What makes your prized Filipino komiks memorabilia auction-worthy? We asked a top auction house 2
A page from Tony Velasquez's "Album ng Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy" and Larry Alcala's Slice of Life Christmas Shopping. Photos from Leon Gallery
Culture

What makes your prized Filipino komiks memorabilia auction-worthy? We asked a top auction house

Provenance is key to what makes for an “auctionable” rarity from the golden years of Filipino komiks   
ADRIAN MARANAN | Jul 10 2021

Because of the unfaltering popularity of foreign comics such as DC, Marvel, and Japanese “manga,” and the unstoppable innovations in animation technology, the traditional Pinoy komiks have become increasingly rare in Philippine pop culture. Some will even say forgotten in the Filipino psyche. Komiks were representative of a distant past where Filipinos of all ages and demographics poured their interest into their own literature.

Because of the rarity of collectible komiks ephemera, León Gallery is delighted to partake in the reintroduction of these enduring classics to the present generation through its León Exchange Online Auction 20. The upcoming auction features works of legendary komiks masters Tony Velasquez, creator of Kenkoy and considered Father of the Tagalog comics; and Larry Alcala, the man behind Kalabog en Bosyo, and an astute observer of Filipino culture as seen through his Sunday magazine editorial, “Slice of Life.” 

What makes your prized Filipino komiks memorabilia auction-worthy? We asked a top auction house 3
Velasquez’s “Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy,” the most influential Philippine comic strip, paved the way for the tradition of cartoon strips in the country.

With the burgeoning of komiks collectors and connoisseurs, here are a few notes on acquiring collectible komiks rarities from the country’s premier auction house: 

1. Focus on the trailblazers.

As a pioneer and innovator of the Filipino komiks industry, the influence and contributions of Tony Velasquez to Filipino pastime and pop culture cannot be underestimated. Velasquez witnessed the birth of komiks, its progress, and eventual triumph. Similarly, National Artist for Visual Arts Larry Alcala, because of his comprehensive understanding of the role of cartoons in education and values formation, “spiced up the slices of Filipino lives” through his cleverly humorous illustrations.

What makes your prized Filipino komiks memorabilia auction-worthy? We asked a top auction house 4
Velasquez’s “Ponyang Halobaybay” is an embodiment of our materialistic tendencies still prevalent in contemporary times. 

2. Bag the ones that have stamped their identity in Filipino culture.

Velasquez’s “Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy,” the most influential Philippine comic strip, paved the way for the tradition of cartoon strips in the country. Kenkoy, its main character, has become an influential figure in Filipino pop culture and reflected our enduring, if outdated, penchant for making fun of carabao English. His komiks were peppered with such phrases as “Haw is yu?” “Weitaminit!” “Ledis en Dientelmen.” The term kenkoy itself has been widely accepted in Filipino colloquial language to refer to a joker or a humorous person. Meanwhile, Velasquez’s “Ponyang Halobaybay” is an embodiment of our materialistic tendencies still prevalent in contemporary times. 

Alcala’s classic “Slice of Life” marked a decades-long series of widely circulated images of Filipino everyday living. It became an avenue for his followers to find themselves among ordinary individuals caught in a typically Pinoy vignette or mise en scène. “Slice” mirrored the many distinctive facets of the Filipino lifestyle, such as the depiction of a hectic holiday shopping rush that will resonate with many.

What makes your prized Filipino komiks memorabilia auction-worthy? We asked a top auction house 5
Pages from Velasquez’s “Ponyang Halobaybay” 

3. Get your hands on those that have authentication and good provenance.

It is important to note that the  komiks on offer at the upcoming Leon auction are not tear sheets from published comic books nor comic strips in various periodicals—they are original works that were signed and dated by the artists themselves. 

All the komiks included in the highly anticipated León Exchange have been authenticated by the heirs of Velasquez and Alcala. Both “Kenkoy” and “Ponyang” are accompanied by certificates issued by the Velasquez estate confirming their authenticity. The genuineness of “Slice of Life Christmas Shopping” and “Untitled” were verified by none other than Lauro Alcala, Jr., Larry Alcala’s son. In fact, “Untitled” was a gift by the artist to its present owner before it was entrusted to León Gallery.

What makes your prized Filipino komiks memorabilia auction-worthy? We asked a top auction house 6
Pages from Velasquez’s “Ponyang Halobaybay” 

“There are important factors to be considered in comics collecting in terms of authenticity,” says Leon Gallery director Jaime Ponce de Leon. “Provenance plays the key role. Should there be a lack of provenance for reasons that the pieces were found in some garage sale, then the confirmation of authenticity by the artist’s respective authority must be sought. Hence we make sure that these factors are always regarded.” 

What makes your prized Filipino komiks memorabilia auction-worthy? We asked a top auction house 7
“Ponyang” komiks included in the León Exchange are accompanied by certificates issued by the Velasquez estate confirming their authenticity.

If you’re looking to get hold of the abovementioned important komiks collectibles, these items are included in Day 1 (The Collector’s Vault) of the León Exchange 20th Online Auction on July 16, 2021 at 11 AM. You may bid online at www.leonexchange.com and visit the lots during a week-long preview from July 12 to 15, Monday to Thursday, 9 AM to 7 PM, at Warehouse 14, La Fuerza Compound, Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. An open house will be held on July 11, Sunday, 2 PM, at the same venue. 

For further inquiries, email info@leon-gallery.com or contact +632 8856 2781/+639985172010. For updates, follow León Gallery on their social media pages: Facebook - www.facebook.com/leongallerymakati and Instagram @leongallerymakati.