Philippine comics

"Komiks" redirects here. For the television series, see Komiks (TV series).
Philippine comics
Earliest publications 1920s
Publications Kulafu
D. I. Trece
Creators Tony Velasquez
Tony DeZuniga
Nestor Redondo
Mars Ravelo
Alex Niño

Comics in the Philippines (Filipino: Komiks) are widespread and popular throughout the country from the 1920s to the present. Komiks were partially inspired by American mainstream comic strips and comic books during the early 20th century. Particularly after World War II, the medium became widely popular, though its mainstream appeal has subsided somewhat with the advent of other mass-media forms such as telenovelas. Webcomics produced by independent Filipino web-based artists have recently caught the attention of local and foreign readers.

The word komiks is simply the English word "comics," adapted to fit the orthography of native Filipino languages such as Tagalog.



While the first indigenous cartoons may be traced to José Rizal's illustration of the fable, "The Tortoise and the Monkey" (1885), the origins of the mainstream komiks industry would not arise until after the Spanish–American War. In the 1920s, Liwayway magazine began running comic strips under the direction of Romualdo Ramos and Tony Velasquez, such as the still-running Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy (The Misadventures of Kenkoy). Valasquez is considered the father of Filipino comics.[1]


Originally inspired by American comic strips and comic books left behind by American GIs, the medium steadily diverged, and by the 1950s, drew more inspiration from other forms of Filipino literature such as komedya, as well as Philippine mythology. Many komiks were evidently inspired by specific American comics, such as Kulafu and Og (Tarzan), Darna (Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman), and D. I. Trece (Dick Tracy). The predominance of superheroes has continued into the modern day. However, other characters such as Dyesebel draw more from traditional folklore.

Breaking into the American comics scene

In the late 1960s, Filipino artist Tony DeZuniga broke into the American comics industry. In 1971, DC Comics editor Joe Orlando and editor-in-chief Carmine Infantino traveled to the Philippines on a recruiting trip.[2] Alfredo Alcala, Mar Amongo, Ernie Chan, Alex Niño, Nestor Redondo, and Gerry Talaoc were some of the Filipino komik artists who went on to work for DC, particularly in the 1970s and '80s.

A similar trip by Pendulum Press editor Vincent Fago led to a great number of Filipino artists working on the Pendulum Now Age Classics series, black-and-white comic book adaptations of literary classics which were published from 1973–1980. Visiting the Philippines in 1970, Fago teamed with Nestor Redondo to recruit Flipino artists for Pendulum.[3] In addition to the work of Redondo, who illustrated more than 20 books in the series, the Pendulum Illustrated Classics featured the artwork of Alex Niño,[4] Gerry Talaoc,[5] Vicatan, Rudy Nebres, Jun Lofamia, Nestor Leonidez, and E. R. Cruz. (Redondo's brothers Virgilio and Frank also illustrated books in the series.)

Beginning in 1978 and lasting until about 1983, the black-and-white comics magazine publisher Warren Publishing also utilized the talents of a number of Filipino artists, including Niño, Nebres, and Alcala.

From the mid-1980s on, fewer Filipino artist found work in the American comics industry, the exceptions being DeZuniga, Chan, Alcala, and Talaoc.


At one point, between 33 and 40 percent of Filipinos read komiks, but this number has since dwindled somewhat due to competition from other media forms.[6] More recently, comic artists have begun producing what is often called "Pinoy Manga,"[7] inspired largely by Japanese anime and manga, which have been widely available in the Philippines since the 1970s.

See also


  1. "Filipino Artist Tony Velasquez – Founding Father of Philippine Komiks (Comics),"
  2. Duncan, Randy and Smith, Matthew J. "Filipino Artists," The Power of Comics: History, Form & Culture (Continuum, 2009).
  3. Fago, Vincent, "Nestor Redondo and the Pendulum Classics," in Arthur Conan Doyle: Rosebud Graphic Classics (Eureka Productions, 2002), pp. 4-6.
  4. Arndt, Richard J. "A 2005 Interview with Steve Bissette about Bizarre Adventures!" Marvel’s Black & White Horror Magazines Checklist. Accessed May 8, 2013.
  5. Gerry Talaoc at Lambiek's Comiclopedia.
  6. Macaraig, Mynardo. ‘KOMIKS’ INDUSTRY FIGHTS FOR SURVIVAL, Planet Philippines (October 17, 2010).
  7. "Top 100 Pinoy Komiks,"


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