When it comes to creative talent, Filipinos have it in spades. We have Rachelle Ann Go and Lea Salonga in theater, Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano in music, and Charo Santos-Concio and Jaclyn Jose in acting. They are all recognized for their accolades in their respective fields, winning awards locally and globally.
This applies even with illustration for comics. Those comic books and graphic novels you are reading? Some of them are proudly made by Filipino illustrators! We gathered these "superhero" illustrators to give you an idea how Filipinos are owning it in comic book culture!
Tony DeZuniga. He is one of the first Filipinos in the comic book industry, having worked with Marvel and DC comics in the early 70s. DeZuniga was responsible for co-creating DC characters, Jonah Hex and Black Orchid—the former becoming a movie in 2010. After his stint with comic book illustration, De Zuniga designed video games for Sega and rendered illustrations for major publishing houses like McGraw Hill and Scholastic. He passed away in 2013.
Whilce Portacio. Legendary Filipino comics illustrator Portacio carved his name in the comic book industry in the 1980s. He worked on various top-rating comic book series—Uncanny X-Men, X-Force, and The Punisher to name a few. In addition to creating Marvel character Bishop with writer John Byrne in the 90s, Portacio also founded independent publisher Image Comics. Currently, he manages creative studio Manggo Entertainment, encouraging Filipino artists to promote Pinoy characters and culture in comics.
[related: In Focus: Whilce Portacio And His Dream Of More Filipino Characters In Comics Worldwide]
Leinil Yu. Yu gained global recognition after his mentor Whilce Portacio submitted a sample of his works to Marvel. Since then, Yu has worked on the stories of Marvel characters Wolverine and Fantastic Four, and on comic book series Secret Invasion and Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. Aside from his comic book works, Yu was part of a Guinness World Record attempt dating April 9, 2011 for the Fastest Production of a Comic Book and Most Contributors to a Comic Book. A proud Pinoy moment indeed!
Carlo Pagulayan. This Industrial Engineering graduate, who calls himself Guisadong Gulay in his DeviantArt profile, was involved in the development of Marvel’s Planet Hulk storyline. One reason to look forward to Thor: Ragnarok in July? Part of the movie's plot is based on Planet Hulk!
Gerry Alangulian. He launched a thousand memes when he made a video of him smiling naughtily and repetitively. But prior to being a viral star, Alanguilan earned his fame through his self-published comic book Elmer. The book is a story about chickens gaining human intelligence, which reminds us of George Orwell's 1984. Elmer was praised by many, including Sandman author Neil Gaiman, and won the French ACBD Prix Asie (Asia Prize for Criticism) Award in 2011.
Stephen Segovia. Stephen considers his work as the best job in the world and it shows. An illustrator since he was 16, he has shown uncanny flexibility throughout his career to draw a wide variety of characters. From a talking dog during his Funny Komiks days to Superman for DC Comics, this illustrating genius has done it all.
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Banner artwork by Jana Jimenez. Photographs from comicvine.com and news.abs-cbn.com