Sunday, December 12, 2010
FRANK REDONDO, PIONEERING PINOY ILLUSTRATOR SUCCUMBS TO CANCER
Frank Redondo was one of the pioneering Filipino illustrators who penetrated the American comics scene in the 1970s. He passed away this afternoon at age 68.
(At left, Frank Redondo)
He was the last of the Redondo brothers who made their mark as world-class illustrators and helped blaze a trail for hundreds of Filipino artists now employed by the cartoon and animation outsourcing industry.
“Hilig na niya talaga mag-drawing,” recounts his widow Aurora.
“He was a runner for his brother so I think it was inevitable he would take up the pen as well,” she explained.
Frank was drawn into the trade by his older brother Nestor who was an illustrator for Liwayway and Bulaklak, two competing Tagalog magazines that featured serialized comics.
Their family hails from Candon, Ilocos Sur and Tuguegarao, Cagayan.
It turns out I shared some threads with Frank.
I just learned Frank’s brother was also a colleague in my days as a reporter for the Philippine Star.
Dando Redondo was a tabloid reporter and longtime member of the Defense Press Corps (DPC), and we would often pound our stories side-by-side on those old manual typewriters
Frank also drew many of the “Sgt. Rock” comics that I grew up with, a constant companion while following “Combat” when TV shows were still in black and white.
Through his elder brothers, he got a chance to work as a penciller and inker for DC Comics.
Aside from “Sgt. Rock”, Frank also worked on hundreds of editions of “Ghosts”, “Ragman”, “House of Mystery” and “Witching Hour”, among others. His name is enshrined in the roster of DC Comics artists.
“He was being paid in dollars,” Aurora says about those early days drawing for DC Comics in Manila, which perhaps prompted them to go on an "adventure" settling in Virginia in the early 90s.
“We wanted to see how it feels like living in America because everybody was saying how nice it was here,” she explained.
His brothers Nestor and Virgil had earlier immigrated to California.
After they arrived in the US, Aurora would rib Frank’s use of his nickname. “Tawag ko sa kanya Kiko. Biro ko, nandito ka lang sa America, Frank ka na,” she recounts affectionately.
Frank would sometimes sign his works “Quico”, a humorous retort to her teasing.
His sense of humor was one of his most endearing traits, Aurora said.
Frank had earlier suffered from congestive heart failure and aneurysm, she revealed.
He may have been in frail health but he didn’t show it. He was cracking jokes as usual at last month’s 20th anniversary celebration of Manila Mail, where he helped with advertising sales.
Aurora said he checked into the Inova Hospital in Alexandria last Thursday but they were surprised to learn he had advanced lung cancer, succumbing to the killer disease within days.
It was his wish, Aurora says, for his body to be brought home to the Philippines to be buried next to his brothers and mother.