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Who wants to make a Superhero?
COMIC BOOK ARTISTS TAKE TIME OFF FROM
THEIR DRAWING BOARDS
TO TELL US HOW IT’S LIKE TO BRING LIFE
Interview by Ronan Callueng
Photos by Vincent Coscolluela
HIS WORKS include inking jobs on Whilce
Portacio’s Wetworks and Stone, Marvels, Fantastic Four, Wolverine, and
X-Men, and Superman. He has written and drawn the seminal Wasted, along
with Humanis Rex, and the ongoing Elmer. Gerry Alanguilan is one of the
forerunners in the recent wave of Filipino talents who have entered American
Gerry has lovingly put together an
online museum on his own website, www.komikero.com with a section crammed
with biographies and archived works of landmark Filipino artists, such
as Tony de Zuniga, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Alex Niño, among
many others, who went stateside and practically took over the mystery,
horror, western and war genre of DC comics, including the best selling
titles Tarzan, Swamp Thing, Korak and Jonah Hex (which de Zuniga co-created).
Why do you think are we fascinated by people
who are able, through their strength, idealism, and passion, rise from
the ordinary. Most of us are compromised people with compromised ideals,
and heroes, for the most part, don’t believe in compromise. They achieve
what they want simply by standing firm with their ideals.
What makes our local superheroes unique?
What make them distinctly Filipino would
be the stories and how the characters are characterized. The series are
written to appeal to uniquely Filipino sensibilities, with a penchant for
melodrama, and an underdog syndrome – formerly weak individuals become
With the improvement of technology, did
the process of creating comics change?
I started working comics in 1992 here in
the Philippines. For those too young to remember, we did have computers
back then, but they were hardly used at all in graphics, least of all in
Fifteen years later, technology today
has pretty much transformed the process of creating comics. I still keep
a small book where I write my ideas by hand. I would then write the script
on the computer. I still draw and ink on paper, and occasionally still
letter by hand, but for some projects I use the computer to letter pages
with handwritten fonts. I color pages completely on the computer now using
Your own comic creations are quite impressive,
although most deal with non-superhero themes. Why so?
I do think my inclinations tend to go in
the direction of non-superhero stuff. I’ve really nothing against heroes,
but I would like to explore heroism in other, less obvious ways. My upcoming
project probably deals with the most overt kind of superheroism. The Marvelous
Adventures of the Amazing Dr. Rizal is an alternate look at our national
hero, speculating what he would have done had his life gone a different
Would Gerry Alanguilan make a good superhero?
No. Ha! Ha! Power will corrupt me absolutely.