In today’s Filipino artist spotlight: Creepy and Black Dynamite artist Jun Lofamia and one-time American comics contributors Mike Lombo and Angel Magpali.
Author’s Note: Readers who have been following me on Tumblr will know that I’ve recently started a series of weekly posts highlighting the the “Filipino Wave” artists who worked on the horror, sci-fi, western, war, fantasy, and sword-and-sorcery comics published by DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Warren Publishing, and other outfits in the 1970s and 1980s. Today’s column is a collection of the most recent posts in the series.
As with all the art I post in this blog, the images below are being shared in the spirit of fair use.
Jun Lofamia (a.k.a. “Lo Famia,” “June Lofamia,” “Jun Lofamin,” and “June Quin-Lofamia”) got his start in the Philippines’ komiks industry in the late 1960s, working as a regular spot illustrator and cartoonist for the popular weekly Liwayway magazine.
Lofamia was among the first Filipino Wave artists to be hired by DC Comics, with his first three American works—an inking job for a back-up story in an issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen and two pencil-and-ink jobs, one a six-page story in House of Secrets, the other a four-page short in Secrets of Sinister House—all appearing on the stands within the same month in the late summer of 1972.
Lofamia had what could be described as a “classic” Filipino comics style early in his career somewhat reminiscent of the work of Filipino Wave pioneer Nestor Redondo.
He gradually developed a more distinct personal style to his figures and rendering by the mid-1970s, however, and it isn’t difficult to see the influence of contemporaries such as E. R. Cruz and Rudy Florese in works such as the story below, from The Witching Hour #52 (March 1975):
It wasn’t until Lofamia started working for Warren Publishing in the early 1980s, however, that American readers were able to see the breadth and depth of his abilities. Warren’s black & white comics anthology magazines were a perfect showcase for his continued evolution as an artist. Among Lofamia’s best works during this period are his illustrations for the Bruce Jones-penned “Nefites,” a featured story from Creepy #134 (January 1982) reproduced below:
Lofamia continued to contribute to Liwayway throughout his stint in American comics and after the American comics work dried up for all but the most popular and adaptable Filipino Wave artists in the mid-1980s. In the late 1990s, he was hired by Fox Animation Studios. Lofamia (under the name “Jun Lofamin”) worked as a layout artist for the 1997 animated feature film Anastasia and its 1999 direct-to-video spin-off, Bartok the Magnificent. Still working under the “Jun Lofamin” name, he also served as one of the visual development artists on the 2000 animated feature film Titan A.E.
Lofamia made his return to American comics in 2010 by illustrating the 48-page Black Dynamite one-shot written by Brian Ash and published by Ape Entertainment as a tie-in to the eponymous blaxploitation action-comedy film starring Michael Jai White.
He would reunite with Brian Ash and Black Dynamite not too long after, illustrating the fourth issue of the Black Dynamite miniseries published by IDW in 2014 as a tie-in to the Black Dynamite animated TV series.
Jun Lofamia’s American comics bibliography (excludes reprints):
- “Slave Island”: Black Dynamite #1 (2010), Ape Entertainment
- Black Dynamite #4 (August 2014), IDW Publishing
- A Christmas Carol (1978), Pendulum Press
- “Nefites”: Creepy #134 (January 1982), Warren Publishing
- “Angel Hair Wine!”: Creepy #135 (February 1982), Warren Publishing
- “The Consumers”: Creepy #136 (March 1982), Warren Publishing
- “Dreamworld”: Creepy #138 (June 1982), Warren Publishing
- “Mummy, Jr.”: Creepy #140 (August 1982), Warren Publishing
- “Candle in the Wind”: Creepy #141 (September 1982), Warren Publishing
- “Public and Private Surveillance”: Eerie #120 (April 1981), Warren Publishing
- “Bloodcycles”: Eerie #121 (June 1981), Warren Publishing
- “Ms. Liberty”: Eerie #129 (February 1982), Warren Publishing
- “The Gray Ghost”: Ghosts #79 (August 1979), DC Comics [note: credited as June Lofamia]
- “Friends To The End”: House of Mystery #284 (September 1980), DC Comics
- “The Sacrifice”: House of Secrets #101 (October 1972), DC Comics [note: credited as June Lofamia]
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1974), Pendulum Press [reprinted in 1976 by Marvel Comics as Marvel Classics Comics #3]
- The Merchant of Venice (1981), Pendulum Press
- “Crimson Oasis”: Secrets of Haunted House #25 (June 1980), DC Comics [note: credited as June Lofamia]
- “The Legend of the Tiger’s Paw”: Secrets of Haunted House #32 (January 1981), DC Comics [note: credited as June Quin-Lofamia]
- “As Long As You Live… Stay Away from Water!”: Secrets of Sinister House #7 (October-November 1972), DC Comics [note: credited as June Lofamia]
- “And Time Goes On… ”: Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #153 (October 1972), DC Comics [note: inks only]
- “Two Graves For My Corpse”: The Unexpected #182 (November-December 1977), DC Comics [note: credited as June Lofamia]
- “If This Boy Is But to Live..!”: Weird Mystery Tales #7 (August-September 1973), DC Comics [note: inks only]
- “The Head That Haunted Gerald Hess!”: The Witching Hour #42 (May 1974), DC Comics [note: inks only]
- “Flowers For Your Funeral”: The Witching Hour #52 (March 1975), DC Comics
- “Cassandra’s Curse”: The Witching Hour #54 (May 1975), DC Comics [note: credited as Lo Famia]
Mike Lombo made his name in Philippine komiks in the 1960s on the strength of his work on National Classic Illustrated—a line of graphic novel-style adaptations of classics from Filipino and international literature—and the religious-themed Lives of Saints comics, both lines published by domestic retailer-publisher National Book Store (examples of his Filipino work can be seen here and here).
A meticulous draftsman whose hyper-detailed inking style draws comparisons to the work of the great Alfredo Alcala, Lombo’s sole foray into American comics was for Marvel Comics affiliate Curtis Magazines, an eight-page pencil-and-ink job that appeared in Giant-Size Chillers #1 (February 1975) that doesn’t really do justice to his abilities.
Angel Magpali (a.k.a. Sonny Magpali) is primarily known as a romance comics artist in his native Philippines (examples of his romance comics work can be viewed here). He had the briefest of stints in American comics: His sole contribution was a one-page “The Day after Doomsday!” filler that appeared in DC Comics’ Weird War Tales #123 (May 1983).
Magpali was much more productive in the TV animation industry—in the late 1980s, he worked as a layout artist on The Smurfs and Paddington Bear.