We’ve often written about our admiration of the graphic novel ELMER by Gerry Alanguilan, both for its lush art and its daring, thoughtful storyline about a world where talking, thinking chickens struggle to be accepted as…people. But it turns out Alanguilan is much better known to the world at large as…”The Greatest Man On The Internet” thanks to a series of popular YouTube videos
We were unaware of Alanguilan’s viral fame until a recent episode of Tosh.0 featured him as the “viewer video” or something. Still numbed after the previous half hour’s parade of potentially disfiguring accidents and racist jokes, it was with some shock that we looked at the man smiling into his webcam and said “I know him!” It turns out this video, known as “Hey Baby,” has been viewed more than 2,800,000 times.
That’s all. A guy smiling into the camera. Alanguilan explains the genesis in another video:
…basically he was trying to do a variant on the “Smarm brow” featured on the TV show Psyche.
He already has a whole store set up to sell “Hey Baby” merch, including a shirt.
We’re not sure how he came by his internet fame, but Alanguilan is one of the more successful contemporary Filipino cartoonists, working with Leinil Francis Yu and Whilce Portacio on titles from Batman to the X-Men, and creating a half dozen comics of his own. He’s also one of the primary scholars of Pinoy comics, and we often link to his excellent Komikero blog for updates on that scene.
We’re not entirely sure how Alanguilan got started as a viral video maker…but he clearly has some talent at it. He has 20K followers on his channel. Just think if they all would buy ONE comic! And if one 10th of those 2.0 million people who wanted to see a funny smile bought one of his comics…well, that doesn’t happen in this world, unfortunately.
Here’s Alanguilan’s “Repaneled” illo for a Tin Tin page. As we salute Creators Week, here’s to Gerry for staying flexible.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.