Rudy Florese at work
Rudy O. Florese

Born Rodolfo Obrero Florese on April 20, 1946 to Nicolas and Cecilia in Sto. Domingo, Nabua, Camarines Sur, Rudy is one of the recognized artists in Philippine comic book history.  Known to his eight siblings as the most quiet in the family, Rudy began showing his artistic inclinations since his early childhood.  He started whittling and making his own toys at the age of five at the silong of their old house.  He would spend a whole day there, going up the house only at meal times or when wounded.  He is more of a sculptor, he said.  And one day, he would become an architect. 

 The family transferred to Manila where Rudy began school at Legarda Elementary School and later, at Dr. A. Albert Elementary School.  At Ramon Magsaysay High School, he took night classes to allow him to work during the day.  At a time when his friends and classmates enjoyed life playing among themselves, Rudy wrote and drew his first comic book Argado, which he finished in December 1959.  At 17 years old, he began his career in comics when an editor noticed his potential during his apprenticeship.  It was during this time when he started drawing several short stories for Aksyon Komiks, and eventually, illustrated the novel Tres Cruzes, written by actor Leopoldo Salcedo. After graduating from high school in 1966, he enrolled at Mapua Technical Institute to pursue his dream of becoming an architect.  But there were other priorities.  There were financial setbacks and his career in comics proved lucrative enough to help the family. 

Korak, Son of Tarzan drawn by Rudy Florese

It was for this reason that he opted for a full-time career in the industry. He decided to enroll at the College of Architecture and Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City where he took up Commercial Advertising.  He needed it more, he said.  College provided more room for growth as an artist.  As president and founding member of the U.P. Artists Guild, he was an inspiration to classmates who he helped when trouble with plates arose, especially in Anatomy classes.  His classmates were amazed to see one of their own easily pushes his quill during lunch breaks to meet deadlines.  At this time, he was drawing novels like Bart Salamanca and Linda Maligna.  The latter was for Pinoy Komiks. He was also doing several short stories for Mga Kuwento ni Kenkoy, by the father of Filipino Komiks, the late Tony Velasquez, who popularized the stories of Kenkoy at Rosing.  As a student, he participated in traveling exhibits with his classmates and professors. 

Exkirmus by Rudy FloreseRudy was married on November 14, 1970 and started to build a house in San Pablo City.  After living in Marikina for a few years, he and his wife settled in San Pablo since 1973.  He worked for various publishing houses here and abroad. Through fellow comics artist Nestor Redondo, who was in the United States at the time, Rudy was able to secure work with D.C. Comics. He did Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Korak, Son of Tarzan.  He also contributed to Now Age Books Illustrated series of classic stories by Pendulum Press Inc.  He did The Mutiny on Board H.M.S. Bounty, by William Bligh and The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy.  At the same time, he was also contributing to local comics through G. Miranda & Sons, Graphic Arts Service Inc., and Atlas Publications.  Among these was the …At Sumanib ang Langis sa Tubig, one of the long-running series about a Filipina governess in Italy who has a love-hate relationship with her employer.  Several of the more notable works he did were Chowbar, Iguana, Luluhod Ka at Mananalangin, Voltar, Parang Kaning Isusubo, and Jessa, Blusang Itim 2.  Rudy also loved writing novels and drawing them himself. These include Boy Escombro, which is about an overseas construction worker who experienced life in Saudi Arabia; Exkirmuz, Street Warrior, a post-Apocalyptic story of a man who struggled to fight the chaos and evils brought by the aftermath of a nuclear war; Oras Mo Na, is a story of a vigilante who fought child sexual abuse committed by foreigners, and; Meridiana, the tale of a very beautiful witch and her black magic.  This last novel was unfinished, though. it had such a dark and evil story that he just cannot continue doing it.

Aside from his work as a comic book artist, a father, and a husband, he found time to organize the youth of Brgy. San Nicolas in the early 1980s.  He had many activities with them including basketball leagues, Santacruzan, beach parties, and Christmas activities.  He also served as barangay treasurer from 1988 to 1991. 

He temporarily changed address to join his daughter, and later his son, in Metro Manila who started college.  While in there, along with various comics projects, Rudy tried his hands in animation. He worked as layout artist at Island Animation.  He also drew covers for local romance pocket books. 

Unable to work after suffering two strokes between 1995 and 1999, Rudy returned with his family to San Pablo City where he resided until 2003.  He passed away a little after 1pm on April 4, 2003. He was 56.


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