • Award of Excellence from Pasay City governemnt, 1998
  • National Artist for Visual Arts, 2014
  • Gawad CCP Para Sa Sining Award, 2008


External links



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