Saturday, March 25, 2006

Alfredo Alcala's Voltar

Whenever I gaze at the pages of Voltar, I often wonder at the sheer magnitude of Alfredo Alcala's power. I would then shake my head in utter disbelief of how an illustrator could be able to capture so dramatic a composition even the most talented photographer could fail to capture in real life.

From my conversations with several of Alcala's friends and contemporaries, I gathered that Alcala often preferred to be alone while drawing his comics. He would shut himself for several days, often with only a few hours of sleep in between, in order to create the comics masterpieces that he became famous for.

In those days, Alcala was known as the most indefatigable Filipino illustrator. He would churn out at least eighty pages of comics pages in a week's time. The quality never suffers though, as evidenced by the innumerable classic artworks that have come out from his brush and ink in almost the same time.

Alcala's classic works in Philippine comics like Voltar, Guerrero, Barracuda, Tres Ojos, Okleng, Cuatro Vidas, Kasaysayan ng Paglipad, Battleship Yamato, and so many more bore the real essence of the master's idiosyncrasies. He could put himself into any era and for sure there will be no mistake in costumes, atmosphere and ambience. The drawings are so all intricately rendered you wondered wether they were in fact, artworks of Gustave Dore's engravers.

Certainly no other Filipino artist could duplicate the great energy of Alfredo Alcala. Indeed, he is a loner, as some of his contemporaries may say, but it is because he was the only one who could do what he was able to do.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some of his immortal pages from the Voltar serialized novel that was published in his own comic book, Alcala Fight Komix in 1964. Alcala's Voltar predates Howard's Conan in comics form, and it is, according to the Comic Book Artist Magazine "one of the most magnificent adventures to have been written and drawn in comics".

I would like to thank my friend Manuel Auad of Auad Publishing for the gift of several original Alcala pages, including a very nice original Voltar page shown in the last image below. Manuel Auad is the writer of Alcala's Voltar (and the Buccaneers of the Skull Planet) that had been published by Magic Carpet in 1977. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness, Noli!

A gift from Mr. Manuel Auad, publisher of Auad Publishing. Thanks so much Noli!


Gerry Alanguilan said...

Sana matuloy ang balak ni Christian Alcala na i-compile itong mga Voltar na ito. It truly is a magnificent achievement that needs to be kept in print for generations today and tomorrow can appreciate. This is one of those things that makes me proud to be Pinoy.

Pert Badillo said...

wow, sana mayroon din akong ganyang collection. amazing artwork.

Dennis said...

Gerry: You mean Christian has complete issues of Voltar? Wow, that is a treasure!
Pert: Wow, I visited your blog and nice to know you are one of those who created some of my favorite cartoons. Maybe by chance you know of some other old-time Filipino animators there like Teny Henson?

Pert Badillo said...

Dennis, hindi ko na inabutan si Tenny Henson, ang nakasama ko noon sa animation sa Makati ay sina Noly Panaligan, Dionisio Roque,Angel Martinez, Abe Ocampo at iba pang mas batang mga komics illustrator, naging estudyante ako ni Joe Mari Mongcal at naturuan din ni Mang Nestor Redondo bago pumunta ng U.S.

erwin said...

si mang vir (+) kumpleto din ng issues ng voltar dati. yung voltar lang ang bukod tanging hindi naka-bind dun sa mga koleksyon nya, buong issue ng alcala komiks yun na dinadala sa xerox shop every time na may order nung voltar.

Mohd Mubasshir said...

U have done really well work. Alfredo is really a true genius.
He is my favourite artist of all time in the world.