Sunday, October 09, 2005

The World of Kenkoy

Arguably the most influential comic strip in the history of Philippine Komiks, Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy was created in 1928 by eighteen-year old Tony Velasquez, in collaboration with Tagalog writer Romualdo Ramos. Kenkoy, the lead character of the strip was the first true pop-icon of the Philippines, and it was from his foibles and antics where an aging generation of Filipinos today received their first laughs from the komik strip.
Long before the advent of the movie stars, Kenkoy was the most popular figure during the pre-commonwealth years, his silhouette more recognizable compared to those of the leading politicians of the time such as then Senate President Manuel Quezon and Speaker Sergio Osmena.
The picture above is one of my favorite photographs of Tony Velasquez and his comic hero Kenkoy. Taken in 1932, this photo shows the mischievous Kenkoy attempting to snatch away the brush that created him. But Tony Velasquez seemed to have a good grip of his magical brush, and seemed to sternly lecture Kenkoy: "Don't you know that this brush is going to create a hundred more cartoon characters just like you are?"
Indeed, at the time of Velasquez' retirement in 1972, he had already created some 300 comic characters, many of which became very familiar with the Filipinos: Talakitok, Talimusak, Ponyang Halobaybay, Chiribiribin, Tsikiting Gubat, Binong, Captain Cortal, Tirso, Nanong Pandak, Aling Hule, Tikboy, Nars Cafi, Tonyo, Bobot the Robot, Mang Teroy, Ak, Awk, Ngak, Isko, Rosing, Aling Matsay, Don Koludio, Doktor Wakwak, Tinyente Dikyam, Donya Karay, Dyuli, Etot, Balugay, Mantica, Itsay, Edong, Saring Bulilit, Totong Barungkol, Ditektib Bembo, Tio Tasyo, Dalisyosa, Kenkoy Dayunyor......Hmmm...would blogger have enough word space for me to list everyone? Well, stay tuned because every Velasquez comic creation would have a limelight in this blog.

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