Monday, December 05, 2005

Carlos "Botong" Francisco's Siete Infantes de Lara

At last, I have found a copy of one of the most important comic strips in the history of Philippine komiks: Carlos "Botong" Francsico's Siete Infantes de Lara!
Serendipity indeed plays a major part in the building of my komiks collection, just as when the times I rediscovered the original first issue of Varga/Darna, (now happily enshrined in the Darna Website), the first issues of Kenkoy (now happily reprinted), Coching's Alamid, or Lib Abrena's Ipu-Ipo.
Now comes the Siete Infantes de Lara comic strip by our National Artist Botong Francisco. I kept hearing about this from my old komiks mentors like Virgilio Redondo (who once owned several of the original pages! He sold them to an unknown Botong admirer for 1000 pesos each during the 1970s!), Tony Tenorio, and Pablo Gomez.
I had been searching for it for the longest time, but could not find any copy: not in the National Library, not even in the Lopez Museum, which is a treasure trove of early Philippine magazines.
Then yesterday, as I was going through my usual rounds of my friends' antique shops in Ermita I saw by chance old copies of Bulaklak magazines stacked in the new arrival inventory. Since I know in the first place that Siete Infantes appeared in Bulaklak from 1948-49, I looked for the magazine corresponding to that year. Luckily, there was one copy for the year 1948, and upon checking the inside pages, uereka! The first issue of Siete Infantes is right in front of me. Botong's komiks nickname was right there: "Boots"
As a komiks collector, a Pinoy movie geek, and a fan of Botong, this find is doubly important for me. Now I am a little closer in making a partial catalogueing of komiks strips by the great masters of the glorious days of komiks.
Being a Pinoy movie fan, I can also relate to Siete Infantes, since it was later made into a movie directed by the great Manuel Conde. During my childhood years, I distinctly remember its numerous reruns in a local TV station during lazy afternoons. Back then, our TV set was a wooden encased 25 inch black and white Zenith with a dial knob to switch channels, and a screen that had a sliding door to boot!
Anyway, I love those Filipino movies about kings, princes and castles like Apat na Alas, Prinsipe Amante, and of course, Siete Infantes de lara.
I still remember that one of the Siete Infantes was Eddie Garcia in his first starring role. The other Infantes were Jaime Castelvi, George Sanderson, Albert Madison, Gil de Leon (dad of Christopher de Leon), Mario Montenegro, and Johnny Monteiro. It also was the first film appearance of Nida Blanca who was cast as a young girl in the movie (she would later get a full starring role in the film Korea, 1952).
Siete Infantes de Lara by Botong Francisco. A comic strip by one of our great National Artists. Next time around, I shall feature comic strips by Vicente Manasala and Fernando Amorsolo. Now, no foolish art critic would say that komiks is an inferior artists' trade, right?


Dado dela Cruz said...

Hi Dennis!
How much did the Bulaklak magazine cost you?
I used to visit the Filipiniana Dept of National Library. there is also a lot of old Builaklak and Liwayway there but they dont allow them to be photocopied or scanned.
Can you heip me find or buy old magazines? I prefer the issues on 1957 and 1958.
Dado (

Can i see your collections?

Dennis said...

I remember it's around 600pesos, can't recall exactly.
My old komiks and original art collection will be exhibited soon in an art gallery in Megamall. However, since there is still no definite date as to when it would be, I will refrain from posting any details about it. But I'll post an announcement here when it's to be pushed through :)

erwin said...

Wow, ang galing naman ng nahanap mong komiks na yan Dennis. Sana lumabas din yung mga originals nyan kung saan pinagbili ni Mang Vir Redondo ng P1000 lang. Abangan ko yung exhibit mo sa Megamall!

Dennis said...

Yeah Erwin, we are working on this future exhibit. I hope this will push through as it will make a lot of people aware of komiks art.

arnel said...

"Siete Inpantes De Lara" was made into a movie in 1949,with Manuel Conde and Elvira Reyes in the lead.Botong Francisco worked as the art director for this film,it is unfortunate that there is no existing copy of this film.
"Siete Inpantes De Lara" is a popular awit at corrido during the spanish period .
Congratulation Dennis you have found a vintage copy of the komiks "Siete Inpantes De Lara".

Larcy Velez said...

I am looking for a specific Bulaklak or Liwayway magazine around 1956-1957 where the cover is Lolita Esplana. Would you happen to have this?

innerspacexxx said...

hello! I had a chance to talk to eddie garcia who happends to be a first time actor in this movie. It was a very humbling conversation.

Edgar Cruz said...

hi dennis. the comnments are undated. is this blog still active? thanks.