He is the new identity of Crisostomo Ibarra who, in the prequel Noli, escaped from pursuing soldiers. It is revealed that Crisostomo dug up his buried treasure and fled to Cuba, becoming richer and befriending Spanish officials. After many years, the newly fashioned Simoun returns to the Philippines, where he is able to freely move around. He is a powerful figure not only because of his wealth but also because he is a good friend and adviser of the governor general. Outwardly, Simoun is a friend of Spain; however, in secret, he is plotting a terrible revenge against the Spanish authorities. His two obsessions are to rescue his paramour Maria Clara from the nunnery of Santa Clara and to foment a Philippine revolution against Spain.
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Rizal was more than delighted to comply and he submitted to Dr. The original drawings still exist to this day, owned by the descendants of Paz Pardo de Tavera.
I recently browsed my library and pulled out a book called Lineage, Life and Labors of Jose Rizal, authored by the American historian Austin Craig. Considered the first English biography of the National Hero, the book is illustrated throughout with many drawings and sketches by Rizal. In this comic strip, Rizal did not use talk balloons for the dialogues of Matsing and Pagong. It seemed that the early cartoonists avoided talk balloons because they too often clutter in the panel and get in the way of the drawings.
Although invented as early as 17th century, talk balloons came only into general use in the 20th century. Undoubtedly, Rizal was a genius, poet, a novelist, a songwriter, a linguist, an inventor, an illustrator, and maybe more than a hundred more things that we even do not know of.
He was a polymath, a curious man who was into trying everything. Inactivity and complacency bored him and his tremendous talent he used to satisfy his desire to understand the world he lived in.
Drawing was a favorite past time of our national hero. He wanted to keep a visual record of the things he saw or the people he met. One could only imagine how lonely our hero had been during his travels to Europe and America. Rizal would spend days and nights drawing humorous panels we now called comics. Fortunately for us, many of these drawing still exist and can give us a view of what Rizal may have seen at a given time.
In Germany, Rizal illustrated a hilarious panel in which he showed a gentleman curtseying to a lovely woman. While doing so, the gentleman accidentally emitted a fart resulting in chaos all around him! These comic strips, along with several other drawings and sketches done by Rizal during his stay with the Ullmers, are still intact up to this day.
The Ullmer descendants kept these precious mementoes and were eventually discovered by Mrs. These drawings are now stored in a vault in the National Library. While living as an exile in Dapitan in , Rizal was asked by his friend Benito Francia to write something about Visayan witchcraft. When looking at the originals, I noticed some bluish tint on the drawings.
Rizal may have used a blue pen to make his comic attractive—making it the first comics in thePhilippines with color—even though only one color!
Now, I am not sure if this comic strip is to be read horizontally or vertically, since Rizal did not provide a number guide on the panels. I believe though that the panels do not conform to a continuing story. They are more of vignettes that have relation to witchcraft.
What is fascinating about this comic strip is that this was the only one written by Rizal in Tagalog. Rizal knew at least 22 languages, and he was fluent in some twelve of them, including, of course, Tagalog. Not only was Rizal the first Filipino to create a comic strip, he was also the very first one to create a Tagalog komiks!
I had the rare chance to examine many Rizal original drawings kept in the National Library. Seeing them close was really such a thrilling experience that I when I went to sleep that night, I dreamed Rizal was drawing for Aliwan Komiks! Meanwhile let us see what we can understand from these panels. Oh, mother! Caeng, you are bald!! Puga, puga ca! The bald man may be saying to the boy to get lost for teasing him bald!
But one should remember that Rizal was not a professional illustrator. Also, he drew cartoons as more of a hobby and distraction, in between doing several things of national importance such as writing his immortal novels and defending our country against the Spanish oppressors. The important thing was that he was the very first known Filipino to have drawn comic strips. Yes indeed, except that Rizal was not the father of Hitler.
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