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Friday, 24 April 2015

Mars Ravelo: A Legacy of Filipino Komiks Superheroes -with extra added art!

 Now, while I was trawling the internet yesterday I came across an old posting of mine on one of my old FreeServers sites.  2002.  Wow.  Anyway, I talked about Pinoy Comics and the horror titles (what else?) and if you do not recognise the characters below you needs an education!

Thing is, though, I have no Filipino Komiks.  Did you just faint?  Seriously, I read a lot online years ago but every time I tried to buy some it was either a rip off or "we don't sell outside the Phillipines" etc..

But it never stopped my appreciation nor that of many of you out there who have not read a Filipino Komik because a good few Filipino artists went to work on US comics for DC, etc.. Didn't know that?

The name Mars Ravelo is legendary.  Okay, if you don't bother with anything outside of US or European comics then maybe not to you. But who was he?

Looking through my 2002 post I realised I was writing as an outsider and as I searched for more info I came across Vintage Phillipines which had an article on Ravelo.  But the real gem was Video48's blog and that has so much more in the way of information -a true fan.

So, rather than the idiot Englishman writing here is an educational lesson from Vintage Phillipines and, especially, Video48!

For the youth of today, it is hard to imagine a life without game consoles, smart phones, pocket-sized gadgets and internet connection. As much as it is hard to comprehend a pre-Google world; yesterday’s generations did manage to survive offline.

During those days, life took place outdoors – in the parks and backyards, where children learn and develop patience and social skills. There was always the thrill of playing hide and seek with friends.

For those who were less active, aside from playing with toys, reading books “in paper” is their form of entertainment. One of the most popular reading materials then was the comic book.

A comic book blends art and story-telling together. In the United States, readers were hooked with Superman and Batman from DC comics and Spider-Man and Iron Man from Marvel Comics.

In the Philippines, comic books became widespread and popular after the Second World War. One name stood out among the rest in the local comic industry and that is Mars (Marcial) Ravelo.

A high school sophomore drop-out, Mars Ravelo used to work as a janitor before becoming a famous graphic novelist. His cartoon strip, Rita Kasinghot, when published by Bulaklak Magazine in 1947, became a household name.

He then transferred to Liwayway Magazine and created Buhay Pilipino, which became an even bigger hit. Soon, he was doing more cartoons for Pilipino Komiks, Tagalog Klasiks, Hiwaga Komiks and Espesyal Komiks.

Despite his success in the comics industry, Mars Ravelo wanted more. He wanted to be known as a serious novelist. His first novel Roberta, which was published in Tagalog Klasiks, became an instant hit. Soon afterwards, Sampaguita Pictures bought it and made it into a movie. The movie was such a success at the box office that it made Mars Ravelo the most sought after komiks novelist at that time.
His works and novels were bought and filmed by movie producers. Almost all of them are box office hits that catapulted to stardom the careers of superstars like Dolphy and Gloria Romero.
Above: Lastikman from the Ravelo Universe

Captain Barbell, Darna, Dyesebel, Bondying, Lastikman, Facifica Falayfay andMaruja are just but some of the works accredited to the “Dean of Filipino Komiks Writer” and the “Father of Filipino Komiks Superheroes”.

Mars Ravelo dramatically changed the course of Philippine komiks. He not only created unforgettable characters and superheroes but what he did was leave us with a legacy of cultural icons for the Filipinos.

More information, which Vintage Phillipines as a source, can be found in a 2006 entry on the Video 48 blog where this appeared.  More images including info on film serials based on the comics can be found here.

Please visit the blog and help appreciate a fellow comicker's work!

MARS RAVELO: 'KOMIKS' KING #1 of 3 [Circa 1950s]

Mars Ravelo (1916-88) was a prolific writer, artist, illustrator and the recognized king of Philippine Komiks. He was the man behind several popular characters that captivated generations of Filipinos since the late 1940s. 

His crisp and humorous lines, visualized into vivid and animated illustrations, have engrossed readers of all ages. Perhaps this is also because of the range and depth of his characters --- from the young to the elderly, from virtuous mortals to the superhuman.

From 1950s to 1970s, Ravelo wrote and collaborated with other illustrators and writers to produce more than 300 komiks stories. Many of these were adapted on screen. Who wouldn’t recognize Darna, Dyesebel, Captain Barbell, Bondying, Lastikman

 These are only some of Ravelo’s characters that have come to life beyond the realm of the printed medium and successfully traversed into the world of cinema and other media. His komiks novels also introduced readers to characters in melodrama and comedy like Roberta, Trudis Liit, Ging, Maruja and Facifica Falayfay.

Mars Ravelo’s stories have brought us into the worlds of the fantasy and the supernatural as well as into the lives of people like us. His works show us different views of our joys and sorrows and our weaknesses and strengths. The popularity of komiks may have dwindled in recent years, but his characters will remain part of Philippine pop culture.

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