Today, we reclaim history in favor of Jess Jodloman, a very talented, prominent, and significant Filipino artist!
It may be argued that I should devote a whole column (and perhaps I will) one day to the Filipino Invasion of comics in the 1970s. That was a time when Filipinos drew many books - mostly horror and suspense books - where the most famous names were most probably Alex Nino and Alfredo Alcala.
|"Isolation" by Alex Nino. Image from Gerry Alanguilan.|
|Alfredo Alcala's Voltar. Image from Gerry Alanguilan.|
In the 1990s, of course, one of the leading artists - and one of the founding fathers of Image - was Whilce Portacio:
Currently, undoubtedly one of the industry heavyweights today is Leinil Francis Yu:
And Gerry Alanguilan, first and foremost on the komiks scene in the country, is having his graphic novel Elmer published by Slave Labor Graphics in November:
However, I want to reclaim history this time in favor of Jess Jodloman, whom I met last Saturday at the Metro Comic Convention. There were some booths where artists were selling some folios, and while I hadn't heard of Jess at the time (I am not as up-to-speed on Filipino comics as I would like to be), his work definitely caught my eye.
He was very near the Alfredo Alcala exhibit, and I love Alfredo Alcala, and here was work that captured the same kind of detail, the same kind of realism, with the same kind of quality. Here was Jess Jodloman, whom I'd never heard of, but thought that at that moment I should absolutely, definitely look into. So Peachy and I bought a folio.
Jess Jodloman worked in komiks from 1954 onwards, and really turned the heads of the Filipinos at the time with his "Ramir" in Bulaklak Komiks. "Ramir" was a heroic fantasy series, which was so popular at the time that it was made into a movie.
Unfortunately, ask anyone today to give you the list of important Filipino artists of the time, and you'll more often than not get the same answers: Ravelo. Alcala. Redondo. Jess Jodloman would likely get omitted, which is a damn shame, because look at that.
In 1965, he trained Alex Nino, who is also more well-known than he is at this point, having done a lot of internationally renowned work, including for Disney.
And in the seventies, Jodloman was one of the Filipino artists recruited by Joe Orlando to work on fantasy and horror titles! Along with Alcala and Abe Ocampo and Tony DeZuniga, Jodloman produced work that appeared in Weird War Tales, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, Weird Mystery Tales, Kull the Conqueror, and The Savage Sword of Conan. Unfortunately, that time period and the horror comics it was producing at the time has never been of great interest to me, since I thought that if I were going to try to pursue the genre, I should just look at EC Comics. Things like "Vampires Gold" is making me really reconsider.
|Image from Gerry Alanguilan|
Jodloman's barbarians has been compared to Frank Frazetta's, which is undoubtedly an honor for anyone who wants to work on barbarians and swords and sorcery type stuff.
I'd compare him more to Barry Windsor-Smith and John Buscema as it pertains to his ability to portray things very realistically. I mean, look at that horse!
Because I went to the Metrocon, I am now officially a Jess Jodloman fan. He was there at the frontlines, folks, and he was awesome. It was a great and wonderful pleasure to meet him and shake his hand, and I'll be scouring the bins at cons for more of his work in the future.
According to Kurt Busiek over at the Conan message boards, you can find Jess Jodloman's American work in the following comics:
ALL-OUT WAR #6
ELVIRA'S HOUSE OF MYSTERY (DC) #3, 6
GHOSTS #22, 81, 83
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #226, 234, 238, 242, 243, 246, 247, 251, 254, 257, 261, 268, 284, 288, 311.
HOUSE OF SECRETS #108, 152
KULL & THE BARBARIANS #2
MARVEL CLASSICS COMICS #16 (Ivanhoe), 18 (The Odyssey)
SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #8
SECRETS OF HAUNTED HOUSE #12, 14-16, 30, 38
SECRETS OF SINISTER HOUSE #13, 15
UNEXPECTED #159, 176, 190, 194, 195, 210
WEIRD MYSTERY TALES #9, 10, 13, 15
WEIRD WAR TALES #32, 33, 38, 46, 79, 80, 120
According to the Comics Journal, restoration for Ramir is underway. Good!