I’ve been remiss in updating this page with classic Pinoy komiks art. Since I have a bit of a break, I thought I’d go and scan a few pages from Tagalog Klasiks #338, cover dated June 16, 1962. As with any Filipino comic book of this era, it’s a bi-weekly anthology containing 5-6 four to five page installments of on-going serials or one shots. In this particular issue, “Underpass” by writer A.S. Vel and illustrator Nestor Redondo debuts.
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One can immediately see the quality and detail of the art, and one would think that it’s a story that would carry the entire comic book. And yet, this story is tucked in the back, just one among many quality stories from the likes of Clodualdo Del Mundo and Ruben Yandoc, Pablo Gomez and Fred Carrillo, and another Nestor Redondo story with his brother Virgilio.
I chose to feature Underpass to showcase the artwork of Nestor Redondo, who did a particularly spectacular job in this story. In 1962, he was still in the process of refining and simplifying his work, and you can see extraordinarily detailed faces and backgrounds. It’s also a bit of a time machine as well, as we see the story told in the backdrop of the construction of the historical Quiapo underpass. We can see how Quiapo church and its surroundings and how they looked like in 1962. We can see what people wore, what they rode on, and other little details that shed light on popular culture at the time. I find it interesting seeing a swastika in one of the panels of page 5.
If one of the purposes of art is to give expression and representation to a country’s identity, culture and history, then this particular comics story has been successful in doing just that.