Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Emil Rodriguez in Treasure Chest

Comics drawing like painting or other forms of illustration and art are as distinctive as one's own handwriting. As a student of comic art, I can pretty much tell who the illustrator is at a glance, well, that is if I have seen and studied the work before. I have, of course, studied the art of Philippine comic illustrators, and so it was easy to find their illustrations in the boxes and boxes of comics at Book Castle here in Burbank, where I got most of my collection. It was on one such occasion that I happened to see the cover art of a strange comics, one that I would have passed up, were it not for the fact that the illustration on the cover looked so distinctively like the work of Emil Rodriguez, an artist I admired and collected back in Manila. The comics was called Treasure Chest (see image of that cover), an educational comics. And sure enough the illustration was by Emil Rodriguez - and he also illustrated the story inside. Upon a more thorough search, I found four Treasure Chest with his illustrations. I have not found any since; apparently these comics are quite scarce.
I first saw Emil's work in the pages of Bulaklak magazine, but if I my memory serves me right, his first work in ACE publications was a short story, in a style reminiscent of Francisco V. Coching, but a smoother, stylized version. He was one of only a few Philippine comic illustrators who was influenced by Coching (as opposed to the many influenced by Redondo). He later on developed his own distinctive style, clearly different from Coching, but employing the dynamic layouts, figures and action typical in Coching's work. He became one of the top Philippine illustrators, but unfortunately, he left for the U.S. never to be seen again in Philippine comics. So, it was with much delight to see his work in the pages of Treasure Chest. My collection of his early work, including his magnificent work in Kenkoy Komiks were, unfortunately, all destroyed in a flood. And so here they are, Emil Rodriguez from the pages of Treasure Chest. Also for more on this artist also known as Emilio D. Rodriguez, check the link directly below this posting.