|Born||Alfredo P. Alcala
23 August 1925
Talisay, Negros Occidental, Philippines
|Died||8 April 2000 (aged 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Savage Sword of Conan
|Awards||Inkpot Award, 1977|
Alcala was born with a creative interest in designing. He was hooked on comic books in his early childhood, and his interest continued throughout his life. He was so compelled with art that he would start drawing pictures and begin posting them in his school’s hallways. Alcala was so determined to pursue his career in art that he dropped out of school as a young teenager to do so. He first received his break by doing various commercials and painting signs. Later, he began working in an ironworker’s shop, designing household materials like lamps, household furniture, and showed his excellence in craftsmanship by designing a church pulpit.
The biggest honor of his childhood came when he started drawing cartoons during the Japanese occupation in World War II. He acted as a spy for the American forces not even having intentions on doing so. Alcala would draw pictures and give them to the leader of the American unit which would help them in the war.
Alcala admired many different comic book artists during his time. He was so inspired by Lou Fine‘s works that he started working in the world of comic books in October 1948, starting with an illustration in one of the local comic magazines called Bituin Komiks. At the end of the year, he would find himself doing many works for Ace Publications, which was the biggest publishing company in the Philippines.
At that time, Ace Publications was the publisher of four comic books (Filipino Komiks, Tagalog Klassiks, Espesial Komiks and Hiwaga Komiks), with each featuring some of Alcala’s work. Working with the company helped him develop many opportunities and expand his career. He took the challenge and made a good living by doing so. Alcala never used assistants to complete his work. He said, “I somehow felt that the minute you let someone else have a hand in your work no matter what, it’s not you anymore. Its like riding a bicycle built for two.”
Alcala became a star of the Filipino comics scene. He was so famous that a comic magazine was named after him, the Alcala Komix Magazine. Alcala introduced himself to the American comic universe when he created the comic book Voltar in 1963, which was a major success. Alcala won numerous awards and became a worldwide attraction, which led him to work for DC Comics in the early 1970s, doing horror and fantasy titles. He also helped recruit up-and-coming Filipino artists such as Alex Niño. With his newfound success in the United States came a plethora of assignments; he moved to New York in 1976.
In the early 1980s, he moved on to take part in the art more suitable for his creative niche. Alcala went on to pencil popular comic books such as Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian. He also inked Don Newton‘s pencil artwork in Batman.
By 1990s, his booming career and popularity led him to different projects, including drawing animations for films. Alcala also illustrated the novel Daddy Cool written by the late Donald Goines. He also worked on Swamp Thing for DC, which marked his return to the comics business. His contributions spanned several genres, including superheroes, horror, and fantasy.
On April 8, 2000, Alcala died from cancer in Southern California. He was survived by his wife, Lita and two sons, Christian Voltar and Alfred Jr.
- Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics, 1974)
- Conan the Barbarian (Marvel Comics, 1975; as inker (with John Buscema as penciller)
- Adventures on the Planet of the Apes (Marvel Comics, 1976-1977; an adaptation of the second, third and fourth movies of the Planet of the Apes series)
- ^ Spurgeon, Tom. “Alfredo Alcala, 1925-2000,” The Comics Reporter (May 30, 2000). Accessed Feb. 13, 2009.
- Alfredo Alcala at the Comic Book DB
- Alcala’s son’s website, with tributes to Alcala
- Alfredo Alcala (posted May 5,2000)
- Alfredo Alcala bio at Lambiek.net’s Comiclopedia