Nestor Redondo was born in Candon, Ilocos Sur, in the Philippines in 1928. From a very early age he drew comics, influenced by American comics such as 'Tarzan', 'Flash Gordon', 'Buck Rogers' and 'Superman'. Because his elder brother, Virgilio, was already a comic book artist, his parents felt that he should take up architecture instead. After trying it for a year, Nestor Redondo turned to drawing comics anyway. His first professional job was with Bulaklak Komiks. It soon became apparent that Nestor was a better draftsman than his brother, and Virgilio turned his talent to writing comics instead. The two of them teamed up and produced popular series like 'Palos', 'Tagisan ng Agimat' and 'Diwani ang Gagamba'. Nestor's popularity really skyrocketed when he was commissioned to illustrate the blockbuster series 'Darna', written by Mars Ravelo, in the early 1950s.
By the late 1950s, Nestor Redondo was illustrating for several comic books at the same time, Pilipino Komiks, Tagalog Klasiks, Hiwaga Komiks and Espesial Komiks. Each of these books came out bi-weekly, and Nestor would have two or more series going at the same time on any of these four titles. Nestor Redondo did all the penciling and inking himself. Besides doing dozens of pages every week, he also made a lot of book covers.
The Creep in the Caboose (Unexpected #155, 1974)
By the early 1960s, Ace Publications, the biggest comic book publisher in the country, started having financial problems. Eventually they closed their doors, and Nestor and other artists, including Tony Caravana, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Fernandez, Amado Castrillo and brother Virgillio, founded CRAF Publications, Inc. They started their own comic books, but that too faltered after a few years. Fortunately, the talents of Nestor Redondo were noticed by American editors from D.C. and Marvel Comics, through Tony De Zuniga.
He took over 'Swamp Thing' from Berni Wrightson (1973-76), and over the years worked on just about all D.C. titles, especially 'Rima, The Jungle Girl' (1974-75). He also contributed to the war (Our Army At War, G.I. Combat, Weird War Tales) and mystery titles (House of Mystery, House of Secrets). From 1972, he made comic adaptations of novels for Pendulum Press ('Davy Crockett', 'Dracula', 'Sherlock Holmes'), contributed 'Conan' stories to Marvel's The Savage Sword of Conan magazine, and worked on a variety of Christian comics. Redondo opened a studio that featured other Filipino artists like Alex Niño, and worked on serials like 'Tarzan' and 'Ragman', under supervision of Joe Kubert.
Swamp Thing #21, 1976
By 1978, Redondo settled in California and worked in animation. After working on some independent projects, he moved on to do storyboards for Marvel's animation department. Redondo's comics work of the 1980s includes inking 'Aztec Ace' for Eclipse Comics, and drawing 'Solarman' for Marvel and 'Newstralia' for Innovation Comics. In 1979 he received the prestigious Ink Pot Award at the San Diego Convention.
Nestor Redondo was a gentle man who was always approachable for aspiring young artists who wanted advice or encouragement. In spite of all the awards and accolades he received (which always made him uncomfortable), he remained one of the humblest people. When he sadly passed away in 1995, a void was felt throughout the comic book industry.