The award-winning graphic novel, Elmer, by Gerry Alanguilan.

COMIC BOOK artist Gerry Alanguilan, the man behind the award-winning graphic novel Elmer, died at the age of 51 after battling several ailments over the past few years. His death was confirmed by his wife and colleagues on Facebook on Saturday.

His wake, according to ABS-CBN News, is at his home in San Pablo, Laguna. He will be interred at the San Pablo Memorial Park.

Mr. Alanguilan is survived by his wife Ilyn Florese.

“Gerry Alanguilan passed away tonight. Our condolences to Ilyn (Mr. Alanguilan’s wife). He left us with a legacy of great works that inspired many artists. We will miss you dearly,” KOMIKON, a non-profit organization promoting Filipino comics, posted on its page on Dec. 21.

On his last blog post dated Dec. 14, Mr. Alanguilan noted that it was such a “constant struggle every day” but said that it hadn’t “gotten in the way of me thinking creatively.”

Mr. Alanguilan was born on Jan. 20, 1968 in San Pablo, Laguna. He originally studied to be an architect at the University of Santo Tomas but in 1994, he published his first work, Wasted, with Alamat Comics and went for a career as a comic book illustrator instead.

Wasted told the story of a man bent on revenge and trying to hold on to his sanity. The work was initially created to only be seen by his friends and was circulated via photocopy. It became so popular that it was picked up by Alamat Comics.

In 2006, Mr. Alanguilan published Elmer, a book set in a world where chickens suddenly gain human intelligence and the ability to speak. Its main character, Jake Gallo, is a second generation intelligent chicken who inherits his father’s diary chronicling his struggle for equal rights spanning 20 years.

Often compared to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Elmer won the French ACBD Prix Asie Award and Prix Quai des Bulles award in 2011 and was nominated for the 2011 Best New Graphic Album at the Eisner Awards.

Mr. Alanguilan also curated the Komikero Komiks Museum in San Pablo, Laguna featuring works by prominent Filipino graphics artists such as National Artists Alfredo Alcala and Francisco Coching.

Mr. Alanguilan was known as the inker for local and international titles like Wetworks, X-Men, Superman: Birthright, Wolverine, High Roads, Fantastic Four, and Silent Dragon where he worked alongside Leinil Francis Yu who did the pencils.

His last work was inking the new Marvel X-Men titles with artwork and cover art done by Mr. Yu. — Zsarlene B. Chua