Alfredo Alcala
Alcala in 1977.
BornAlfredo P. Alcala
(1925-08-23)August 23, 1925
Talisay, Negros Occidental, Philippine Islands
DiedApril 8, 2000(2000-04-08) (aged 74)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Area(s)Penciller, Inker
Notable works
Savage Sword of Conan
Swamp Thing
AwardsInkpot Award, 1977
Inkwell Awards Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA) (2021)[1][2]

Alfredo P. Alcala (August 23, 1925 – April 8, 2000) was a Filipino comics artist, born in Talisay, Negros Occidental in the Philippines. Alcala was an established illustrator whose works appeared in the Alcala Komix Magazine. His 1963 creation Voltar introduced him to an international audience, particularly in the United States. Alcala garnered awards in science fiction during the early part of the 1970s.[3]


Alfredo Alcala's lifelong interest in comic books began in childhood. He dropped out of school in his early teens to pursue a career in art, initially as a sign painter and commercial artist. Subsequently he took employment in an ironworker's shop, designing lamps and household furniture, as well as a church pulpit. During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II he drew revealing pictures of their gear and position for the American forces.[4]

Inspired by the work of Lou Fine and other cartoonists, Alcala commenced his comic book career in October 1948, beginning with an illustration in Bituin Komiks (Star Comics). By the end of the year he was drawing for Ace Publications, the Philippines' largest publishing company. Ace was the publisher of four titles (Filipino Komiks, Tagalog Klassiks, Espesial Komiks, and Hiwaga Komiks), each featuring his work. Ukala (1950) was one of his first major comics.

Though his career rapidly expanded, Alcala never used assistants to complete his work. He said, "I somehow felt that the minute you let someone else have a hand in your work no matter what, it's not you anymore. It's like riding a bicycle built for two."[5]

He eventually became a star of the Filipino comics scene, so famed that a periodical bore his name, the Alcala Komiks Magasin. In 1963 he created the comic book Voltar whose titular character predated Frazetta's interpretation of Conan the Barbarian which bore a more than passing resemblance. Voltar became an award-winning success at home and abroad. Alcala's mature artistic style reflected his interest in the woodcuts and etchings of Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer and the drawings of Australian illustrator Walter Jardine and U.S. illustrator Franklin Booth which bore the look of engravings. He has also cited the work of British artist Frank Brangwyn as a major influence.

Fellow cartoonist Tony DeZuniga was the first Filipino artist to relocate to the United States to work for DC Comics in 1970, followed by Nestor Redondo and Gerry Talaoc.[6] In 1971 Alcala began a decade of work for both DC and Marvel Comics on horror and fantasy titles,[7] eventually moving to New York City in 1976.[4] He was one of the artists on the licensed movie tie-in series Planet of the Apes[8] and also helped recruit up-and-coming Filipino artists such as Alex Niño to U.S. publishers. In 1975, Alcala and writer Jack Oleck created Kong the Untamed for DC Comics.[9] Later that year, Alcala drew Marvel Treasury of Oz, a comics adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz.[10] Alcala joined Warren Publishing in 1977 and drew 39 stories for that publisher from 1977 to 1981. His series Voltar was reprinted in issues #2–9 of The Rook.[7] Alcala executed 12 five panel comic strips for the men's magazine Adam.[citation needed] The strip, Terra O'Hara, was written by Donald (Don) F. Glut and it appeared in 12 successive issues of Adam from December 1979, through November 1980.[citation needed] In the early 1980s he penciled the Star Wars newspaper strip.[11] In 1983 he teamed with the penciller Jack Kirby on Destroyer Duck from Eclipse Comics. and around that same time he also inked comic books such as Conan the Barbarian over John Buscema's pencils and inked Don Newton's pencil artwork in Batman.[7]

With the failure of DC's and Warren's horror titles in the 1980s, many of the Filipino contributors turned to the field of animation in California, and in the 1990s Alcala followed suit. He also illustrated the novel Daddy Cool written by Donald Goines. His last work in comics was for Paradox Press' The Big Book of Thugs in 1996.[7]

On April 8, 2000, Alcala died from cancer[4] in Southern California. He is survived by his wife Lita and two sons, Christian Voltar and Alfred Jr.


Alcala received an Inkpot Award in 1977.[12] In 2021, he was awarded the Inkwell Awards Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA) (2021).[1][2]

Selected bibliography

Comics work (interior pencil art, except where noted) includes:

DC Comics

Eclipse Comics

Marvel Comics

Warren Publishing


  1. ^ a b First Comic News - 2021 INKWELL AWARDS VOTING RESULTS
  2. ^ a b 2021 Winners - Inkwell Awards Official Site
  3. ^ "Alfredo Alcala". Lambiek Comiclopedia. July 29, 2012. Archived from the original on April 29, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Evanier, Mark (May 5, 2000). "Alfredo Alcala". News From ME. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016.
  5. ^ Spurgeon, Tom (May 30, 2000). "Obituary: Alfredo Alcala, 1925-2000". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "Filipino Artists". The Power of Comics. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Alfredo Alcala at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 166. ISBN 978-0756641238. Marvel launched a new black-and-white magazine based on Twentieth Century Fox's Planet of the Apes movies in August [1974]. Doug Moench was the principal writer, and artists included Mike Ploog, Tom Sutton, Alfredo Alcala, and George Tuska. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Writer Jack Oleck and artist Alfredo Alcala focused on a primitive, powerful theme with which to depict the prehistoric warrior Kong in his debut issue: a growing son's bond with his mother. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Abramowitz, Jack (December 2012). "The Secrets of Oz Revealed". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (61): 29–32.
  11. ^ Horton, Cole (July 17, 2015). "From World War to Star Wars: Comic Books". Archived from the original on September 29, 2015. While comic fans know him for his legendary speed at drawing a page, Star Wars fans might be more familiar with his work on Han Solo at Stars' End, a syndicated strip adaptation of Brian Daley's novel. The strip with Alcala's art ran in newspapers in 1980 and 1981.
  12. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.

Further reading

Preceded byKlaus Janson Batman inker 1982–1985 Succeeded byTom Mandrake Preceded byJohn Totleben Swamp Thing inker 1986–1990 Succeeded byPeter Gross