Fifty Shades of Philippine Art: Francisco V. Coching
by Andrea Peterson
Illustrator and master storyteller Francisco V. Coching left his indelible mark on the visual arts of an era, in a career spanning forty years and over sixty komiks novels, including Hagibis, Barbaro, El Indio, Lapu- Lapu, Talipandas, Dimasalang, El Vibora, and many more. His work, encompassing historical epics, action adventure, gritty urban thrillers, romance, comedy, has led him to be described as the “Dean of Philippine Komiks Illustrators.” Almost all of his stories in komiks were adapted into successful films from major Philippine studios.
This book, lavishly illustrated with illustrations and excerpts from Coching’s komiks, is a concise yet thorough exploration of his life and development as an artist: from his childhood years, following his father to work at Liwayway magazine; to his komiks debut as the
fifteen-year-old creator of Bing Bigotilyo in 1934; to his creative and productive peak in the 1950s and 1960s; to his retirement in 1974, and his final years and enduring legacy as a National Artist for Visual Arts and a master of Philippine comic art.
During the golden age of Philippine komiks from the 1940s to the 1960s, Francisco V. Coching stood out as one of the single greatest influences on the popular imagination of Filipinos. He inspired generations of his peers in komiks and the younger artists who would
succeed him. Many artists of later decades were first drawn to the visual arts by Coching’s works. His mastery of visual storytelling, composition, and movement shone through on every page and in every panel.
But more than his skill and technique, what made his works memorable was their quintessential Filipino-ness that allowed readers to see themselves in even the most dramatic and larger-than-life characters.
In this book, the biographical details of his life and his influences as an artist are interwoven with discussions of the notable themes and recurring elements of his work. It is illustrated with a rich selection of excerpts from Coching’s komiks novels, character sketches, magazine covers, illustrations, and more, to give us a concise yet substantial picture of his legendary career in komiks.
About the Author
Andrea L. Peterson has read and studied comics for most of her life. She took interdisciplinary studies at Ateneo de Manila University, and earned her master’s degree in creative writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman. For her master’s thesis, she submitted a section of her own graphic novel. She edited for the Philippine Journal of Education, a teacher’s magazine founded in 1918 by Dean Francisco Benitez. She is currently a development editor at Vibal Group of Companies.
About the Series
Fifty Shades of Philippine Art is a series of affordable and concisely written books on the lives and works of major Philippine artists, whether fine, modern, or folk.