Comics master Alex Niño comes out of retirement to remind us how great he is

(Image credit: Alex Niño)

Iconic comic artist Alex Niño has come out of retirement to draw a surprise 96-page graphic novel titled Alandal that will be published in his home country, the Philippines. Written by J. Philip Ignacio, Alandal is a late 1700s swashbuckling adventure that will debut this weekend as part of the online Philippine International Comics Festival.

(Image credit: Alex Niño)

Alandal follows a 12-year-old girl named Sabina who lives with her father, a retired Spanish conquistador exiled by their country. She is abducted by Iranun pirates and taken to Jolo, an island in the Philippines. It's there she discovers she's actually the granddaughter of the local Sultan that ruled the region. 

"I slyly pitched the idea of Alandal to him but I honestly thought I would be rebuffed,” Ignacio tells ABS-CBN. "Imagine my surprise when he agreed. He readily agreed to the project as it was not only written by a Filipino, but it would be his first work to be published locally in decades."

Niño broke into English-language comics as part of a wave of Filipino comics talent in the '70s which included Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, and Gerry Talaoc. He is best known for his supernatural and horror work in the '70s and '80s for DC, Marvel, and others including his similarly swashbuckling DC serials Captain Fear and Space Voyagers. He adapted several classic literary works to comics including The Time Machine, Moby DIck, The Three Musketeers, The Invisible Man, and War of the Worlds. 

Niño also worked as a character designer in animation for numerous projects including the Disney films Mulan, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Emperor's New Groove, and Treasure Planet.

Alandal will debut on September 4 as part of the Philippine International Comics Festival. You can pre-order Alandal here.

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Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)