The other day I mentioned how Dover Books is bringing back a bunch of out of print graphic novels including Puma Blues and A Sailor’s Story.

Well, you can add one more book to that list.

I’m thrilled to be able to announce that Dover is reprinting a new edition of Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master: The Art of Alfredo Alcala by myself and Philip Yeh. The original edition, published in 1994 by IHAC, including Phil’s tales of his friendship with Alfredo and learning about the tradition of Filipino comics from him. My part of the book was a lengthy interview with Alfredo in which he analyzed pages from his incredible Voltar project, talking about storytelling, art history, philosophy and much more. Doing the interviews for the book was an amazing experience, and one that I think of often. Alfredo was a truly memorable person with an encyclopedic knowledge of all kinds of art and music, and he lived a life that could have been a comic book all in itself from his boyhood during World War II (he did some spying for the US thanks to his photographic memory), to his part in the “Filipino Invasion” in comics of the 70s.

This new edition is being done with the full cooperation of the Alcala family, Phil Yeh and myself. We’re discussing  the possibility of updating it with some new material, and I’ll keep everyone posted on that.

This is actually the only book I’ve ever written, and I’m excited to see it back in print  for that reason, But even more so, it’s so gratifying to know that the story of Alfredo Alcala and his art will be available to the new generation of comics artists and enthusiasts. The Pinoy Komiks tradition isn’t as well known as it should be, and hopefully this book will help change that a little. And also remind people of Alfredo’s mind boggling talent. alfredoalcala_zps14df7dc9.jpg~original


  1. I like the individual on Amazon attempting to sell his copy for $806.00+. I use examples of Alacala’s art in my drawing class. Mouths open when I show the students his pen & ink work.

  2. I just wanted to chime in and say that Dover Publications is very honored to working directly with Heidi, Phillip and Alcala’s family to put this book back into print. We hope everyone will get a chance to benefit from Alfredo Alcala’s sage-like wisdom (and gorgeous artwork), contained within the pages of this unique publication.

  3. I can’t wait for this to be re-published!! I once saw it years ago and greatly regret not buying it!! I absolutely adored Alcala’s work in the ’70’s and ’80’s … Yeah, a used copy for $806+ on Amazon!!! LOL! You’d think the seller would waive the shipping??!!

  4. Great to see this back in print. Had a copy for decades and still cherish it, good that it will be more widely available!

  5. Back in 1982, Alcala was one of many contributors to the paperback album “Tips from Top Cartoonists” edited by Don Christensen (ISBN 1-894354-00-1) . Alcala contributed a 2-page spread titled “Methods, Materials and Moods) where he discussed aspects of his working methods that are not touched upon in similar detail in the “Secret Teachings” book.

    If you’re looking to expand the new edition, wouldn’t that be an interesting supplement? Or am I too late in suggesting that?

    I know that I personally found it very instructive.

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