Saturday, March 15, 2008

Early Philippine Cartoons

Jorge Pineda and Fernando Amorsolo belonged to the first generation of Filipino cartoonists to have emerged during the early years of the American occupation. Most of their cartoons were published in popular news magazines like the Free Press, The Independent, Lipang Kalabaw, and Telembang. Amorsolo and Pineda, of course, eventually developed into great painters that somehow overshadowed their massive body of cartoon works.

When art patronage became a fashion among the elite during the 1920s, Amorsolo and Pineda eventually gave up doing caricatures and concentrated on painting portraits of rich people and commissioned landscapes, which was of course, more profitable. This shift in art, though, can hardly deny the fact that in the 1920s, the Philippines may have the two most talented batch of cartoonists ever to have graced the pages of news and comic magazines.

The cartoon strips shown below are a typical example of elegant Philippine cartoons from these two great cartoonists. The first is by Fernando Amorsolo, and the second by Jorge Pineda.

Simbang Tanan by F. Amorsolo

Balasubas sa Diario by J. Pineda

Friday, March 14, 2008

Early Ruben Yandoc Work (1951)

Here is one of Ruben Yandoc's early works in Hiwaga Komiks dating back to 1951. I consider Yandoc to be one of the most interesting illustrators during the Golden Age of Komiks in the Philippines. His unique style was earlier influenced by Redondo, but he managed to develop the style into uniquely his own.

Yandoc was at his best when illustrating fantasy and horror stories, the kind of which I consider Philippine gothic. It was a very popular genre in the early years of komiks in the Philippines.

The story below is an example of the beautifully rendered art and storytelling abilities of Ruben Yandoc. (Please click on the images to view the larger images)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Early Floro Dery Work from 1964

I recently unearthed from my old Bulaklak komiks collection this 1964 work of Filipino illustrator Floro Dery. Dery is one of my favorite komiks illustrators. I was surprised that Dery was also illustrating for Bulaklak during the time when Alex Nino was also starting his career there as apprentice to the great Jess Jodloman, who was then Bulaklak's chief artist.

Looking back to 1964, this comics illustration by Dery(see below), is done in the Redondoesque style of drawing that was popular during those times, a style created, of course, by Nestor Redondo.

By the way, Dr. Dery has a wonderful website in which he showcases his recent drawings and illustrations. These beautiful illustrations manifest Mr. Dery's passion for exaggeration and depth in his drawings, a point he repeatedly expounds as the basis for his unique style. You can visit his website here.

(Click images below to enlarge)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Spot the Difference

Oh no, I've been browsing my old piles of komiks and saw these:

Pilipino Komiks #47, 1949. Cover art by Francisco V. Coching

Pilipino Komiks #195, 1954. Cover art by Alfredo Alcala

Super Action Komiks#169, 1988. Cover art by Franklin Batolinao.

My only question is: is it really possible to rescue a woman in that position while riding in a horseback? My personal opinion is that it would cause injuries to the woman.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pilipino Funny Komiks (1978-2004)

Pilipino Funny Komiks started me into collecting Tagalog komiks. Back in the 1970s, my father used to buy all sorts of Bugs Bunny and Batman comics being poorly reprinted by National Bookstore, hoping I could easily learn to read English. But I never liked reading them. In fact I have a bunch of them in my bookshelf now which I will gladly give away to anyone who will take care of them.

On the other hand, I liked Pilipino Funny Komiks because it is written in Tagalog, and I can easily relate with it. I feel lucky that our family did not have the habit of throwing away things. We just keep everything in our old bauls and bookshelves. Some of our collections have been destroyed due to frequent typhoons, but still most have survived. When I got a job in the late 1980s, I started augmenting our collection, trying to find the objects that were part of our childhood. And this included Pilipino Funny Komiks.

Pilipino Funny Komiks is a full color komiks first published in 1978 by Islas Filipinas Publications, Inc., a division of Atlas Publications, owned by Don Ramon Roces. Back then, Atlas was located at Scout Reyes Street, in Quezon City. (The company was later purchased by Mrs. Socorro Ramos of National Bookstore, and the company transferred to 20th Avenue in Cubao, just right across where I was living.)

For those who grew up reading Pilipino Funny Komiks, reading them now could bring echoes of nostalgia of the simpler days when children were just complacent reading a colored comic book, filled with beautiful stories about animal superheroes and endearing characters. Back then, there were no video games, internet, MP3, and home video. All we had then was a black and white television where we watch children's programs like Kuskos Balungos and Sesame Street.

And then appeared Pilipino Funny Komiks, which changed the way we Filipino children lived at that time. It was only a comic book, but it was still a comic book. And we loved it.

Let us travel back in time revisit those good old days by viewing once more the most endearingly memorable characters we grew up with in Pilipino Funny Komiks. Pilipino Funny Komiks was last published in 2004.. What I can show you now are the older copies I found in my komiks library.

It's good to be a child once in a while to momentarily escape the boredom of being grown-ups.

Pilipino Funny Komiks#1


Tsikiting Gubat written by Tony Velasquez and illustrated by L.S. Martinez

Batute by Rene Villaroman and Vic Geronimo

Bulol at Tangak by L.S. Martinez

Roni Santiago's Planet op Di Eyps

Bim, Bam, Bung by Larry Alcala

Superkat by L.S. Martinez

Superkat versus Mighty Rat

Before Pupung, there was Lilit Bulilit by Tonton Young

The Fun Page!


Niknok! Our own version of Dennis D'Menace.

The lovable Mahimud Ali

Growing Up 1970s Style

It was the 1970s, and I miss those times.

Like most Filipino children growing up during the Martial Law years under the Marcos regime, I grew up a complacent child, learned early proper discipline, and enjoyed afternoons watching Sesame Street, a beloved program which is sometimes cut to give way to an impromptu Marcos speech. Back then, we as children understood what was authority, and we know how to keep quiet whenever someone older than us has something important today.

Although our family disliked Marcos, we respected his authority, and my father forbade us to say anything against Marcos. My father knew that Marcos was a powerful man and we understood it. It would be inviting trouble to say anything against the dictator. Everyone seemed to be spying on everyone.

Right now I see how many children become so unruly that their parents become so frustrated disciplining them. I should say that I was still fortunate growing up as I did, respecting authority. Perhaps Marcos wasn't really so bad. Certainly he did a lot of bad things, but the discipline that he instilled in the minds of the people is admirable.

Nowadays, children are not so afraid of authorities. They have learned the word freedom, which is very dangerous. They hurl threats to authorities, to teachers, to parents. You spank a child to discipline and you can end up being sued in the Bantay Bata. These children will eventually grow up and then their own children will do the same to them. That is because they were not as disciplined as we were during our time. And so they just passed what they learned in childhood to their own children.

The new media of the internet and home videos contribute to the current degeneration of today's children. Some parents let their children use the internet not knowing that a lot of hazardous things are in store for their children to learn. Children today kill each other all over the internet, in dangerous games like Ragnarok, Diablo, and the like. In between they can watch porno, which is all over the internet. There is one Filipino eight-year old child discovered by his parents masturbating in front of the computer screen, watching hentai. Apparently, his favorite anime hero, Goku (of Dragonball Z) was featured in the movie having sex with Sailor Moon! Parents should be careful of giving their child gifts of laptops, cellphone, and mp4 as these can easily be downloaded with sex movies.

Back in the 1970s, our family owned a black and white TV set called Zenith. It had dial knobs to change channels and volumes. On afternoons we watch Speedy Gonzales, Sesame Street, and endless reruns of black and white old Tagalog movies. On evenings we watch Wild Wild West, Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky and Hutch, the Incredible Hulk and Charlie's Angels. I later learned that these series were all filmed in color and the reason why they appear black and white was that our TV was black and white...

The closest thing that I can ever come up to watching porno was when Gloria Diaz starred in the movie Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa, and it was shown on TV, and even the scene when she didn't have a bra was cut. To my dismay. All our neighbors were flocking to our house because we were one of the few who happened to own a TV set in the entire neighborhood.

I remember curfew. No one was allowed to loiter in the streets from 12 am to 4 am. From that time on you can secretly look from the window through a small opening of the curtains, and you see a very quiet neighborhood. Every barrio was like a ghost town. Even the stray dogs were herded into the city pound. The vagrants had to stay out of the streets. The result was that the crime was lessened. Everyone was afraid of Marcos.

Now, I still think I'm fortunate growing up in the Martial Law years. It was a relatively peaceful time. And we respect our elders.

It was the 1970s, and I miss those times.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hoy Komiks, Pinoy Version of Mad

At last, I'm finally able rediscover the long lost Hoy Komiks magazines I bought many many years ago. I somehow lost hope that they may have been included in the garage sale initiated by my sister some years ago, but fortunately they showed up stacked neatly among piles of old magazines in my grandfather's library.

For those old enough who still remember it, Hoy Komiks was first released in 1986 shortly after the People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcoses from political power. As such, most of the Hoy's contents reflected the era of the times: cartoons and caricatures that lambasted the arrogance and the indulgence of the Marcoses. The komiks-magazine proved to be non-partisan, though, as Cory and Doy also got their share of critical caricatures.

Hoy was patterned after the popular American comic-magazine Mad. It is about the same size and the same number of pages. Unlike Mad, however, Hoy was only short-lived with only about less than seven issues published, I believe. It was published by Wahoo Guerrero (grandson of Ramon Roces), and published by Image Enterprises, Inc., which its offices located in 18th Ave., Murphy, Cubao, Quezon City. Of course, GASI was also located in the same compound.

I am fortunate to be able to keep a few copies of this rare Hoy Komiks-Magazine. I'm sure many among you remember this komiks, but back then (twenty years ago), spending 7 pesos for a komiks magazine was not really very affordable, especially when the country was experiencing one of the worst post-Marcos recessions in Asia. Well, that is unless you're also a rabid komiks collector like me. And so, not many people were able to hoard copies. Some copies may have have suffered the same fate as the old Tagalog komiks--pambalot ng tinapa (dried fish wrapper).

Of course, comics is just one way to catch a glimpse of the realities of a nation's struggle to freedom, and just liked the short-lived Lipang Kalabaw and Telembang komiks-magazines during the Philippine-American period, the Hoy Komiks-Magazine was also the cartoonists' inspired and albeit hilarious view of the social, political, and cultural events of its times. It maybe short-lived, but it had lived its life fully.



The Barcoses at Halacanang. Illustrations by Vicatan.


Ulyanin na si Mako