Alex Niņo Alex in California, 2004
Photo by Dell Barras

Updated Nov 22, 2006

Alex Niņo: A Lust for Experiment ALEX NIÑO
A LUST FOR EXPERIMENT
ART and ARTIFICE
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Alex Niņo
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Alakdang Gubat ISOLATION The Monstrous Waves The Sacrifice Doomsday Gruaga Villa Venganza Friends

Alex Niño Mini Galleries
Goomba Tap Dancing on a Tender Cerebellum Alex Niņo's KATUPARAN


Alex Niño wanted to become part of the komiks industry at a very young age. In fact, seeing the  burgeoning industry in the late 1940's... it became an obsession. As a newspaper boy deliving comic books and newspapers door to door, he was exposed to the work of the popular strip artists at the time including Hal Foster and Milton Caniff, and the work of Nestor Redondo, Francisco Coching, Alfredo Alcala from the comics.

Getting work was frustrating for the young Alex, forcing himself to conform with the generally accepted "house styles" just to get jobs. Although he counts pretty much everybody working in komiks as his influences, his love for fantasy indicated a unique and unfettered imagination. The lust to experiment brought him at odds with editors, who would freak when he turned in artwork that simply went over their heads. One editor even went to the extent of telling Alex to just go to the US where his style would be better appreciated.

In 1965, Alex got a crack at novels when the late Clodualdo del Mundo commissioned him to illustrate the novel "Kilabot ng Persia" for Pilipino Komiks. The novel suited Alex's style perfectly. More novels followed, almost all of them in the fantasy-horror genre: Dinoceras by Marcelo B. Isidro, Maligno by Amado S. Castrillo (Both for Redondo Komix), Tsangga Rangga for Mars Ravelo (Espesyal), Mga Matang Nagliliyab again for Isidro (Alcala Komix).

In 1966, Alex got the chance to write and illustrate his own comics-novel "Gruaga", serialized in Pioneer Komiks.  It enabled Alex to elaborate and experiment and produce stunning visual effects that were to be his trademark. He would revisit the world of Gruaga many times later in his career, most notably "The Dark Suns of Gruaga" Porfolio (1978).

Alex had developed a calligraphic style which gave his artworks a rhythmic and flowing quality. Even when he illustrated several novels by Pablo S. Gomez for the PSG Publications- novels in the drama genre which requires the usual, straightforward style- Alex was able to put to use the unique rendering style and achieve for each novel the individuality which he intended.

The prevailing drama trend in Philippine komiks-magazines however, denied Alex better public acceptance of his works. At the first opportunity, he grabbed the chance to illustrate for American comic books. He accepted commissions from such US Publishers as DC, Gold Key, Marvel, Educational Classics and Peterson. He pencilled the first Black Orchid story for DC and inked some of the Tarzan Sunday strips of the King Features Syndicate.

Among the numerous horror-mystery works for DC, outstanding were Captain Fear, Korak and Space Voyagers. For Marvel, he worked on Conan, Man-Gods, and the memorable (and controversial) story, Repent, Harlequin, Said the Tick Tock Man.

Today, Alex is still very much active in comics with a quick succession of assignments ranging from Bliss on Tap's God The Dyslexic Dog, iBook's The Orc's Treasure, Marvel's Incredible Hulk, and Image's Frankenstein Mobster.



Reference: 
A History of Komiks of the Philippines, 1985
Comic Book Artist Magazine Vol. 2, #4, 2004