Kenkoy, by Tony Velasquez

Tony Velasquez' career as a comic artist spanned the birth, development, and triumph of the comic industry in the Philippines. Born in Paco, Manila, Tony Velasquez created the first serialized Filipino cartoon strip, 'Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy' ('Kenkoy's Antics') in 1928. It first appeared on 11 January 1929. Arguably the most influential comic strip in the Philippines, 'Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy' opened the floodgates that started the tradition of cartoon strips in the Philippines. During his years as a comic artist, Velasquez created more than 300 cartoon characters some of whom became household names in Filipino homes, such as 'Kenkoy', 'Tsikiting Gubat', 'Talakitok', 'Talimusak', 'Ponyang Halobaybay', etc.

cover for Philipino Komiks, by Tony Velasquez

In 1947, Velasquez founded Pilipino Komiks, the comic book that started the comic industry in the Philippines. Under the Ace Publications, Velasquez founded the Tagalog Klasiks, the Hiwaga Komiks and the Espesyal Komiks, all of which became bestselling comic books. In 1962, Velasquez founded the Graphic Arts Service Inc., or GASI, which published popular local comic books such as Pinoy Komiks, Pinoy Klasiks, Aliwan Komiks, Holiday Komiks, Teens Weekly Komiks, and Pioneer Komiks. As a pioneer and innovator of the Filipino comic industry, the influence and contribution of Velasquez to Philippine comics culture can hardly be exagerrated. Upon his death in 1997, Velasquez was already recognized as the "Father of the Philippine Komiks".

Tony Velasquez

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