Niño in May 2009
May 1, 1940 |
Tarlac, Luzon, The Philippines
Early life and career
Alex Niño was born May 1, 1940 in Tarlac on the island Luzon, The Philippines, the son of a professional photographer. Niño studied medicine briefly at the University of Manila before leaving in 1959 to pursue his childhood goal of becoming a comics artist. In 1965, after studying under artist Jess Jodloman, Niño collaborated with Clodualdo del Mundo to create the feature "Kilabot Ng Persia" ("The Terror of Persia") for Pilipino Komiks. Niño and Marcelo B. Isidro later created the feature "Dinoceras" for Redondo Komiks. Other Valry Philippine work includes the series Gruaga - The Fifth Corner of the World for Pioneer Komiks; the feature "Mga Matang Nagliliyab" ("The Eyes that Glow in the Dark") with Isidro for Alcala Komiks; and for PSG Publications, stories of Bruhilda Witch, which were adapted into movies.
Niño was among the vanguard of Philippine comics artists — including Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, and Gerry Talaoc — recruited for American comic books by DC Comics editor Joe Orlando and publisher Carmine Infantino in 1971, following the success of the pioneering Tony DeZuniga. Niño's earliest U.S. comics credit is penciling and inking the nine-page story "To Die for Magda" in DC Comics' House of Mystery #204 (July 1972) written by Carl Wessler. Niño was soon contributing regularly to such other DC supernatural anthologies as companion title House of Secrets and Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion, Secrets of Sinister House, Weird War Tales, Weird Mystery Tales, and The Witching Hour. He also drew the jungle-adventure feature "Korak" in some issues of DC's Tarzan. Except for one story for Gold Key Comics' Mystery Comics Digest #17 (May 1974), Niño, who moved to the U.S. in 1974, drew comics exclusively for DC through the beginning of 1975.
With writer-editor Robert Kanigher, Niño created DC's 19th-century Caribbean-pirate protagonist Captain Fear in Adventure Comics #425 (Dec. 1972). Niño and writer Jack Oleck created the science-fiction feature "Space Voyagers" in Rima, the Jungle Girl #1 (May 1974).
After drawing some house ads and a frontispiece for two of Marvel Comics' black-and-white comics magazines, Niño teamed with writer-editor Roy Thomas on a 17-page adaptation of the Harlan Ellison short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" in the black-and-white Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #3 (May 1975). This led to a 30-page Conan the Barbarian tale, "People of the Dark" in The Savage Sword of Conan #6 (June 1975), also with Thomas, and a 23-page adaptation of the Michael Moorcock novel Behold the Man, with writer Doug Moench in Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #6 (Nov. 1975).
Niño signed a contract with Ralph Bakshi to work on the film Wizards, and was granted a work visa, but was unable to gain permission from the Philippine government in order to leave for the United States until two months afterward. By the time he had arrived in the U.S., not only had the film's animation been completed, but Niño's visa did not allow him to submit freelance work on any other projects.
Niño made his color-comics debut with the company with Marvel Classics Comics #2 (1976), adapting with writer Otto Binder the H. G. Wells novel The Time Machine. Niño would draw adaptations of Moby-Dick and The Three Musketeers as well, but did little else for Marvel's color comics, inking two issues of the Luke Cage series Power Man and a "Weirdworld" story in Marvel Premiere #38 (Sept. 1977).
Warren and Heavy Metal
Niño instead found his niche in the mature-audience horror and science-fiction/fantasy fare of Warren Publishing's black-and-white comics magazines Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and HM Communications' pioneering Heavy Metal, a color comics magazine that blended imported European art-comics with new American work. From 1977 through 1984, Niño drew numerous stories, covers, and incidental art for those publishers, mixed with very occasional stories for DC Comics' supernatural-anthology titles, and some minor work for the short-lived Archie Comics superhero titles The Comet and Shield - Steel Sterling.
Later 1980s work includes issues of DC's Thriller and The Omega Men, New Comics Group's Asylum, World of Young Master Special, and Demon Blade, and Fantagor Press' Den. Niño both wrote and drew a single-issue occult adventure, Alex Niño Nightmare #1 (Dec. 1989), for Innovation Comics.
Later life and career
Essentially leaving comics for four years, Niño returned to do minor work for Dark Horse Comics' Dark Horse Presents, Continuity Comics' Shaman and Big Entertainment's John Jakes' Mullkon Empire #4, and to re-team with writer Roy Thomas for the 37-page Conan the Barbarian story "Lions of Corinthia" in The Savage Sword of Conan #228 (Dec. 1994). Leaving comics again the following year, Niño returned in 1999 to write and draw a story each in Quantum Cat Entertainment's Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated #7-8 (July & Sept. 1999).
After another hiatus from comics, during which time he worked on designs for the Walt Disney Pictures animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), Niño returned to draw Bliss on Tap Publishing's single-issue God the Dyslexic Dog #1 (July 2004). Image Comics announced in 2008 that Niño would draw the three-issue miniseries Dead Ahead, by writers Mel Smith and Clark Castillo.
Comics artist Whilce Portacio was influenced by Niño, saying, "I was exposed to Alex Niño's super-stylized artwork and that had a major influence on me. The design sense and the limitless imagination of Alex Niño really got me inspired to let my creative side imagine new worlds and characters.
Book-cover / interior illustrations for:
- Satan's Tears: The Art of Alex Nino (The Land of Enchantment, 1977)
- Alex Niño Drawings (Stuart Ng Books, 2005)
- The War of the Worlds (Illustrated Classics) (Now Age, Pendulum Press, 1974)
- Weird Heroes: Vol. 1 (Berkley Publishing Group, 1975)
- Weird Heroes: Vol. 3: Quest of the Gypsy (Pyramid Books, 1976)
- Moby Dick (Pendulum Press / Now Age Illustrated, 1973) ISBN 0-88301-099-2, ISBN 978-0-88301-099-0
- Reissued (Educational Insights, 1998) ISBN 1-56767-235-3, ISBN 978-1-56767-235-0
- Graphic Classics Volume 3: H. G. Wells (Pendulum Press / Now Age Illustrated, 1974)
- Reissued (Eureka Productions, 2002) ISBN 0-9712464-3-2, ISBN 978-0-9712464-3-0
- Rebel Spy (Be an Interplanetary Spy) (Bantam Books, 1984) ISBN 0-553-24198-2, ISBN 978-0-553-24198-3
- The Vulgmaster (Tales of the One-Eyed Crow) (Roc, 1991) ISBN 0-451-45088-4, ISBN 978-0-451-45088-3
- The Orc's Treasure (I Books, 2006) ISBN 0-7434-7943-2, ISBN 978-0-7434-7943-1
- The Art of Alex Niño (Auad Publishing, 2008) ISBN-978-0-9669381-6-6
- Sketchbook Alex Niño (Auad Publishing, n.d.)
- Comics Buyer's Guide #1485; May 3, 2002; Page 29
- Alex Niño at the Lambiek Comiclopedia
- Lim, Ed, ed. "Alex Niño 1940-". M-Q [Filipino comics creators], Komikasa.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011.
- Barras, Dell (Undated). "Alex Niño". Media-Blastoff.net. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. (Scroll down to text.)
- Duncan, Matthew J.; Smith. "The Power of Comics: Filipino Artists". Archived from the original on March 16, 2012.
- Duin, Steve (October 27, 2008). "Alex Niño: King of the Mountain". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008.. Additional WebCitation archive.
- Manning, Shaun (July 21, 2008). "Not The Love Boat: [Mel] Smith on 'Dead Ahead". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on December 24, 2010.
- Ong Pang Kean, Benjamin (October 19, 2006). "Celebrating 120 Years of Komiks from the Philippines I: The History of Komiks". Newsarama. Archived from the original on December 24, 2010.
- Sketchbook Alex Niño (full book) at Issuu.com, June 14, 2009
- Alex Nino (official site)
- Alex Niño at the Grand Comics Database
- Alex Niño at the Comic Book DB
- Weems, Erik. "Alex Nino 1973: House of Mystery #212", Art & Artifice (fan site), January 25, 2006. WebCitation archive.
- Tan, Budjette. "Komikeros: The Filipino Contribution to the Comic Book Medium, Part 1: 1970s-1980s:, Comic Book Resources #26, October 30, 2003. WebCitation archive.