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Ultimate throwback to PH’s first comics mag

After the World War II, cartoonist Isaac Tolentino and Atty. Jaime Lucas of Universal Bookstore in Azcarraga Avenue, Manila, now known as Claro M. Recto Avenue, realized the potential in comics for entertainment and relief from the war. This gave birth to the first Filipino comics magazine Halakhak Komiks in 1946.

Halakhak Komiks, literally translated as “Guffaw Comics” or “Laughter Comics,” was a 42-page weekly publication, the first regularly published comics magazine in the Philippines. The first issue with 10,000 copies was published on November 15, 1946.

Due to the shortage of paper after the war, the first few issues were printed half the size of a regular bond paper and were sold at 25 centavo per copy. Later on, it was published as a regular-sized comic book at 40 centavos per copy.

Among the Filipino cartoonists who contributed to Halakhak Komiks were Tony Velasquez (Father of Tagalog Comics), Larry Alcala (posthumously conferred the National Artist for Visual Arts title and the Grand Collar of the Order of National Artists), Francisco V. Coching (Dean of Filipino Illustrators), Liborio Gatbonton, Fred Carillo, Francisco Reyes, Jose Zabala Santos, Hugo Yonzon, Pedro Coniconde, and Lib Abrena.

Halakhak Komiks published ten issues before the company closed in 1947 due to the management’s lack of experience in the comic book industry’s business aspects, ineffective circulation and marketing strategies, non-paying comic book agents and distributors, and financial distress.

Halakhak’s end was followed by the release of more comics anthologies such as the Pilipino Komiks, Tagalog Klasiks, Espesyal Komiks, and Hiwaga Komiks all from Ace Publications with Tony Velazquez as its general manager and editor-in-chief.

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