Alcala. Nebres. De Zuniga. Nino. If you’re familiar with comics, this litany of names should sound quite familiar. They’re among the perhaps-not-so-surprising number of Filipino comic book illustrators who’ve made it big, and interestingly, got a lot of their mileage from the swords and sorcery genre.
Even before these names and others made it to the covers of your favorite DC, Marvel, Warren, and other comics, they were crafting away for local publications such as Aliwan and Liwayway, the latter being one of the longest-running comics magazines in the country. The local scene was where they honed their awesome talent, their imaginations ranging from the dim pre-Hispanic past of their own land to ancient Persia and Greece, and beyond to other planets and dimensions.
Sadly, the local comics scene has been largely replaced by American, Japanese and even Korean publications, and the speculative fiction genres – including sci fi and fantasy swords and sorcery – have been largely replaced by romantic drama. Moreover it’s hard to find surviving copies of these works in their original published format – the comics were printed on cheap newsprint, a medium that becomes all the more ephemeral in our moist tropical climate.
But great art is timeless. Look. Enjoy. And if you want more, visit the Philippine Comics Art Museum online, where I found these great samples.