20 Pinoy Facts Mars Ravelo comics

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Darna, the Filipino superhero with great power and strength, has been a cultural icon for Filipinos since she was created in the 1950s by komik legend Mars Ravelo.

There’s no doubt that upon hearing ‘Darna’, Pinoys easily recognize her as the superwoman wearing a red helmet with a gold winged medallion and matching red bra, shorts and boots. His stories of fighting crime, evil, and the supernatural villainess Valentina will always be remembered one way or another. All thanks to the world created by Mars.

Soon we will be able to witness another reimagined world of Darna in the upcoming ABS-CBN Darna by Mars Ravelo: the television series. But while waiting for the long-awaited premiere, it would be good to know more about the talented graphic novelist, Mars Ravelo. Here are 20 facts about him that you might not have known yet.

1. His full name is Marcial Custodio Ravelo.

Many may not know this, but “Mars” is just a nickname and his full first name is “Marcial”. But given his growing popularity over the years, he will always be known as “Mars Ravelo”, the Filipino comic book legend.

2. He was born in Cavite on October 9, 1916.

His hometown is in Tanza, Cavite. He was also buried in his hometown when he died on September 12, 1988.

3. He spent much of his childhood in public libraries.

As an aspiring storyteller, Mars would sometimes cut classes during his school years so he could spend time in public libraries, reading more stories and learning about the world.

4. He was a sophomore high school dropout.

He may have to stop his studies for financial reasons, but he already discovered his potential as an artist and began to write and draw at a very young age.

5. He held various jobs, including janitorial, before becoming successful in writing.

To cope with his financial situation and the challenges of wartime during these years, he took several menial jobs. Being a janitor was one he fell back on when his attempts to try and become a writer or cartoonist had yet to materialize.

6. He began to publish his works as a cartoonist.

At a young age, Mars was already skilled with the pen in both writing and drawing. In 1939, his drawings for the comic series “Bemboy” were one of his first broadcast works.

7. He’s had his fair share of setbacks and rejections.

Mars was aware of his talent as a writer and artist early on, but the editors of the publications he worked for were not easily impressed. When he was at Ace Publications, the editor at the time would tell him that his work was not yet good enough or ready to be published. Either way, that didn’t deter him from his dreams.

8. Tony Velasquez was one of his mentors.

Tony Velasquez is considered the founding father of the Philippine comics industry, as his work “Ang Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy” rose to fame in the 1920s. Early in Mars’ career, he met Tony and was influenced to enter the comics industry.

9. The creation of “Rita Kasinghot” was a stepping stone to her comic book success.

Around 1949, Mars was part of Bulaklak magazine where he wrote and illustrated “Rita Kasinghot”. From there he began to explore short and long komiks. “Buhay Pilipino” and “Roberta” are some of his early works which were released and slowly advanced his success.

10. He created classics featuring timeless characters still recognized today such as Darna, Captain Barbell, Lastikman and Dyesebel.

Besides Darna, he also brought to life the iconic heroes Captain Barbell and Lastikman, as well as the beautiful mermaid Dyesebel. Several other of his comic book characters have touched the hearts of readers and fans as they represent the characteristics of not only real people in general, but also Filipino culture.

20 Pinoy Facts Mars Ravelo comics

11. Darna was introduced to the public in 1950, but Mars had conceptualized her many years earlier.

When Mars was part of Bulaklak magazine, he created original material. He realized the potential of creating a Filipino superhero and toyed with the idea of ​​Varga, a heroine. After Mars resigned from Bulaklak magazine, he transferred to Pilipino Komiks (Ace Publications) and turned Varga into Darna, which became an iconic hit.

12. Her story “Dyesebel” was loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s mermaid folklore “The Little Mermaid.”

Mars took inspiration from foreign stories and made it for a Filipino audience. Injecting cultural relativity into the story and infusing it with a fresh perspective made “Dyesebel” the iconic mermaid we know today.

13. He started his own publishing house, RAR Publications.

With notable works to support his successful place in the industry, Mars eventually established his own publishing house.

14. He was also a novelist and editor for major publishing houses and film companies.

While being a successful writer and cartoonist, Mars was able to further prove his skills and ventured into writing his own long stories and running companies that created stories.

20 Pinoy Facts Mars Ravelo comics

15. He invested a lot of time in his job.

His eldest grandson, Mara Ravelo Austria Bernaldo, described him in a 2020 media interview as a “workaholic night owl”. Being so passionate about his stories, he would work on them as soon as he woke up and stay up late at night.

16. He participates in the adaptation of his works.

It was also revealed that Mars was heavily involved in adapting his works, such as Darna. Time and time again, Darna has been adapted into movies and shows and most of the time, Mars would have his team review proposals for adaptations and help decide which actresses would play the role.

17. He is known as the “King of the Komiks of the Philippines”.

Without a doubt, the comic book industry is what it is today thanks to people like Mars Ravelo. His passion and his profession have inspired many others. Although the term was coined unofficially, many can attest to how much Mars did to put Filipino comics on the map.

18. He also received a Life Achievement Award.

His contribution to the nation’s comics industry was recognized by many in 1984. The Komiks Operation Brotherhood presented him with a Life Achievement Award alongside notable figures Tony Velasquez, Francisco V. Coching, Jose Zabala-Santos, Larry Alcala, Francisco Reyes, and JM Perez.

19. He produced over 300 titles in his lifetime.

In its 71 years of existence, it has gone step by step with the characters it has created and the stories it has told. After all, acknowledging and reimagining figures like Darna, Dyesebel, Lastikman and Captain Barbell decades after his death speaks to his legacy.

20. His family plans to build a museum for their fans and comic book enthusiasts.

As a tribute to his remarkable works, his family is planning to have a Mars Ravelo Museum in Tagaytay City to house the works of the legendary Filipino cartoonist and give the public a glimpse of his rare works.

Did you learn anything new about the legendary Mars Ravelo, Kapamilya?

Sources:
[1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9] https://www.keepingnote.com/2016/09/re-imagine-mars-ravelo-at-100-years.html
[1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 17] https://saicinco.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/mars-ravelo/
https://pelikulaatbp.blogspot.com/2009/07/mars-ravelo-1916-1988.html
[5] http://pilipinokomiks.blogspot.com/2006/06/first-pinoy-komiks-superheroes.html
[1, 6, 11] http://erneelawagan.blogspot.com/2012/02/lost-works-of-mars-ravelo.html
[2, 10, 11, 13, 14] https://www.lambiek.net/artists/r/ravelo_mars.htm
[2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 19] http://gridcrosser.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-centenary-of-mars-ravelo.html
[2, 9, 10, 18] https://nolisoli.ph/1631/mars-ravelo-homage-to-the-hero-maker/
[8] https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/373300/kenkoy-and-proud-of-it-feting-the-father-of-pinoy-komiks/
[9] http://pilipinokomiks.blogspot.com/2006/10/bemboy-ravelos-first-comic-strip-1939.html
[10, 11, 15, 16, 17] https://entertainment.inquirer.net/376578/darna-ageless-all-media-at-70
[12] https://filipiknow.net/interesting-facts-about-dyesebel/
[19] http://www.fringemag.net/web/mars-ravelo-centennial-celebration-kicks-off-at-the-ccp/
[20] https://www.facebook.com/abscbnNEWS/posts/10154973961850168
https://news.abs-cbn.com/entertainment/03/29/17/look-rare-darna-comic-to-be-put-on-display

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