Hal Santiago

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HAL SANTIAGO’s name is synonymous with the komiks novels “Pinoy Houdini”, “Talim”, and “The Hands”. The Hands won for him the award for Best Written and Illustrated Novel by an Artist from the komiks contributors’ association, WIKA, in 1984. The three aforementioned novels were all written by him when he joined Graphic Arts Service, Inc. (GASI) in the 1970s.

Santiago, who started his komiks career in 1958 as an illustrator, won the Best Illustrator Award in 1980, his first, also from WIKA – for his artistic visualizations of various novels. These novels, all written for GASI by various writers include: “Sun God” by Pablo S. Gomez, “At Saka Natin Itanong sa Diyos” by Carlo J. Caparas, “Isang Minutong Kasalanan” by Elena M. Patron, and “Medusa” and “Unica” by Jim M. Fernandez.

It was a very young Santiago who had for many years vowed to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Harold Foster, the distinguished American comics artist who illustrated Tarzan in 1929, then proceeded to carve a niche for himself in the international comics world as the creator of Prince Valiant. Indeed, Santiago idolized Hal Foster so much that he changed his own name to HAL. In 1958, Santiago wrote Foster about his desire to learn the ropes of komiks illustration and, inspired by Foster’s swift and sincere reply, immediately sent out for the komiks publishing houses to give his talent a try.

He illustrated short stories for Manila Klasiks until he was commissioned by Gil Evangelista to illustrate Bert Tablan’s novel, “Puso sa Puso” for Screen Komiks. His first komiks novel was “Tatlong Hari” for United Komiks, written by Rene Rosales and published by PSG Publishing House. As a class A Illustrator with Atlas Publications, he had teamed up with Jim M. Fernandez, Vic J. Poblete and Carlo J. Caparas. He illustrated Danilo Roman’s memorable novel, “Shanghai Joe”.

It was while he was with Atlas that Hal Santiago tried his hand at writing, and came up with “Huling Umaga” which he himself illustrated. Of Hal Santiago, writer Jim M. Fernandez had this to say: “I consider him as the Raphael of Komiks Illustrators”. [1]

Published Works