I have recently been looking through my files of old Tagalog comics when I came across an old copy of Pilipino Komiks from the year 1956. The cover featured an artwork by my favorite illustrator, the great Francisco V. Coching, for his serialized graphic novel Gigolo.I felt that this cover looked somewhat familiar, that I’ve seen this before. I checked my original files and I found this cover art for a 1946 Silahis Magazine.
Curious, I had shown this original cover to Mrs. Filomena Coching (Coching’s wife), and she told me that this cover actually portrays her and her husband, although they did not let the editor of the magazine know that it was them. Then this cover art is actually one of the few Coching self-portraits (plus a portrait of his wife) that the master did during his prolific years in comics.
Looking back at the Pilipino Komiks cover, it is obvious that this is a remake of the 1946 Silahis cover drawn exactly ten years before. Yet, this really puzzles me because the two figures in the Pilipino Komiks cover no longer resembled Coching and his wife. Then two figures look to me more like a young Fernando Poe Jr., and Susan Roces, years before they first met!
An added mystery is the fact that Coching later became a close friend of Fernando Poe, the latter even starring in the former’s movie adaptation of Pusakal.