So soon after we lost Tony DeZuniga, we lose another great Filipino comics illustrator. Ernesto “Ernie” Chan, also known previously as Ernie Chua. Ernie worked extensively for American comics specially on titles like Conan, Kull, Batman, Doctor Strange and so many more. For a period of a few years in the 70s, Ernie did a lot of covers for DC comics.
I met Mang Ernie for the first time during the San Diego Comic-con, although I’ve been corresponding with him via email for a number of years. To be honest, I couldn’t recall how I felt because I was kind of shellshocked during that time. It was also the first time I met Alex Niño, and to be in the same room with him and Mang Tony, and Mark Waid, Whilce Portacio was also there… my mind probably just blew a fuse.
I am saddened to hear of Mang Ernie’s passing. I heard from Tina DeZuniga that Ernie had been feeling sick during that convention, and he found out he had cancer soon afterwards. It’s sad to lose one, but it’s truly crushing to lose so many in such a short amount of time.
But Mang Ernie lived a full life. He had accomplished a lot. There was a point in time that he was one of the hottest artists working comics. DC wouldn’t give you the honor of drawing so many cover on their mainstream titles if you weren’t so well regarded. He deserves to be remembered and recognized as someone who contributed positively to the image of Filipinos and their talents worldwide.