Marvel Entertainment has released its tribute to Filipino comic book creator, artist, and inker Gerry Alanguilan.
Alanguilan passed away on December 21, 2019.
In an article detailing his Marvel Comics legacy–from his work with fellow Filipino comics legend Leinil Francis Yu on Wolverine #121 to Ultimate Avengers, Superior, up until the recent Star Wars series–they stated:
We all mourn the loss of a great man and offer our thoughts to his family and friends at this difficult time. We will always remember and celebrate his incredible artistry.
Alanguilan started his international career with Image Comics, collaborating with Whilce Portacio on Wetworks. Prior to this he gained cult fame for his self-published (read: photocopied) comic series Wasted, which ran from 1994 to 1996. PULP Magazine would later serialize this from 2000 onwards, and is now available online for free.
At the height of his career in the mid-2000s, he would take a break from international work to focus on self-published stories, the most notable of which was Elmer (2006), about a sentient chicken struggling for equal rights. After bring released internationally, Elmer would go on to win the Association of Critics and Journalists of Comics, Prix Asie and the Prix Quai des Bulles awards in 2011, both in France. The title was also an Eisner Award nominee for Best New Graphic Album.
He has been a major force in the Filipino ‘komiks’ industry, having been the major driving force behind the San Pablo Komiks Museum and the San Pablo Comics Festival. He was also involved in the restoration of the works of the late Francisco Coching, including the reissue of the latter’s El Indio comics in graphic novel form.
Alanguilan, together with with Yu, has also done work for DC in the form of the Mark Waid-penned Superman: Birthright (2004). Elements of Birthright would later on appear in 2013 film Man of Steel, which both Waid and Alanguilan have publicly criticized for its treatment of the Superman character.
Of course Alanguilan would also be remembered online as the” Greatest Man on the Internet” for his “Hey Baby” meme, which is best watched than described:
In his last blog entry, he wrote:
It probably would be a lie to say that I’m doing OK. Well, physically that is. It’s such a constant struggle everyday. I have to admit it’s really difficult. Thankfully, it hasn’t gotten in the way of me thinking creatively. As long as I stay in my room and not have to go out for interviews and events and things, I will have enough energy to do the work of creating comics. But sometimes it’s so hard. Sometimes I have to lie down. But when I have to do that, I think of stories. I think of things to write down. I create characters. All this has really forced me to live a simpler life. Which I never thought I wanted or needed in my life. Not having to go to Manila and meet people, even here in San Pablo. Just staying home with me and my creativity. It’s what I need. And I’m really starting to enjoy it.
As much as Alanguilan’s passing is mourned by comics fans all over the Philippines and the world, his legacy to Filipino komiks remains. Internet memes included.