Top 10 Greatest Cartoonists
Cartoonists are a rare breed even in the Philippines where cartooning is considered a unique art form. Cartoons can be a double-bladed sword: they can provoke laughter, or they can provide criticism.
Cartooning has a great tradition in the Philippines--beginning with Dr. Jose Rizal in 1886, when he created the "Monkey and Tortoise" cartoon in the back of Juan Luna's notebook. This tradition has been carried on by later masters who took the helm in providing funny and satirical drawings in the pages of the Tagalog magazines. Now is the time to honor them.
Our pool of editors put their heads together to come up with the Top 10 Greatest Cartoonists of All Time. Of course, we have come up with this list only after consulting the various musty publications stocked in the collection of our komiks editor Dennis Villegas.
We have tried hard to be impartial in making our list, and of course, it is purely an editorial choice. Yet we believe that we have made a very strong list that can be very hard to challenge. However, since this is Wikipilipinas, our readers can always put their own choices provided they have strong reasons for the change.
Here then are our choices for the All-Time Top 10 Pinoy Cartoonists:
- Tony Velasquez-deservedly called "The Father of Philippine Komiks", Velasquez created the funniest character in Philippine komiks, Kenkoy. Velasquez also started the komiks industry in the Philippines by establishing the first Tagalog komiks-magazines in 1947.
- Larry Alcala-His cartoons provide witty observations on philippine life and culture as can be seen through his "Slice of Life" cartoons. Alcala also mastered the comic strip with such masterpieces as "Asyong Aksaya" and Kalabog en Bosyo.
- Mars Ravelo-Ravelo started his career as a cartoonist and not as writer. Some of the memorable cartoon strips he created were Buhay Pilipino, Gorio at Tekla, and Rita Kasinghot.
- Fernando Amorsolo-not many people may know it, but Amorsolo moonlighted as a cartoonist in various Tagalog magazines like Telembang and Lipang Kalabaw, to complement his then meager income as painter and portrait artist.
- Jorge Pineda-Jorge is one of our unsung painters primarily because he was better know as a cartoonist. He designed the character of Juan dela Cruz, from the conception of R. McCulloch Dick. During the American occupation, Jorge was the leading Pinoy cartoonist, contributing to various publications like The Independent, The Free Press, Telembang, and Lipang Kalabaw.
- Jose Zabala-Santos-One of the pioneer cartoonists in the Philippines, Zabala-Santos was the unsung master of Philippine cartoons. His cartoon creations-like Popoy, Sianong Sano, and Lukas Malakas- made him one of the most popular cartoonists in the 1950s
- Francisco Reyes-the creator of Kulafu is second only to Tony Velasquez when it comes to making the Liwayway the most popular magazine in the Philippines. His Kulafu was made into a movie, and made into a popular wine that still bears its name.
- Liborio Gatbonton-the witty and hilarious Gat, as people called him, mastered the one-liners that are now very popular among cartoon masters. His cartoons usually appeared on the front page of komiks and Tagalog magazines, an indication that the publisher heeded the demand of readers to read Gat's cartoons first.
- E.Z. Izon-called "Easy" or "Izzy" Izon by his legions of fans, Izzy was the leading editorial cartoonist of the 1940s up the 1980s. His massive output of funny and satirical cartoons has been compiled in a large coffeetable book rightfully called "Cartoons of The Republic".
- Nonoy Marcelo- Ikabod Bubwit, the Juan dela Cruz of Dagalandia, was the most memorable creation of Marcelo, which means it's one of the most memorable Pinoy cartoons of all time. Nonoy's cartoons reflected the undergoing social and political crises of our times, as can be seen from the vantage point of the rats in Dagalandia.
Other notable Filipino komiks artists are Ben Alcantara, with his famous Goryo and his Jeepney (published in the Manila Times); Malang Santos on the defunct Manila Chronicles; and Elpidio Torres of Liwayway and Bulaklak magazines.
- Marcelino, Ramon ed., "A History of Komiks in the Philippines and Other Countries" Manila: Islas Filipinas Publicshing, 1985
- McCoy, Alfred, Roces, Alfredo ed.,"Philippine Cartoons" Manila: Vera-Reyes Publishing, 1985