Jul 30, 2007

Donna & Carlo bring back the glory days of komiks

Like many of the movie writers (among them Ronald Constantino, Ethel Ramos, Mar d’Guzman Cruz, Vero Samio and Cris Belen) who were at the Leandro Locsin Auditorium of the NCCA (National Commission on Culture and the Arts) last Thursday, July 26, to hail the culmination of the Komiks Karavan, I was nourished on komiks magazines, starting with fairy tales in Classics Illustrated Junior format (Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Rip Van Winkle, Jack & The Beanstalk, etc.) and the “heavier” stuff in the same format (like The Count of Monte Cristo, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Robinson Crusoe, Mutiny on the Bounty, etc.).
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I followed with unmitigated enthusiasm the komiks serials

by boundlessly-imaginative/creative writers led by the Komiks King himself, Carlo J. Caparas, in Tagalog komiks which, I must admit, helped polish my Tagalog (a big relief for a Waray promdi). Name the komiks and I read it from cover to cover, never mind if I was held in suspense week after week by the “Itutuloy” or “Abangan ang susunod na kabanata” after every serialized novel — Tagalog Klasiks, Pilipino Komiks, Hiwaga Komiks, name it, I’ve read it.

And then, I looked forward to the day when the komiks serials were made into film. So what if I already knew how each story would end!

That’s why I arrived at the NCCA affair feeling nostalgic, especially when I saw the walls of the Leandro Locsin Auditorium covered with komiks illustrations that set the mood for the day.

“Buhay na buhay ang komiks sa araw na ito!” exclaimed Carlo J. Caparas at the presidential table during the presscon held after the special guest of honor, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, had left.

“Now I’m relieved,” added Carlo. “I have paid my dues.”

Seated beside him was his wife, Donna Villa, half of showbiz’s Golden Lions Couple now a.k.a. Komiks Queen because she partnered with Carlo in the Komiks Karavan which made stops in key cities and places around the archipelago in an effort not only to lure and encourage aspiring komiks writers and illustrators but also to re-introduce the komiks to a new generation captivated by cyberspace, and thereby, hopefully, bring back the glory days of the komiks.

Carlo said he felt “guilty” for having unceremoniously abandoned the komiks after lording it over for almost 20 years before branching out to filmmaking, transporting to the silver screen his own works (such as Andres de Saya, starring Gloria Diaz and Vic Vargas; Tuklaw with Richard Gomez; etc.), and that’s why he thought of spearheading the revival of the interest in komiks.

“I was running 36 komiks serials then,” recalled Carlo, and the vacuum created by his absence was too big to fill up. All in all, Carlo has written around 800 stories and novels during his reign as Komiks King, an unsurpassed record.

Besides the Komiks Couple, present at the NCCA affair were komiks novelists Rico Bello, Omagap, Nerissa Cabral, Gilda Olvidado, Rino Fernan Silverio, Elena Patron and Joe Lad Santos; and komiks illustrators Cris Marcelino, Nestor Malgapo, Hal Santiago, Rico Rival, Steve Gan, Lan Medina, Joe Marie Mongcal, Karl Comendador, Abe Ocampo and the Celerio brothers Joey and Louie (sons of Levi Celerio).

The komiks dealers were there, too, and the people behind the Sterling Publications who were so impressed with the objectives of the Komiks Karavan that they agreed to forge a partnership with Carlo and Donna in publishing five komiks magazines coming out starting on Sept. 4. The mags will be sold at very affordable prices.

“I’m happy for Carlo and for all the people involved in komiks, from the dealers and the vendors to the writers and illustrators,” said Donna whose own Golden Lions Films is temporarily set aside while she and Carlo are busy with the Komiks Karavan. “There’s now an outlet for their talent. For me, that’s more than a compensation.”

The current reverse trend in local television of remaking based-on-komiks movies (which is the foundation of Viva Films, firmly planted by Mina del Rosario, Viva boss Vic del Rosario’s late wife who was an avid komiks follower) should come hand-in-hand with Carlo and Donna’s endeavor. After all, wasn’t it Carlo’s own komiks story Bakekang (with Nora Aunor topbilled in the movie) that paved the way for other similar material to the boob tube?

Long live the komiks!

And thank you, Carlo and Donna, for keeping the spirit burning and helping bring back the golden days of the komiks.

Itutuloy. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata!
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
Philippine Star

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