The underappreciated artist was born 97 years ago…

The late Alfredo Alcala — born 97 years ago on Aug. 23, 1925 — was among the big-time Filipino comics artists who made the U.S. scene in the 1970s. He was never a superstar on these shores but he was a hell of an artist whether he was a penciller or inker.

As with so much in my comics life, I first became aware of Alcala’s work through Batman: He was an especially superb inker over Don Newton’s pencils.

I’m 99 percent certain they only did interiors together, so here is a 13 SPLASH PAGES birthday tribute, featuring their outstanding 1980s collaboration on the main Batman title. (They also did some work together on Detective Comics, but that’s for another time.)


Batman #365

Batman #362

Batman #354

Batman #371

Batman #366. Written by Doug Moench. Not a full splash but close enough. Besides, this is the climactic moment of Jason Todd’s first turn in the classic Boy Wonder costume — before he was even officially Robin.

Batman #378

Batman #368

Batman #355

Batman #377

Also from Batman #365

Batman #374

Batman #378. Written by Moench.

Batman #357


— SWEET SUMMER SUN: Dig These Great Bronze Age AUGUST Comics. Click here.

— SUPERMAN and BATMAN Give You a Hilarious Blast of Summer. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Funny enough, just yesterday I had a conversation with a Facebook friend about Alcala’s inks of John Buscema’s “Savage Sword of Conan” work! He screen-capped an article saying that John didn’t like other inkers on his work, outside of himself and his brother. Which is a shame, because Alfredo Alcala made his Conan stuff look so LUSH and vibrant! Truly a talented embellisher!

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    • Yes, as unique as it is to see him inking Newton, a favorite of mine (and I’m very glad you made me aware of it, because I didn’t know), but really the best highlighting of Alcala to me, is showing his work on Buscema’s Savage Sword of Conan work. I was amused, yet not surprised when I first read that Big John didn’t like Alfred’s inking on his work. He thought it messed it up. I think he even used the word “garbage”. That’s ok. The two together were pure art.

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  2. Happy birthday to the late Mr. Alcala. I know him mostly for his “Masters of the Universe” art style.

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  3. I think that Alfredo did enough of his own art for comics that some of it should have been included.

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    • Our galleries usually have a specific theme. The beauty of it is that each year it can be different!

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  4. I love Alcala’s inks over Newton. They meshed really well, which isn’t true of everyone he inked, because Alcala could be pretty heavy-handed and change a penciler’s art pretty drastically. But he and Newton were of a similar style in a lot of ways, and the result was the work of both artists shined through. I knew Alcala from the Masters of the Universe mini-comics that came with my figures, and could recognize his work over Newton.

    This era of Batman is heavily overlooked. It’s when I first started REALLY getting into the subplots and buying every single issue of Batman and ‘Tec off the stands, so I have soft spot for the Conway/Moench eras, with lots of Newton and Gene Colan pencils. Although I did get a bit sick of Nocturna and The Thief of the Night after a while.

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  5. Don Newton is my All-Time Favorite Batman artist, part of the reason is because of Alcala’s inking.
    The Perfect combo.

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