An Aficionado’s Rave on Comics From the 1940s and Beyond

Nov 13, 2012 by

The First Iloilo Comic Con is slated on December 2, 2012 at Robinsons Place Iloilo. We’re sure that a lot of Ilonggos, both young and old, are already looking forward to this event. In the next weeks, we will be posting more details on what to look forward to during the event both here in our blog and in our Facebook page.

Iloilo Comic Con 2012


Also, we’re happy to have the privilege of sharing this article with the permission from the author himself – Augusto Surtida. Mr. Surtida finished a Fine Arts degree from The University Of Santo Tomas and has worked for various international organizations like The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC). A student of history, pop culture, and literature, he is enjoying his retirement in Naga City, Camarines Sur. Read on his personal accounts of how Comics (local and imported) progressed in the Philippines since the 1940s. Read on, we’re sure you will enjoy reading his vast knowledge on Comics and his personal experiences on hunting and finding these Comics back in the day.

“MAKE MINE EC! Memories of a Comics Aficionado from the Far East” by Augusto Surtida.

Being a former colony of the United States, the Philippines imbibed its politics (liberal democracy), language (English), aspirations, trends, fashion, and pop culture.

Pop culture was exemplified by Hollywood, sports, recording artists, books, paperbacks, magazines, Sunday funnies, and comic books.

The second world war disrupted all these. But when Douglas McArthur came back in 1945 to keep his promise (“I shall return”) and liberated the Philippines, the good times rolled on.

With the post-war boom, the foreign imports were back with a vengeance. As a baby boomer (born in 1947), I was also a sucker for foreign imports, particularly US print publications including comic books.

As a young child, I was already fascinated by the graphic medium called comics. I could already discern great artworks and drawings, which fueled my choice of comic books to buy and collect.

At first it was the Sunday funnies which were reprinted by local broadsheet newspapers. I always looked forward to weekends because of the comic strips: Tarzan (drawn by John Celardo), Lil Abner, Nancy, Johnny Hazard, Mandrake the Magician, Prince Valiant, The Lone Ranger, The Phantom, Terry and the Pirates, the Spirit, etc., were some of my regular fix during weekends.

celardo tarzan


The Fifties

As the fifties progressed, I turned my attention to comic books. There was a wide variety to choose from. Classics Illustrated, EC, DC, Atlas, Harvey, Dell, etc. They were sold in stores, newsstands, and kiosks on street corners that also sold US magazines: Life, Look, Saturday Evening post, Ladies Home Journal, Colliers, Argosy, Saga, National Geographic, etc. Classics Illustrated was the most expensive. They sold for 50 centavos (exchange rate then was 1 US dollar to 2 pesos).

My favorites, though were the EC publications with the titles Vault of Horror, Tales from the Crypt, Frontline Combat, Two-fisted Tales, etc. I wasn’t much on the superhero genre although I read them, too. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Plastic Man, Shazam, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, The Fly, etc.

My interests were westerns, horror, sci-fi, adventure war stories, and the classics. Samples of these were Lash La Rue, Tom Mix, Rocky Lane, Roy Rogers, Kid Colt Outlaw, Two-Gun Kid, Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke Western, Billy the Kid, Sheriff of Tombstone, Outlaws of the West, Combat Kelly, and Lorna the Jungle Girl.

Read the full article here.

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