Not many people know that aside from being the Father of Philippine Komiks, Tony Velasquez was also the Father of Philippine Cartoon advertising. Originally, in1927, 17-year old Velasquez was employed by Banaag Press, to design labels for commercial products. Then in 1928, Banaag Press was purchased by the Roces Publications owned by Don Ramon Roces. It was in the same year when Velasquez created Francisco Harabas, a.k.a., Kenkoy, in the pages of the Liwayway.
While churning out his weekly Kenkoy cartoons in the Liwayway, Velasquez was also creating cartoon advertisements, the first of its kind in the Philippines. Some of the characters he created for these products were Captain Cortal for Cortal, Nars Cafi for Cafiaspirina, Tikboy for Tikitiki, and Isko for Esco shoes.
Although I have collected many of Velasquez original art for Kenkoy, I have very few of his original cartoon advertisements. One of the extant ones is an original ad for Esco shoes which appeared in the December 30, 1932 issue of the Liwayway.
As you can see, the art is already in a sorry state, with creases and needle holes affecting it throughout. To protect it from further damage, I had encased it in a thick mylar plastic which I bought bulk in Chinatown.
This original ad provides a fascinating look at what it was to visit Manila during the early 1930's and indeed, it reflected the general concern of people at the time, regarding the danger of car accidents happening in the streets.
At that time, the narrow streets of Manila had not yet adapted to the increasing numbers of cars and, as such, numerous accidents were prone to happen.
As you can see, Isko managed to topple one of the cars that accidentally hit him, and that's because he was wearing the "old reliable" Esco shoes. Of course it was absurd, but Filipinos loved this advertisement just the same.
Oh well, a piece of art can really be related to a piece of history.