Friday, July 01, 2005

The First Philippine Super Heroes

The First Philippine Superheroes

There have been many super heroes in the history of Philippine comics, and one can argue that Francisco Reyes' Kulafu may have been the first, who first appeared in the early 30's. But Kulafu, like Francisco V. Coching's Hagibis, were heroes in the mold of Tarzan and Prince Valiant.

The traditional superhero, and by this I mean the costumed superhero in the tradition of Batman and Superman, may have appeared in the Philippines after the second world war, after the influx of super hero comics from America brought by American GIs stationed here.

From what I know so far, and based in information passed on to us by Komiks historian and collector Dennis Villegas, the first costumed superhero in the country may well be a character named IPO-IPO, created by Lib Abrena and OS del Rosario. IPO-IPO, or "tornado" in English, first appeard in April 1947 in "Magasin ng Pagsilang" (Magazine of Birth).

IPO IPO by Lib Abrena and OS del Rosario
Magasin ng Pagilang #3
April 5, 1947

IPO-IPO was not only costumed, but he was super powered as well, wielding powers that not only controlled the wind be he also appeared to be invulnerable.

LAGIM is another costumed superhero, albeit one that did not have super powers. He appeared for the first time with the first issue of Pilipino Komiks, published by ACE Publications in June 1947.

LAGIM Cover by CaGuintuan
Pilipino Komiks #60
September 17, 1949

LAGIM was created by CaGuintuan, and the character appeared for many issues in the early years of Pilipino Komiks, before CaGuintuan moved on to other projects.

It is interesting to note that looking at the 2 images above, that their designs are somewhat similar, specially when one looks at their headgear.

For a larger version of the Lagim cover, head on over to the main Museum page or click below.

LAGIM COVER by CaGuintuan

Thanks to Dennis Villegas for passing on the information, as well as sending over the really cool graphics you can see above. Thanks Dennis!