At first, I was totally impressed by the sketch that Romeo Tanghal, Sr. did for me. It was stunning. I thought I was looking at my reflection in the mirror… it’s really me – I would strike that pose many times without even knowing it.
Then I got his profile. I almost fell of my chair.
I have a nephew who loves comic books and comic characters. He keeps telling us about the Filipino artists at DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Little did I know that I am going to have the honor of being acquainted with one of them. There was a time when I did not even know that Comic Con means Comic Convention. This is too exciting for me. My son, my 2 nephews, and one niece are all agog over these comic characters. Even my sister’s 5-year-old grandson already loves Thor, Green Lantern, and Flash Kid. They are all going to have a kick when they see Romeo’s drawings.
I have the honor of having my portrait done by a celebrity – whom fans would line up at Comic Conventions just to get his autograph.
Romeo Tanghal, Sr., a native of the Philippines and a self-taught artist, started comic books illustration at an early age. He migrated to the USA and earned fame when “The New Teen Titans”, a comic book he was assigned to work on, with writer Mary Wolfman and penciler George Perez, became the best-selling comic book at DC Comics.
Though a freelancer, DC Comics offered him an exclusive contract with better pay and fringe benefits, usually offered only to regular employees – plus royalty to his works.
Due to the speed at which he was doing his job, DC Comics assigned him to work on other comic books, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and many more. After 8 years of working under contract, DC Comics gave him permission to work outside the company. That was when publishing companies such as Marvel Comics sought his talent and were pleased with his services because he never fails to turn in quality assignments in time.
His desire to achieve more took him to Hollywood where he joined the Animation Artists and landed a job as character designer and storyboard artist of TV animated series, such as: The Transformers, GI Joe and Jem.
While working as regular employee in Animation Studio, he still inks “The New Teen Titans” and other books from independent publishing companies, while at the same time doing freelance storyboarding. He is considered the fastest inker on the planet (deadline buster) for promptly turning in books on top of his day job.
Then it dawned on him that he could also take penciling assignments instead of just inking. Because of his exceptional speed, he could do 3 to 4 pages a day without compromising quality and he could even earn more. It was possible to do that back then when drawing comic books were not as complicated and detailed as they are today.
He worked during those times almost 18 to 20 hrs a day. While other artists were having fun, he was working — alone and missing his family.
Although according to him nothing is impossible, he also admitted it is not easy to be away from family.
After years of hard work, he was so burned-out. He decided to go back home to New Jersey and enjoy life with his family. He slowed down and worked as freelance comic book illustrator — until his wife’s untimely death in 2004. He then decided to retire.
Finding himself idle and free from dreadful deadlines, he started to do painting, writing, and traveling.
That was when all these countryside/Filipiniana paintings were created. You can view these paintings on his Blogs: Sariling Atin Komiks and Romeo Tanghal Sr. collection of sketches. He also created his own komiks titled Sariling Atin Komiks– featuring his novel “Malignos” and many short stories in Tagalog language.
He is currently working on a project to publish his own artbook of paintings, illustrations, sketches and portraiture. This is his legacy to the world of arts.
Recently, he started accepting invitations again from Comic Convention organizers as special guest. He attended the Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC last June 22/24 2012 and is scheduled to appear at SDCC- San Diego Comic Convention in July 2013. Many more invites will come before SDCC and he will likely be attending too, to sign autographs for fans, be interviewed, sell artworks, and accept commission.
“I’ve been to many places around the world and starts enjoying life to the fullest. I did a lot of sacrifices during my prime, it’s just about time to savour the fruit of my labor while I still can.” – Romeo Tanghal Sr. –
These are just some of the artworks of Romeo Tanghal, Sr. His countryside paintings create in every Filipino a nostalgia of the past when life in the countryside was simple, fun, and idyllic. For Filipinos who have never experienced the countryside, this could just be your only way of getting a glimpse of the Philippine countryside as it was before.
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