Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Humanis Rex #6 Preview

Humanis Rex #6 Preview

A page from Humanis Rex for Fudge Magazine's September issue. The August issue should be out right about now.

Although I had been coloring my own stories since Pulp Magazine's early issues in 2000, this is the first time I'm doing it on a regular basis. I get such a creative buzz when I start out with a blank piece of paper in the morning and end up with a fully colored page 24 hours later.

Now there have been suggestions that I get someone else to ink my own work because of perceptions of flaws in my finished art. Let me say that I appreciate all suggestions, comments, complaints about what I do. If anyone is willing enough to be honest about their opinion, I certainly hope they give me the courtesy of being honest about who they are as well, just so they prove to me that they stand by their opinion, and believe in it enough to attach their name to it. Because you know, if you can't be honest about who you are, how can I be sure you are being honest about your opinion as well?

If you are a friend of mine, then I would appreciate you more as a friend for being straight with me.

That said, the comment about my art is something I would like to write about. I've already responded in the comments section, but I think I need to talk about it here as well.

As an artist, and not just a comics artist, I feel creatively fulfilled if I do my art all my own, without the benefit of another artist coming in to finish my work for me. If I get another inker to finish my work, I feel that would be an escape. I would be closing myself to learning and improving, and it would be an act that refuses to take responsibility for the quality of my work.

And to anyone who feels I should get someone else to finish my work, then you do me a great disservice, and must not respect me much as an artist because you feel I have no more room to improve. To tell me that I need to improve certain aspects of my art is very welcome, but to tell me to stop doing my work and hand it to another artist, instead asking me to improve it myself, is another thing entirely.

Any artist always has room to improve, and I am no exception. No artist is an exception, not the 50 year veteran, and certainly not the young unpublished punk who thinks he's better than everyone else. There are still plenty of things I need to work on, and even when I've tucked decades worth of training and experience under my belt, I would still feel that I still have much to learn.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hazard #3

Inking Portfolio #10
Hazard #3
July 1996
Wildstorm Productions

A few lines into inking our 3rd issue of Hazard, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. It was morning and I think Edgar Tadeo was up and working on his table. I thought I had pulled a muscle and I tried to stretch it out. I continued to ink but the pain seemed to get much worse. It became so bad that I couldn't work anymore. Edgar looked up as I got up and staggered to our room so I could lie down. I thought some rest would ease the pain a bit. After an hour of tossing and turning as the pain tore through my back, a pain that was quickly becoming excruciating, I thought that this was perhaps something serious. Whilce suggested I go home and within 30 minutes I was on the bus to San Pablo.

The pain was gone when I got home a couple of hours later, but we decided to go see a doctor anyway. After describing my symptoms to our family doctor, I was referred to a urologist, who, after a series of tests, determined I had stones in my kidney. The pain came from muscles in my lower back exerting effort to push a stone that's jammed in the tube between the kidney and the bladder. He suggested an operation, the sooner the better. Oh my God... an operation. I've never been operated on, and the thought of it scared the crap out of me.

The doctor described the procedure to me. It wasn't his intent yet to operate to get the stones out, but rather temporarily insert a tube that would be attached from my kidney to the bladder, bypassing the blocked tube. For a month I was advised to try and get rid of the stones via medication, diet, and water therapy. If I still had the stones at the end of that month, he'd perform a sonic operation that would shatter the stones.

I had the operation to insert the tube without cutting me, how they did that I'd rather not say. he.he. I was injected with something that made me sleepy and pretty soon I was unconscious. Apparently, the drugs weren't enough because I started to wake while they were still operating. I heard the doctor and the anesthesiologist talking about cars and stuff like that. I remember seeing a cool car advertised on the newspaper earlier and I said, hey, that new Toyota is cool. They suddenly realized I was waking up and gave me an additional injection to put me back in. Before I lost consciousness, I remember hearing the doctor tell one of the male nurses, who wasn't exactly straight, to leave my nuts alone. Whether it really happened or I was hearing things because of my drugged state I couldn't say.

Being induced to unconsciousness artificially was a unique experience. You're sort of happy, sort of dreamy, free from any sort of responsibility. I woke up in my hospital room with my mom, dad and brother hovering around. I said something and fell asleep again.

Well, after that water suddenly became my best friend. I drank ENORMOUS amounts of water, dieted, exercised and dutifully took my medications. I didn't want to have to take that sonic operation. I drank all the time and so much to the point of vomiting. Naturally, I pissed a lot, which was kind of the point.

A month later at the ultrasound clinic, I was told that the stones had gone. The operator there couldn't believe it. Well, I couldn't believe it myself. I didn't have to go through the operation. Imagine my relief! But then again, they *still* had to put me under to take out the tube that they had put in a month earlier. So there I was again, going under, but actually looking forward to the happy, dreamy feeling that the anesthesia would bring.

I took some time to rest and recover, and I had been gone from work for more than a month. As a result, Edgar pretty much did Hazard #3 entirely. I was able to do the cover, but that's only because we did the cover early so it could be used to solicit the book. But that's pretty much all I did for Hazard #3. What I did inside was practically negligible. That pretty much told me that they could easily do without me so I thought I had to kick ass inking Hazard #4 ...or else!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Bandwidth Exceeded

Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

Wow, for the first time ever, I've exceeded my bandwidth limit for! That means the traffic on my site for the past month had been so big that I've reached the amount of traffic my site can handle. The limit is actually pretty high as it is, so the traffic must have been quite extraordinary.

To get additional bandwidth at my current host would be a bit more expensive than I can afford. It's either I move to a less expensive host offering the same features (or more), or get an additional hosting elsewhere to supplement my current one.

I really can't do anything about it now as I'm really up to my neck in work, so the Komikero site, as well as the Online Museum shall be down until the end of the month, as my bandwidth will be reset to zero on September 1.

It's a good thing that, which hosts this blog, and Photobucket, which hosts most of the recent graphics, have pretty much unlimited bandwidth so they won't be going down anytime soon.

Hope you all come back when the site comes back up on September 1 with a lot of new updates!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fred Carrillo, Hazard #2

Fred Carrillo

The above is a painting done by Fred Carrillo sent to me by Dell Barras. I don't know where this was from though. The photo below is also sent by Dell.

Fred is the one in the beige jacket sitting beside Romeo Tanghal.

Thanks Dell!


Inking Portfolio #9
Hazard #2
June 1996
Wildstorm Productions

By this time we had settled in quite well in our Balete Drive studio. It was quite a big house with many rooms, an adjoining kitchen and even more rooms. It was an exciting time to be there. Whilce Portacio was by then starting with Iron Man and he was knocking us dead with the artwork he was creating. To earn extra money to support the studio, part of the big house was being used as practice venue for various entertainment people. We had bands in there like Eraserheads, Rivermaya, and Alamid, and we had the kids from Ang TV practicing their production numbers. It wouldn't be unnautral to see famous people walk in just as you're getting up from bed. Michael V would come once in a while to play Tekken with us. I was in a daze. I would be inking on my table and a few feet from me would be people dancing or perfoming. It was the craziest studio I ever been in.

One time we even had a mini-concert right on the driveway where a lot of bands perfomed, and the whole thing was broadcast on NU 107. I had a deadline though, so I had to escape and go home to San Pablo to ink as I listened to the whole thing on radio.

It was a great time. It wasn't the most conducive place to draw at times, but it was OK because there was lots to see.

Let me just say that I owe Whilce a lot for it was truly him that give me the breaks that led to my career in comics. Such breaks include invaluable training in how comics are done and the right approach to take in making them. Of course, that was "the" Whilce Portacio and it was just such an inspiration being there with him and just listen and watch him talk and draw.

Personally, I think Whilce is a really nice guy, a really great guy. Very humble too. I'd like to think that he'd become a good friend, specially during those early years in the first studio when it was often just him and me working together. Together with his then future wife Joann, they're one of the nicest couples I've met.

At the studio there were other people like Kate, Chris and Francis, not really comics people, but really nice people to hang out with.

That is not to say that there weren't any people there I didn't like. There were. Just so my comic book pals don't get paranoid, I don't mean any of you. Like I mentioned in my last inking portfolio, it was quite a disappointing, difficult time for me as well, and this particular person had a lot to do with it. I really didn't intend to talk about it because, after all, it was 10 long years ago. But I realize that I still carry quite bit of hurt and hard feelings about this person. I still don't fully understand why that person was in the studio, when Alex Manabat and his wife were already there taking care of things. I think this person meant well, but ended up being pretty hurtful, specially with a temper like that.

I was shouted at, as were the other guys, for reasons I think were petty, and for reasons that had NOTHING at all to do with our work. I walked off the studio extremely angry, wondering what the hell I was doing there, what this person was doing there, and entertained thoughts of moving back home and do my work there. I just wanted to be away from that person as much as I can.


By this time, Roy Allan Martinez and I was already working on Hazard #2, and I remember the above cover very well. I wasn't too happy at how the cover came out in print. I probably didn't erase the pencils as well as I could have. If I had scanned it I might have been able to do something about it.

My work schedule differed quite a lot from the other guys. I was a morning person and I was awake as early as 7am and worked until around 11 or 12 midnight before turning in to sleep. But the other guys don't get up until around lunchtime or well after. And they work all night until the sun comes up. So when I go and turn in at 11pm, the day has just pretty much started for everyone else and they tease me mercilessly for it.

Sometimes I end up staying up with them, nodding off all the time, struggling to stay awake. Me and Roy would play Raiden or Tekken, or I'd watch the Indian channels and watch the song and dance numbers. That entertained me well enough to keep awake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fred Carrillo 1926-2005

Fred Carrillo, 1926-2005

Filipino comics illustrator Fred Carrillo passed away last week. His daughter Iris had previously informed me that he suffered from both lymphoma and Alzheimer's disease, and that he had come home to the Philippines from the United States this year.

Fred Carrillo was one of the pioneers of Philippine Comics, having worked on the earliest published comic books like Halakhak and Pilipino Komiks, first published after the end of World War 2.

In the United States, he worked on many titles including Phantom Stranger, Black Orchid, Captain Power, GI Combat, Ghosts, House of Mystery, Weird War Tales, Unknown Soldier and even an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

Carrillo has a profile up at the museum which can be viewed here.

More to follow later...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Silent Dragon 2, Humanis Rex 5

Silent Dragon #2
Written by Andy Diggle
Pencilled by Leinil Francis Yu
Inked by Gerry Alanguilan
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Jared Fletcher
Edited by Ben Abernathy
Wildstorm/DC Comics

Silent Dragon #2, my current inking assignment, comes out sometime around this time. I don't know exactly when to be honest. For some reason, for the first time in my professional working career in comics, I get my copies before the issue comes out in stores. Other times my copies arrive a few weeks to a couple of months after the comics come in the stores. On rare occasions, I never got copies at all, but that's never happened with DC.

Anyway, a note about that cover... Leinil did that all himself, pencilling and straight to coloring. No inking at all involved, and it looks terrific. This is one of those few times when comics art without the benefit of an inker works. He has done stuff like this before, specially on the covers for High Roads and for Conan. I've told him that he doesn't really need me and if he does a whole comic book like this, it would seriously ROCK.

Anyway, below is a page from Silent Dragon #2, which I had inked.

Humanis Rex #5

The latest installent of Humanis Rex #5 comes out this month!

This part sets up the return of a major character. I'm continuing the clean line art style I'm trying to develop for the entire series, as well as developing a personal coloring style I'll continue to improve in the coming months. I'm trying very hard to stick uncompromisingly to flat coloring, but I've been tempted to do shades, textures and grading on some panels, but for the most part I've managed to do what I set out to do. A few more months into this, I hope to finally nail the look I want.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Liwayway, Alex Niño

Liwayway, August 22, 2005

If you can, grab yourself a copy of this week's issue of Liwayway Magazine. It seems to be a major change of pace as showbiz stuff had been mostly done away with, replaced with features commemorating "Buwan ng Wika" (Language Month).

The cover features artwork by Jun Lofamia, reproduced uncropped inside. Other features include:

*Paggunita Kay Manuel Luis Quezon by Boy Silverio. A feature on the first Filipino president, born on August 19, 1878 ( Happy Birthday, sir!) and died August 1, 1944.

*Pahapyaw na Kasaysayan ng Wikang Pambansa ng Pilipinas. As the title indicates, a glancing view of the history of PILIPINO, the National Language of the Philippines.

*Features on prominent Filipino writers like Carlos Valdez Ronquillo and Efren R. Abueg.

*A feature on the Battle of Pinaglabanan

*A short history of Philippine Film, with spotlight on Charito Solis, Gloria Romero and Luis Gonzales.

*A short history of Liwayway Magazine. Interestingly, the magazine actually started out as a photo magazine called "Photo News" before transforming into Liwaway. Much mention has been made of the writers who gained prominence on the pages of the magazine, but it's disappointing that no mention at all of the remarkable comics and artists that regularly appeared on its pages since 1929.

Nevertheless, this issue features more of Jun Lofamia's gorgeous artwork, some of which are reproduced below.

Jun Lofamia
"Nadaya" written by Silvio Ruiz

Jun Lofamia
"Mga Mata ng Kaluluwa" written by Severino Reyes

Plus more watercolor comics from Hal Santiago, and other comics and illustrations by Nar Cantillo, Rod Lofamia, Pablo S. Gomez and Rico Rival, R.R. Marcelino and Abe Ocampo, Ricardo M. de Luna, Vic J. Poblete and Rudy Villanueva, Perry C. Mangilaya and Alfred C. Manuel and Mike de Leon.


New Alex Niño Book

Alex Niño has a new book available available at Bud Plant's site, published by Stuart Ng.

By Alex Niño.
A Catalogue of Original Art.
A collection of 63 pen & ink drawings, created spontaneously in a single sketchbook, which is reproduced here in its entirety. With just a few lines, Niño creates vivid characters--exotic women, monsters, warriors and strange beasts.

Niño has worked in comics since the 1970s. He has worked primarily in animation since the early 1990s on Disney films such as Mulan, Atlantis, and Treasure Planet.
Stuart Ng, 2005

5x8, 61pg, b&w, $15.00

Copies can be ordered at Bud Plant's Site Here.

Thanks to Zatrikon for the head's up!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mar Amongo, Hazard #1

Mar Amongo
Pen and Ink Illustration, 1994

A biographical profile and a large gallery of Mar Amongo's work, a Filipino comics illustrator who passed away this month, has just been uploaded at the museum and can be found here.

The gallery includes artwork from Tagalog Klasiks, Romansa Komiks, House of Mystery (DC Comics) and various pen and ink illustrations from the early 90s.

Mar Amongo was laid to rest at Los Baños Cemetery in Los Baños, Laguna in the Philippines last Saturday, August 13.


Inking Portfolio #8
Hazard #1, 1996
Wildstorm Productions

I was once again very grateful that RoyAllan Martinez allowed me to do the backgrounds on the first page of our new book, HAZARD, written by Jeff Mariotte. It was our first somewhat regular comics series, after serving as fill in artists on our past 2 assignments, Wetworks and Grifter. We were excited at the prospect of being at the start of a new comic book, being allowed to design the character and the environment in which he moved.

Roy's first design for Hazard was a huge ugly bruiser with a mohawk that looked mean enough to beat the shit out of LOBO. It was a great drawing by Roy and you can tell he was enjoying himself when he did it. Unfortunately, the design was passed on for a less over-the-top one. Nevertheless, we carried on, enthusiasm still intact.

Feeling perhaps that the story demanded it, Roy adapted his style to suit a more dark noirish one, evoking, as one of our editors mentioned, Jim Steranko. I don't think Roy was familiar at all with Steranko at the time, and I myself had seen his work only rarely.

I was happy that I was able to complete this whole issue on my own, without other inkers coming in. Not that I would want to deny Ed or anyone else work, but I felt much more creatively fulfilled if I was able to complete a project from start to finish.

The photo on the right is one taken of me during this time. I think it was Whilce Portacio himself who took this picture. Looking at it now, I can't believe that I ever had hair that long!

At about this same time, a trading card I had inked over Whilce, this time of one of the characters of Gen-13 for a Swimsuit set, has also come out. I don't have a copy of that card so I can't share an image.

A few pages into inking this issue, we moved studios from our Mandaluyong condo to a huge house along Balete Drive in Quezon City. It was a pretty big house and naturally there were concerns that the house may be haunted. It was after all, located on a street known infamously all over the Philippines as a very haunted street. The move wasn't painless, but it was always a bit hard for me whenever I move residences. I am thankful that a lot of people, including one Tim Yap, helped us with the move and made the transition a lot easier.

By this time, the studio crew had significatly grown, and not all of us were comic book people. It was the start of a short period of my life which is a bit difficult for me to talk about because it had been so eventful, exhilarating, disappointing, and exciting.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mar Amongo Passes Away

Mar Amongo Passes Away

I just heard from a friend of the family that comic book illustrator Mar Amongo passed away Wednesday morning. The wake is being held at his home in Los Baños, Laguna.

Mar Amongo, a student of Nestor Redondo, was known for his realistic style of rendering, which he employed in numerous stories for Tagalog Klasiks and other publications. In the US, he worked on stories for Weird War Tales, Ghosts, All Out War and GI Combat.

He withdrew from comics to work as an artist in the Middle East for many years before returning home to work on various religious comics like "The Tiger's Fang" for Eckankar Books.

He was also a much sought after painter by the Philippine Government who had commisioned him to do a billboard of the Philippine Centennial in 2000.

We visited Mar at his home in Los Baños in 2004 and I wrote about it here.

Bruldo Grajo, illustrated by Mar Amongo
Tagalog Klasiks 427, May 26, 1967

More info soon...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Roy and Me

Roy and Me

Roy Allan Martinez, the first penciller I worked with on a regular basis in the 90's, really liked putting cameos of us on the pages of the comic books we were working on. The first time he did this was on Grifter #10:

Roy is the one holding the camera, while I'm in the background with the neo-Philippine flag on his shirt.

The next time Roy drew us was in Hazard #1 (Wildstorm):

There we are enjoying the sights of Las Vegas (although we've never actually been there.) Roy is the one with the Fear Factory shirt, I'm the one with the Alamat Comics shirt. Wow, I really must have been very thin back then for Roy to draw me that way.

Next, Roy not only drew the both of us, but he drew Gilbert Monsanto and Edgar Tadeo as well in Wildstorm Spotlight #2 Featuring Steven Grant's LONER:

From left, it's Roy, me, Gilbert and Edgar. Roy gave me a haircut for some reason.

Other artists like Whilce liked to draw in cameos of people he knew as well. I just might feature that too later on. :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Francisco Reyes. Hermoso Pancho

Francisco Reyes
Joe Safari
written by Clodualdo del Mundo
Pinoy Klasiks #61, August 6, 1966
Graphic Arts Service, Inc.

Francisco Reyes is one of the grand old men of Philippine komiks and is regarded as the King of the Philippine Jungle-lord school of komik-strip writing. A mild-mannered bespectacled man, Reyes created KULAFU in 1933, one of the earliest adventure comics strips in the country in the pages of Liwayway Magazine. A huge success, Kulafu was the first colored adventure strip in Philippine komiks, and was even translated into Spanish for a South American magazine.

Kulafu was discontinued at the outbreak of World War 2, but Reyes nevertheless did not continue the strip at the end fo the war. He created other strips like Talahib (1946), Kilabot (1947), Buhawi (1947), Mahiwagang Sinulid (1949), and collaborated with writer Clodualdo Del Mundo on Joe Safari (1966), Dagong (1967), Sphinx (1969), and Ogganda (1964).

Kulafu appeared on a stamp in 2004, honoring Francisco Reyes as one of the great achievers in Philippine Art.

Hermoso D. Pancho
Kamay Na Bakal
written by Merdinio A. Abella
Hiwaga Komiks #341, March 12, 1965
C. Reyes Publishing Corp.

I know very little about Hermoso D. Pancho except to say that I've always been impressed by his work, and he is amazingly *still* active in local komiks today, illustrating stories for ATLAS Publications. If anyone has any info on Hermoso Pancho, or has any contact information on him, please let me know. I would love to feature his art more extensively at this site.

Grifter #10

Inking Portfolio #7
Grifter #10, March 1996
Wildstorm Productions

Roy Allan Martinez and I next worked on one of the spin-off characters from Wildcats. I remember inking this very well because of the long days and nights we both put into putting the art together. It was in this comic book I realized that comics was indeed *hard work*. The euphoria of working in comics was still there, but a reality had set in in which we really had to hunker down and *do* the work.

I remember waking up very early and working well into the night straight, my only break was when I ate and when I went to the bathroom. I was hardly outside anymore and my eyes were constantly red. I remember going, Oh my God... is this what it takes to do comics? After a week or so of this kind of work I started to wear down. I broke off once in a while to take a walk in Megamall nearby and just relax. I just wanted to be in an environment where there wasn't any comics at all. But quite soon, I started missing the work and I always head back before long.

A separate department in the studio was being put up, an advertising studio, which accepted local jobs. One of the first being doing artwork for CD covers for local bands. I was being asked to work on these projects more, specially on the TRIP album of Rivermaya. Members of the band, specially Rico Blanco would stay up late with us in putting the cover and interior art together. One time Rico fell asleep and the other people in the studio had fun with him by writing and drawing all over his arm and face and it was so funny because Rico slept so deeply that he didn't wake up. When he did, he good naturedly vowed revenge.

Andrew E. also came over to visit often as well. He was a comics fan and I think it thrilled him to meet Whilce. I remember inking some of Whilce's artwork with some dogs on it for a CD of one of Andrew E's groups, but it was never used. Andrew made a really cool rap message for Whilce's answering machine and sometimes people would call up the studio just to listen to it.

It was cool meeting these famous people because seeing them really fascinated me. The work was new and fun and my recent training in Photoshop served me well. It became stressful at times specially when the computer crashed while Whilce was in the US and I was left to start the work all over.

Fun as it all was, I was getting concerned that I was doing less comics than I wanted, and comics was the reason I was in the studio in the first place. I became even more concerned specially when I fell behind on inking Grifter and Edgar Tadeo was once again brought in to ink and this time he got to do 3 pages. I made my concerns known that it was comics I wanted to do. I could still do the ocassional advertising stuff, but comics will remain my priority.

Grifter writer Steven T. Seagle had sent in descriptions of a kind of SEAWATCH facility which will be featured prominently in a two page spread at the start of the issue. He had sent in a fax of a sketch of what he felt the building would look like. The building looked pretty standard to my eyes, and the architect in me suddenly leapt and took over.

I drew up plans of what I thought would be a much cooler Seawatch facility. I drew a top view and elevation view of a circular building that evoked a beached sea urchin/starfish and faxed it over to Steve, c/o Wildstorm. I had concerns that Steve would blow his top and slap me around for messing up his work and I was prepared to hide under the sink until I'm forgiven. The great thing is, Steve was actualy happy he's working with creators who actually care about the work that was being done. And he gave the go-signal to do my Seawatch facility design.

I'm grateful to Roy that he allowed me to take over the 2 page spread, pencilling and inking the entire complex with Roy handling all the people, statues and birds. I'm very grateful Roy allowed me to do it even though I know now that Roy most likely would have done a far better job of it. I was just glad to have been allowed to do it.

Roy drew us in the last panel of this 2 page spread. Roy is the one holding the camera and I'm the one in the far background with the long hair. I was thinner back then.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Wetworks #14

Inking Portfolio #6
Wetworks #14
February 1996

It would be a couple more months after inking Whilce on the trading cards before I worked on my first comic book after Aster #2. In this time I do remember inking Whilce on several pages of Wetworks pages. I distinctly remember inking a 2 page spread with a HUGE mutated Dozer letting loose in an undergound chamber with a community and huts and scrambling monsters. I remember doing pencilling on it, specially on the backgrounds, and I was pretty happy how it turned out. For some reason or another, those pages were never published.

I was then paired with Roy Allan Martinez and I inked a Wetworks werewolf pinup over his pencils as a "test". Roy observed that my inking "cleaned" his art, an observation shared by some of his friends who offered the same opinion to me directly. I interpreted that to mean that some of the nice grittiness inherent in Roy's art had been reduced. I adjusted my inking to try and maintain more of Roy's grittiness in an unused Wetworks cover, but to my eyes, it still looked a little too clean. It frustrated me a little bit, but it didn't stop me from continuing to try.

To this day, I maintain that nobody can really ink Roy as well as he does. His own inking has a wonderful spontaneity to it that looks effortless and instinctive. Even then, I ended up inking Roy again on almost 10 full comic books for Wildstorm.

What I liked about inking Roy was I was allowed to pencil in backgrounds, textures and other detail from time to time. The panel above is an example of my inking over Roy's pencils, but at the same time I pencilled and inked in some of the tech details on the various platforms.

I worked long hours inking this issue because I wanted to make it look as good as I can make it. There were some pages where I added an inordinate amount of detail in an effort to impress perhaps. Maybe I had something to prove. Maybe I wanted Whilce and people at Wildstorm to see that we take the job seriously, and I didn't want them to regret giving us the job.

Edgar Tadeo was brought in to ink 2 pages when we became pressed for time. I felt a little bit threatened, specially because Ed is a very *very* good inker and I was concerned that they might do away with me and get Ed instead on a regular basis. That pretty much drove me even more to do a good job. Ever since then, and I think Ed might not even admit to it, but I think an unspoken rivalry between us was born from it. It was a friendly rivalry of course, which manifested itself in jokes threatening to break each other's hands.

I was so excited when this issue finally hit the stands because it's the first one that carried my name on the cover. It was such a thrill going to a store and seeing your name on the cover of a comic book. My excitement probably got the better of me because I pointed to the comic book in the store, bragging to the salesgirl, "That's me! That's my name! I did that!" That was the first and last time I did anything like that, but the thrill of getting something published and seeing your name on it has never diminished.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Jose Calaug, Delando Niño

J.C. Caluag (also known as Jose Caluag)
written by Pablo S. Gomez
Tagalog Klasiks #113, October 1953
ACE Publications

As requested, I'm featuring two more artists I'm featuring for the first time in the site. I know very little of J.C. Caluag aside from seeing his work on many early Philippine Komiks. Olivadame, as written by Pablo S. Gomez, seems to be a good representative of the quality of Caluag's work from this period.

Delando Niño
Love Among The Ruins!
written by Bill DuBay and Timothy Moriarty
1994 #22, December 1981
Warren Publications

Delando Niño is of course, Alex Niño's brother, who seems to display a unique talent on his own. I've rarely seen his work in local comics though, perhaps just one or two stories that still seemed rough compared to what he has done for Warren Magazines.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Ben Maniclang

Ben Maniclang
Kwentong Barbero: Ang Parol ni Karyo Page 1 of 2
Aliwan Komiks #84, January 3, 1966
Graphic Arts Service, Inc.

Here's another artist that I'm featuring for the first time in this site. Ben is considered one of the pioneers of the Philippine Komiks industry. After finishing High School in 1947, Ben wrote and illustrated Ang Kambal for the now defunct Silahis Magazine. In 1952, right after graduating from college, he became a staffer of Bulaklak Magazine where he illustrated Ang Prinsesa at ang Pulubi, Ang Tungkod ni Moises, Nasaan ka Irog, and many others.

He went on to work for Extra Komiks, Mabuhay Komiks, Tagalog Klasiks, Kenkoy Komiks, Aliwan, etc. For a time, Ben served as art director of Silaw Magazine of the Manila Daily Bulletin (now Bulletin Today).

His most popular illustrating job was on Jim Fernadez's Anak ng Zuma for Aliwan Komiks.

Kwentong Barbero: Ang Parol ni Karyo Page 2 of 2

Wetworks Trading Cards

Inking Portfolio #5
Wetworks Trading Cards
New Claymore (Virus) Card

I did not start working right away after finishing Aster #2. After a few weeks of training in Photoshop, pencilling, inking, and computer coloring, Whilce decided that my inking is the strongest of my work, an observation that was shared by Bart Sears in my entry to the Cable Cover Contest in Wizard Magazine #21. I was a little disappointed, because drawing was what I really wanted to do and that as an inker, I felt all I would be doing would be to follow the lead of another artist. It was quite a tough pill to swallow, but if I showed any disappointment, it was very quick and I don't think anybody noticed. It is something I don't like showing, specially since I knew the assesment was right. Although I felt I had something to offer as a penciller, I also realize that I may be still quite slow, and that my work still needed some practice in many areas. I'll continue to learn the ropes, get my foot in the door, get some experience and study, study, study. Practice, practice, practice.

I had moved in to the studio where I trained closely with Whilce, and other artists like Roy Allan Martinez, Arnold Arre, Oliver Pulumbarit, John Toledo, and another artist whose name I forget. I think his name was Jon?, who had been working for Taekwondogs. It had been determined that Jon and I worked best together and I began inking his work in earnest as part of our training. I thought Jon was pretty good and his work was quite strong. He actually had the chance to work on the first couple of pages of Wetworks #13, but nervous perhaps under work conditions he probably froze and was not able to do continue. He stopped going to the studio and I've always wondered what had become of him.

One day Whilce came out of his room and handed me several pencilled spot illustrations of Wetworks characters. I remember being handed the one above, and drawings of Mother One, Dozer and I think maybe Jester. He asked me to ink them, saying they'll be used for an upcoming trading card set. OHMIGOD!! My first big inking job will be with Whilce himself! I felt like an amateur boxer whose first fight would be against Muhammad Ali in his prime. Those pencils will clobber me! I myself froze at the prospect of inking these drawings, and for half a day all I did was look at them, and I spent nearly a day just doing one of them. I was so careful not to make a mistake, trying hard to do it right. After inking one these I was pretty much exhausted. And it was on to the next one.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Aster, Leinil Yu, Jay Anacleto, Michael V

Inking Portfolio #4
Aster: The Last Celestial Knight #2
Entity Comics, 1995

Remembering inking this specific page brings back pretty bad memories. I was inking the hair on this woman in the dining room of our old house here in San Pablo when the phone rang. There was an accident involving our close family friend Zosimo. The caller said that they didn't know how he was but he was brought to the hospital.

Zosimo married my cousin and he would ocassionally drive for us. He was an armored car driver for the Bank of the Philippine Islands in Calamba, and he would drive my dad from home to work and back again in the evening.

Memories of him swam in my head as I inked this, not really concentrating. It's a miracle that the pages didn't get so messed up.

We learned later that Zosimo had died. The armored car he was driving figured in a head on collision with a bus. Everyone in the family, specially my cousin were quite devastated. I didn't want to ink anymore, but I had to. But it was so difficult just finishing that one page.


At last they got my name right in the issue when it finally came out. I was actually more relieved than happy because I feared they might get it wrong again.

Leinil Francis Yu's professional comic book career was launched in this issue when he drew a back up story "Legends of the Dark Moon". His work was very rough, the perspectives were all wrong, and there is a very strong Whilce Portacio influence. But I could easily see through all that and see the potential just waiting to come out. I lost no time in recommending his work to Whilce when he started looking for artists. I could post the pages here, but Leinil would most likely kill me. You can still buy issues at and search "The Last Celestial Knight" and see for yourself.

Efren "Jay" Anacleto pencilled and inked this issue's cover, which was really nice to see. I'm still puzzled to this day why Entity did not take full advantage of this awesome talent that they had in Jay by letting him pencil his own book, rather than just ink other artists. He had been inking Oliver Isabedra on Aster, Mark Vuycankiat on Harriers and a certain "Toybits" or Beethoven Bunagan on Shaianna. By this time I had already seen his giant "Radamanthus" illustration of leather-jacketed girl with a gun and a giant lizard. And man, it was probably the most incredible piece of illustration I've seen up to that point. I would have loved to see Jay do a book on his own but I guess I had to wait a few more years.

The aforementioned "Beethoven Bunagan", penciller on Shaianna, is of course, none other than popular Filipino comedian Michael V. It is not widely known that he was in fact able to draw a whole comic book that was published in the US. It's not surprising since Michael V. is HUGE comics fan, and his fan art can be seen in early issues of Wizard Magazine. He is also a very good sculptor, which I found out when he visited Whilce's studio a couple of years later with a bust of Whilce's GRAIL from Wetworks.

Towards the end of inking this issue, Whilce Portacio came back to the Philippines looking for artists as he was going to set up a studio. He came to the country the previous year and I had shown him some of my work, and when he came back this time around, I was ecstatic that he remembered my work enough to ask to see me.

It's still a difficult thing to think about, even after all these years, of my decision to leave Billy and Entity Comics to train under Whilce. I mean, it was still Whilce Portacio! The artist of X-men, X-Factor and Punisher! Who wouldn't want to train under him? I guess it was good that I didn't have any sort of contract or else I wouldn't have had the choice. I think Billy knew what was in my mind and I'm still grateful that he let me go. But nevertheless, for the record, I wish to thank Billy Lim-It wholeheartedly for giving me my first big break in comics.

For Whilce's part, he understood that I still had a commitment to finish Aster #2, and he let me finish it while training under him at his studio, which he had put up in a condo unit near the old Medical Center behind Shangrila and SM Megamall.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Liwayway Aug. 8, 2005

A Peek Into Liwayway
August 8, 2005

I took a peek at this week's issue of Liwayway Magazine, now published by Manila Bulletin and it's a vast improvement from just a year ago, or even from the first issue published by MB just a couple of months ago. The artists, having been empowered perhaps by improved printing capabilities of Manila Bulletin, took it upon themsleves to take their art a notch higher.

Jun Lofamia
Walang Hanggang Pag-ibig
written by Ma. Lordelisa Guevarra-Tan

Seeing his work just a few months ago colored via strippers, I'm now amazed at how the art looks when Jun is left to watercolor his own work. This is just one of the many of his illustrations for the magazine. He regularly illustrates for writer Gilda Olvidado, who debuts her new story "Mahal...KILLER ka ba?" (Awesome title! Is that funny or what? :) )

Hal Santiago
Mga Bakal at Kalawang
written by Ricardo M. de Luna

Hal Santiago continues to evolve when he jumps from pen and ink to fully painting his comics via watercolor. Everybody seems to have caught the watercolor bug as Rico Rival demonstrates in his own strip below.

Rico Rival
Written by Pablo S. Gomez

Rico Rival is one of those Filipino artists who gained much popularity in the US in the 70's and it's nice to see he is still active in Philippine comics and still pushing himself artistically. His work may be much looser, but his line is much more confident. The sparseness of detail and carefully considered layouts make his work much better today.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Inking Portfolio #3
Aster: The Last Celestial Knight #1

Thankfully enough, Aster Editor Billy Lim-It liked my work in Harriers enough to offer me to ink the 2nd volume of their headliner title, ASTER, this time with the additional title "The Last Celestial Knight." Aster was being drawn right from the beginning by Oliver Isabedra and I thought he did a pretty good job of it. His stuff reminded me a lot of George Perez.

Efren "Jay" Anacleto had actually begun inking this issue and was able to ink the first two pages before being handed to me. When I turned in my first few inked pages, I was told by Billy and one of the other editors that I was perhaps inking it a little too thick, and that I ought use a much thinner pen in the right places. And they were right. Looking at how the pages looked in print, the lines do look a bit thick for the first half of the issue, but I adjusted it a bit for the second half.

I was living in San Pablo while I inked the issue, and once or twice a week, I'd take the Cubao bus to go to Manila 2 hours away to pick up pages/drop off inked pages at Billy's store in Virra Mall, Greenhills. These were times when I still did not have a computer, no Internet and email, tools which make such trips unecessary by today's standards. But I liked making the trips as it allowed me to check out the new comics, and other new stuff in the malls.

I was credited as "Jerry Alanguinan" this time around, but you can hardly see it because the credits page didn't print really well, at least on the copy that I have. The pinup that I gave to Billy saw print as the centerpread of this issue, and it is such a thrill to see it there. When Jae Lee came over to the Philippines later in the year for signings he said he really liked the pinup I did and wow, it was such a terrific thing to hear from someone like that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Inking Portfolio #2
Harriers #3
Entity Comics, 1995

When Whilce Portacio came to the Philippines in December of 1992 to do signings for Filbar's chain of comics stores, it became a kind of catalyst that spurred many young Filipino artists to make their own comics. One of them was me. Many artists who had been working indepenently of each other met at this time at any of Whilce's many signings and at the mini convention. I remember meeting Oliver Pulumbarit, John Toledo, Nick Manabat, Augy de Lara, and later on Arnold Arre, Carlo Vergara and many other artists who came together in our shared love of creating comics.

Small groups formed to create their own books, and I became part of LAKAN, along with Oliver, John, Nick, and Arnold. Gilbert Monsanto, Roy Allan Martinez, Lui Antonio etc. became part of EXODUS. Carlo Vergara and David Hontiveros became part of FLASHPOINT. Budjette Tan put together COMICS 101. I felt an energy, an exhilaration about being part of something that was new, and vital, and exciting.

So we were all stunned, and just a little bit envious when one such group, the one putting together ASTER, was able to gain an American publisher, ENTITY COMICS, to release their comic book. But as envious as I felt personally, and although publishing in the US wasn't really part of our plan, I felt it was still something to be truly proud of.

It was actually quite an amazing feat, which hasn't been repeated until many years later when Leonard Banaag, Philip Tan, and Gary Mayorlago succeeded in putting together Taleweaver for release through Image Comics.

I created a 2-page spread fan art of ASTER and gave it as a gift to ASTER editor Billy Lim-It, who was also owner of CATS Collectibles based in Greenhills. It was the closest thing I had to a job application. I did not really ask for a job, but I was sort of hoping that Billy would like my pinup enough to include it in their comic book. (It eventually appeared in Aster Vol. 2, #1.)

When Billy and I met at his store, he asked me to try out inking a few pages on another one of their books called HARRIERS, pencilled by Mark Vuycankiat, currently being inked by Efren "Jay" Anacelto. I inked one of the pages (shown above). Billy liked it enough to give me 8 more pages to ink, and he was going to pay me for it. Fantastic! It was my first true job as an inker on a comic book! Not only was I working in a comic to be published abroad, but I also got a huge discount whenever I bought something at Billy's store. Which was just so cool.

Unfortunately, I was not credited for inking almost half the issue, and although I was disappointed, it did not diminish the joy and confidence I got from being part of it. Little did I know that my name would prove to be such a problem for not only Entity but for other companies I would eventually work with, who sometimes don't put me on the credits, and would often mispell my name if they do.

Being credited for a job I've done is something I consider as important as getting paid for it. When one is trying to build up a portfolio of published work, that credit becomes very imporant indeed.

Johnny Balbona, Humanis Rex

New Comics!

Mwahaha! #6: At the Beach
Johnny Balbona

Johnny goes to the beach, and it's *not* pretty!

Humanis Rex #4
Fudge Magazine, July 2005

Humanis Rex continues on the current issue of Fudge Magazine! I haven't seen the issue yet so I can't tell you what cover it comes in.

Starting today, I'll be posting news about Humanis Rex in this blog. I tried to do a separate blog for it when the series was first starting out, but I have decided to collect all of my work stuff here.

And of course, Silent Dragon #1 has just been released.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Komikero July Meet!

Komikero July Meet!

Komikero had it's usual meet on the last Sunday of the month yesterday. I'm very pleasantly surprised at how much the group has grown. We had at least 8 new members this month, all from Glasshouse Graphics most notably Kickfighter artist Lui Antonio and Fantastic Four tag team Carlo Pagulayan and Jeff Huet, who visited us during the mid-month meeting.

Komikero unofficial photographer and master orphan-maker Rene Enriquez took some pics and posted them at his blog.

Rainy Komikero Sunday


Inking Portfolio #1
February 1995

Starting today, I'll do a little reminiscing and revisit all the comics I've ever inked. I've been inking for more than 10 years now, and as my career as a full-time inker (at least for other people) is coming to an end with Silent Dragon, I thought I'd take a look back at all the things I inked for the past decade.

My first inking job was Archon published by Mega Magazine and Alamat. Although I really can't say it was a job as it was done simply for fun and no payment was involved (or asked). It was just something to help out a few friends come up with their own comic book. I think I inked 5 pages here over artist Joseph Fouts.

I was invited to join this comic book by Archon co-creator Russel Tomas, who I met via my brother who met Russel on an online bulletin board in those early Internet days. Russel andI hit it off immediately and I agreed not only to ink some of the pages, but I drew a pinup of one of the characters as well, which also appears in the issue.

By this time, I had already been drawing comics for around 3 years both for established Philippine companies, but also for myself and independent companies like Alamat. Having inked myself all this time, the concept of inking other people has yet to enter my mind. It was nice to try it out with Joseph, and although it was at first weird to see my textures and inks on a finished drawing that was not fully mine, I started to think about the nature of such artistic collaborations, and how the mix of two artists on one piece of art could produce something unique.

Jim M. Fernandez

Jim M. Fernandez
Dalaginding na si Tessie
Tagalog Klasiks #147, February 19, 1955

I'll be featuring artists that I've not yet featured on this site so far, beginning with one of the country's most popular comic book creators, Jim Fernandez. Jim started out in comics with a style that is highly influenced by Nestor Redondo (as can be seen here), but he soon found his own style of drawing as the years went on.

But what made Jim Ferndandez a hit with the readers was his writing, specially when he created the one of the Philippines' most popular characters, ZUMA on the pages of Aztec. As the demand for his writing increased, Fernandez gave up illustrating altogether to concentrate on writing stories including a follow up to AZTEC called Anak ni Zuma, Gorgon, Astrobal, Cannibal, Jeric-The Boy from Mars, Polaris, Virga, Brobo, Angkan Ni Zuma, Mission: Jupiter, and so on.