Nestor Malgapo


NESTOR MALGAPO was born in Barrio Baluarte, Gapan, Nueva Ecija.  Impoverished at a young age, he sold comics to pay for his grade school education.  He admired the many artists who worked on those comics, specially Francisco V. Coching, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Elpidio Torres, etc. (He never dreamed that one day he himself would be part of the comics he were selling.)

He finished high school with the distinction of being awarded “Artist of the Year”.  He was able to work immediately in Manila as a sign painter of billboards and passenger buses.  He then worked as a stripper/cameraman for a printing press which had been printing Extra Komiks and Romansa Komiks.  It was here he saw artist Felipe Ilag, working in the printing press trying to meet a deadline drawing “Asuwang”, written by Mars Ravelo.  This was Nestor’s first exposure to the professional world of comics illustration.  He had believed that comics were drawn with the help of machines when in fact they were all drawn by hand, a fact that left quite an impact on him.  From that time on, he decided that he too will be a comics illustrator.  Nestor made several sample drawings and shopped them around the comics companies.  But because the art directors of those companies were very strict and exacting in their standards, it took Nestor a year of study and practice until he was finally given a break drawing “Walang Mukha” written by Tony Ma. Alcaraz for Sinderela Komiks.  That was the start of what would be a long career in drawing comics for many different publications.

When Nestor showed sample drawings to PSG Publishing House, he was assigned a comics-novel right away with the script “Ikaw Pa Rin Ang Hahanapin”, written by PSG publisher himself, Pablo S. Gomez.  Nestor wondered if he could try working for other publishers so he tried sending samples to the editor-in-chief of Pilipino Komiks, Inc. (which eventually became Atlas Publishing Co., Inc.), Mars Ravelo.  Ravelo gave him a break by letting him illustrate several short stories before granting him a whole novel entitled “Kaibigan Ko’ng Sto. Nino”, written by Antonio S. Tenorio.

So impressed was Ravelo by Nestor’s work that when Ravelo left Pilipino Komiks, Inc. to establish RAR Publishing House, he brought Nestor with him to illustrate almost all the comics-novels he wrote here.

Prolific, Nestor was able to work with Clodualdo del Mundo at Liwayway Publications, Tony S. Velasquez at Graphic Arts Service, Inc., as well as GMS Publishing Corporation and Rex Publications, Inc., and literally almost other existing publication at the time.

In the 1970s, comics illustrators organized to form HAND (Huwarang Akbayan ng mga Nagkakaisang Dibuhista) in response to unfair working conditions, primary of these were being underpaid.  Nestor was one of those who founded the organization and served as president in the 10 years of the group’s existence.  HAND was able to champion the cause of the illustrators and resulted in beneficial privileges and recognition from the publishers the importance of the comics illustrators to the industry.  The success of HAND resulted in the formation of the UAP or the United Artists of the Philippines, a much larger organization with a much larger membership encompassing writers, illustrators, letterers as well as colorists.

Nestor became president of the SPIC or the Society of Philippine Illustrators and Cartoonists after Nestor Redondo relinquished his position as president when he left to work in the United States.

When DC Comics publisher Carmine Infantino and Editor Joe Orlando arrived in the Philippines accompanied by Tony de Zuniga in the 1970s to look for talents to work for DC, Nestor was one of only eight hired to work as penciller/inkers.  Nestor worked on some of the many mystery titles DC were currently publishing including Ghosts, House of Mystery, The Unexpected and GI Combat.  He was also able to ink Teen Titans, as well as Neal Adams’ Megalith for Continuity Comics.

Nestor tried to study animation as well.  He became layout artist for Island Animation headed by fellow illustrator Abe Ocampo.

Nestor established the Dynacoil Home Study Art School, an art correspondence school, to help young Filipinos and the out of school youth to develop their interest in art.  Comics Illustration is just one among the many art courses that the school teaches.  Many of those who have studied under Nestor have found success in many aspects of art, specially in the field of animation here and abroad.

Nestor learned to write comics scripts as well, and he has been able to draw many of his own stories in Atlas and Ace Publications, Inc.

Nestor is currently serving as a design supervisor for the local television channel of a religious organization.

Published Works