Long live comedy: Digital comics immortalizes iconic Filipino comedians

March 13, 2019 - 2:15 PM
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Comic book cover
Cover of the comic book "The Comedians Reborn" that reimagines iconic Filipino comedians still alive and creating jokes. (Photo from Alan Czar Santos)

Artist Alan Czar Santos created a digital comic book that pays tribute to some of the most iconic Filipino comedians and entertainers who played a significant role in Filipino culture.

“The Comedians Reborn” reimagines a world where comedians like Dolphy, Babalu, Rene Requiestas, Redford White, Panchito, Kuya Germs, Bentong, Tiya Pusit, Elizabeth Ramsay, Blakdyak and Tado are still alive and making jokes.

Santos shared the first 19 pages of the comic book on its Facebook page that he created days after Chokoleit, another well-known comedian, succumbed to pulmonary edema and heart attack.

The artist created the comic book to honor the “talented, astonishingly funny and brilliant late comedians” in the industry who have made a significant impact on Filipinos’ lives.

“I just want to create a world or universe that the late actors will be alive again. In that perspective, we wont [sic] forget them and their contribution will always be remembered,” one of his captions reads.

While he recently posted his comic book on Facebook, Santos said that he has been researching about it since January 2019.

“Nag-research a[ko] [ng] maigi and carefully to know if the comedians ay totoong patay na then put the whole concept na malagay sila lahat to give tribute to them,” he shared in an interview.

The comic book artist also said that he plans to incorporate elements of fantasy “involving Filipino myths and folklore.”

In another interview, Santos said that the first volume would consist of Dolphy, Babalu and Rene Requiestas fighting off against Filipino mythical creatures like a manananggal, kapre and bakunawas.

Comedy in Philippine culture 

Comedy has always been part of Filipino culture, particularly in the entertainment industry during the ’80s and ’90s.

According to a report, two of the most constant types of humor usually witnessed on local shows and movies where most iconic comedians have earned recognition are slapstick and toilet humor.

Slapstick comedy involves some form of physical violence where the actors are hit, tripped, punched and tricked to the delight of the audience.

Film historian Nick Deocampo reasons that this type of comedy is appealing to Filipinos since it is easy to grasp and understand.

“Andaling intindihin. Kapag binatukan mo yung isang tao dahil mali-mali siya, natutuwa tayo diyan,” he said.

It was the same genre of comedy that had earned Dolphy the title “King of Comedy,” particularly in the longtime-running sitcom “John En Marsha.”

Toilet humor, meanwhile, refers to vulgar phrases intended to be funny. It also refers to jokes in matters that are considered “previously unmentionable in polite society.”

“May references siya sa mga ginagawa nating sagrado at pribado sa loob ng toilet. So nakakatawa [ang ganitong komedya] kasi taboo siya,” Deocampo explained.

He also shared that the secret to comedy is the person’s ingenuity or creativity, regardless of a genre.

“Kapag nawala ang inventiveness sa comedy, hindi na nakakatawa. Kaya may masasabi tayo na mga ‘comic genius’ kasi yun ang mga tao na always inventive,” Deocampo said. — Featured image from Alan Czar Santos