The strange nature of blogs has us reading events starting with the end, and ending with the beginning. I thought I’d put together this special page where visitors to this blog can follow my posts, and the accompanying comments, in chronological order.
Before anything else, let me preface everything by saying that I was a fan of Carlo J. Caparas many years ago. When I met Steve Gan (co-creator of Panday) many years ago and proposed the idea that I approach Mr. Caparas about possibly working on a new Panday story, I was very excited. As many people who regularly visit this blog know, I have great respect for the Filipino komiks veterans and the work that they have contributed to Philippine comics. And Carlo Caparas is a giant in Philippine comics.
I started to become disappointed in the man because of the things he said and did during the Komiks Congress of February 2007. I wrote about that here:
The Komiks Congress: An Analysis
I was disappointed further when he took over the Sterling Komiks project, a project that was initially in the hands of Mango Comics with whom I was working with. Now I don’t know what really happened for certain. All I know is that one moment we were working on the Sterling comic books, and then the next moment, we were out, and Mr. Carlo Caparas was in. That event was cataclysmic in that it exposed a lot of deep seated disappointment that many writers, editors and artists in the komiks industry seemed to have for the man. I began to understand why.
But personal feelings is not the issue. While I’m appreciative of the popularity of some of his characters like Panday of which I’m a fan, I’m ambivalent about the overall quality of his comics work (I’m not really that impressed). His films, I felt, were utterly atrocious.
If I were to rank who the best Filipino comic book creators in Philippine History were, those people who have consistently created works of art that enriched Philippine culture, these would always include, at the very top: Francisco V. Coching, Larry Alcala, Mars Ravelo, Pablo Gomez, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Tony Velasquez, Clodualdo Del Mundo, Francisco Reyes, Nonoy Marcelo, Alex Niño etc. If ever an award of National significance would be given out, these men would be, and should be the first to get it.
So it was with great frustration and indignation did I greet the news of the possibility of Carlo J. Caparas getting the title of National Artist for Visual Arts before any of these men did.
It was ridiculous. CJC may have created a few memorable stories like Panday, Totoy Bato and Pieta, but I believed his work does not meet the standard of what qualifies for the National Artist Award. I believed that whatever influence and impact the man may have had, it’s the result of a few memorable works, buoyed by years upon years of relentless PR.
I was first alerted to the news that Carlo J. Caparas has been declared a National Artist for Film and Visual Arts on July 29 2009 via a direct tweet from thepocnews pointing me to this news article.
My reaction was immediate. My first post on Twitter, and my first post on this blog:
And I thought I would just leave it at that. The twitter post and the blog post weren’t specific, and were not in reference to anyone in particular. In a way, those who knew me would know who exactly it was I was talking about.
But I couldn’t leave it at that. I thought it was time for me to stop avoiding naming names and come into the open about exactly why I don’t think this National Artist title belongs to CJC (as I will refer to Carlo J. Caparas from now on this article).
Later that day, I wrote another article.
A Questionable Victory
I list there my reasons why I am protesting. I listed the fact CJC wasn’t a visual artist, that other comic creators were more deserving like Francisco V. Coching, and that in terms of film, his movies are terrible, and I recounted a traumatic incident of me watching one of his films as an example.
The post got 136 comments, including one from komiks, TV and film writer Jose Mari Lee who wrote:
• His films unquestionably, are among the worst in the world, they’re even worse than that of Ed Wood’s
• His writing is purely schlock: extremely pedestrian, full of loopholes, lacking in research and nothing but vexation to one’s sensibilities
• His demeanor, apart from being blatantly nouveau rische, is callous, arrogant and ridicuously laughable
Illustrator Dell Barras, who worked with CJC in 2007′s Sterling Comics line added:
CJC touted as the ‘Komiks King’? Now National Artist?
Pukelya! Susong Baligtad!
Fanboys, fangirls and fangays unite! Let us make CJC and the system feel the insurmountable power of the agitated fans.
Bastusan na to!
These are only excerpts of what Jose Mari Lee and Dell Barras wrote. Check the comments section to see their full statements, as well as statements from a former komiks editor, illustrator Floro Dery (who offers a different point of view) and what the current generation of comic book professionals have to say.
I thought I could just leave it at that, but it wasn’t meant to be. Discussion has been furious on the blog and many other places online and offline. Assertions have been given as to why CJC “deserves” the award because of his many accomplishments in komiks and film, because CJC is “masa”, because he has a street named after him, because his creations are on stamps, because he has won many other awards and so on. CJC and his supporters has hit back: “You’re only JEALOUS”.
It would be frustrating and time consuming to debate those points one by one. There is plenty of subjectivity going on, and subjective arguments tend to be unproductive. I thought I’d make an objective case against CJC getting the National Artist title, and concentrate only on the fact that CJC is not a Visual Artist. I felt that it was a point that was unarguable. CJC did not draw the creations he was popular for. That was the bottom line. And to me, that made him unqualified to get the title, at the very least for Visual Art.
Bottom Line: Carlo J. Caparas is NOT Qualified
July 31, 2009
Here, I make clear that distinction was made between FILM and VISUAL ART, and that it was clear FILM was for CJC’s accomplishments in Film, and VISUAL ART was for CJCs accomplishments in komiks.
Former komiks writer Fermin Salvador spoke up:
Madaling sabihin ni Capural na “inggit” lang ang nasa likod ng mga tumututol. Pero puwede pa kaya ang katwiran na ito kung ang tututol ay ang mga nagawaran na rin na National Artists. We should appeal to the past awardees, those who are still living and the families of those who are dead, to make a stand on this issue – this issue involves the credibility and integrity of their ranks.
Veteran illustrator and former CJC collaborator Nestor Malgapo also spoke up:
Pare-pareho tayong nagmamahal sa komiks…siyempre masisiyahan tayo kapag taga-komiks ang magiging isa sa National Artist. Pero sa pagkakasali ni CJC sa napili, isang malaking insulto ito sa lahat ng bumubuo sa industriya ng komiks…dahil tayong mga taga-komiks ang HIGIT na nakaaalam kung sino ang karapat-dapat na bigyan ng parangal.
(Hindi dahil sa dami ng mga nagawa ang pinag-uusapan! Hindi taga-komiks ang nagsasabi nito).
Bakit hindi si Francisco V. Coching, si Nestor Redondo, Alfredo o/at Larry Alcala? At kung writer din naman, bakit hindi si Mars Ravelo? Lahat ng taga-komiks ay sasang-ayon kung sila.
Pero si CJC…NAKAKAHIYA ito!
At this time I also created the “Carlo J. Caparas is NOT Qualified to be National Artist” petition online. Read the petition here. If you agree with it, please sign.
Also on July 31, I posted covers to two Francisco V. Coching books that will be published and launched in September. I made a comment that this is how you know that you are National Artist material: They make books about you.
On August 3, Illustrator Edgar Tadeo created this striking visual, which has since gone viral.
Also on August 6, I shot and uploaded this video on You Tube:
Watch on You Tube
Artists and Cultural Workers from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City also offer their statement.
On August 7, Ramon Orlina former member of the Stamp Advisory Committee (SAC) of the Philippine Postal Corporation circulated a damning post about the Carlo Caparas stamps, claiming that,
The comics of Carlos J. Caparas was included in this art issue in November 2008. But Dr. Ngo (now Vice-Chair of SAC) removed the label “Great Achievers in Philippine Art”
from the design of the stamps as he could not find evidence of Carlos J. Caparas being a great achiever.
The Philatelic Bulletin stated misleadingly that the “Designs:Komiks illustrations by Carlos J. Caparas”, when it is public knowledge that the illustrations are farmed out.
Read more here:
Carlo Caparas Stamps
It only complements what I have been writing on this blog for so many years. CJC has never illustrated any of his stories. Although it wasn’t really a secret as these artists were credited when the stories first published. But ever since that time, these illustrators have been conveniently forgotten.
These stamps have been credited as “Illustrated by Carlos J. Caparas”, when it truth, these are illustrated by Karl Comendador.
CJC and his supporters have been waving these stamps in our faces as an example of his achievements that supposedly make him worthy of the National Artist title for Visual Arts, but the truth is, CJC didn’t illustrate these stamps himself.
On August 8, I make a correction to a misquote attributed to me by the Manila Standard where I supposedly have stated that CJC was “unworthy”. Up until that time, I’ve never said publicly CJC was. I merely said “unqualified” which was a huge difference.
Further on August 8, I hammer my objective argument about CJC even more with this post:
Carlo J. Caparas is NOT a Visual Artist
Here I address that many of CJC’s arguments are off topic, and do not address the real issue. CJC makes it a social issue between rich and poor, the elitist and the masa, and that all those protesting him are just jealous.
These are things that try to divert us from the issue which he cannot debate against because there is no defense: He is NOT a Visual Artist.
Because he cannot defend against it, he makes all these arguments that has nothing to do with the issue. In fact, his statements only cause to widen the rift between the classes, and perpetuate an idiotic notion that the rich hate the poor, a theme that’s so unfortunately prevalent in local film and TV.
Also on August 8:
Carlo J. Caparas: “I Can Draw!”
This is a reaction to CJC going around TV demonstrating that he can draw. I thought it was pathetic, because a National Artist doesn’t need to prove he can draw. People should and ought to know it. That’s because CJC has never been known to draw. It’s not what has made him popular. Once again, he completely misses the point. So what if you know how to draw? The point is, he never drew any of the stories he was popular for. In fact, he has not been known to be an illustrator at all.
Jose Mari Lee writes in the comments section:
I CAN DRAW!
Kaya pala Leandro Martinez who was the editor of Pablo S. Gomez that time, REJECTED Caparas’ illustrations, that’s why he pursued scriptwriting.
Thanks to Tony Tenorio for giving him the “break.”
On August 10, I continue to hammer the objective case further with this post:
Fight with Objectivity
This is a response to how people are reacting to the issue, and the fact that when debating angrily, it is the anger that people see, and not the issue being discussed.
It is here that the argument that ‘CJC can be a visual artist because he “guides” the illustrator’ comes up. My initial reaction was laughter, as I felt the argument was ridiculous. In the comments section later, I take the matter seriously. Later still, I would make a whole post about it.
In the meantime, a former komiks editor, posting as MzJosephine, posted an example of the typical CJC script from the 1980′s:
Frame 1. Same scene of last frame of previous chapter.
Frame 2. Same scene pa rin, nag-uusap.
Frame 3. Bahala ka na.
Frame 4. Bahala ka na.
Frame 5. Nagsuntukan.
Frame 6. Change angle.
Frame 7. Your angle.
Frame 8. Bahala ka na.
ad infinitum na ‘bahala ka na.’
‘GUIDE: bahala ka na’ and putting it more in perspective:
If the whole chapter showed the two main protagonists in one setting and JUST talking, the guides to illustration would be ‘change angle, your angle, bahala ka na’ with the idea that the illustrator would pick up the mood of the characters as per dialogues, or be “guided” by the caption, if any.
For sure, there were 1-3 lines of guide to the illustrator, perhaps more when the scene called for more. Pero after that, puro ‘bahala ka na.’
Well, some visual artist!
On August 12, I react to pending legal action.
Here, I express my frustration that it requires bringing this issue to the Supreme Court just to determine that CJC was mistakenly given a title that does not belong to him.
On August 12, I directly address the issue of “CJC is a visual artist because he guides the illustrator” in this post:
Why Carlo J. Caparas is NOT a Visual Artist
I make comparisons with the work of an architect, who builds plans that workers execute between a writer who gives a story to an illustrator to execute.
Comics professionals and readers make very compelling arguments about this particular issue, with fascinating contributions from Floro Dery, Jun Pamintuan, Rod Samonte, Auggie Surtida, Carlo Pagulayan, and John Becaro.
On August 16, 2009, I post another video.
Where Johnny and I respond to the response of Carlo J. Caparas and his supporters to criticism with regards to the National Artist issue. Kwentong Tambay style.
Watch on You Tube
August 17, 2009
The Collaborative Nature of Comics
I talk about how komiks has never been a collaborative medium in the Philippines, to the benefit of the writer, and never the artist.
On August 18, 2009, I question the claim of 800 komiks novels that CJC supposedly accomplished.
Did Carlo J. Caparas Really write 800 Komiks Novels?
Admittedly, I couldn’t answer the question definitely myself. But I point out the inconsistencies of this claim.
On August 26 I asked people what they thought of Carlo J. Caparas’ writing in komiks.
Carlo J. Caparas’ Komiks Stories: Your Opinion?
CJC Peer and former Komiks writer Jose Mari Lee:
CJC’s writing is EXTREMELY SLOPPY. CJC loves to rehash his material. CJC’s films will test your patience. CJC should GO BACK TO SCHOOL
On August 29 I find a 2008 article on CJC, which proves to be very illuminating.
Celso Ad Castillo: Carlo’s films are tabloid
Ogie Almeda, komiks illustrator: “Bakit, bayani ba si Carlo Caparas? Maraming taga-komiks ang galit sa kanya dahil sa Sterling siya lang ang nabuhay.” Sterling is the company which published the 10 komiks titles carried in Carlo Caparas’ komiks caravan, a komiks promotional blitz conducted by Carlo last year using public funds.
On August 30, 2009, I sum up (up to this point), my argument, objective and subjective.
Why Carlo J. Caparas will Never Be National Artist To Me
On September 1, Butch Dalisay discovers tampering of the NCCA Guidelines
Butch Dalisay Uncovers Tampering of NCCA Guidelines
On September 16, 2009, it appears that contrary to Malacañang’s earlier assertion to “Let The Court Decide”, is now saying “No, it’s NOT up to the courts. It’s up TO US.”
Leave It to the Courts Or Not? The Palace Can’t Decide
October 11, 2010 UPDATE
As of now, the Supreme Court has yet to decide if it will confer the title to Carlo J. Caparas or not. In the meantime, Mr. Caparas has found himself in another controversy.
Carlo J. Caparas’ P1.3-B contract stuns PCSO
Carlo Caparas Questioned Over 1.3 Billion Budget
April 29, 2011 UPDATE
Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino Chairman and NCCA OIC Joe Lad Santos makes moves to overturn the Supreme Court’s TRO. National Artist Virgilio S. Almario objects. As do I, obviously.
Latest Update: National Artist Debacle
AUGUST 24, 2011 UPDATE
Facts and 50 Komiks Serials
I vent my frustration over Philippine Media and their insistence on considering CJC a “National Artist” in direct refutation of the fact that he isn’t. What is going on here?!
SEPTEMBER 23, 2011 Update
Komiks Writers and the National Artist Award
I answer a sensible argument against my protest.
DECEMBER 18, 2011
A Lie Told Often Enough Becomes the Truth… But Only if We Let It.
As long as people keep printing lies in what is supposed to be the “legitimate press”, I will continue to refute it in this blog. DEAL WITH IT.
And now this is how the issue stands so far, as far as this blog is concerned.
I will make a special graphic link on the left column that will link to this particular page where visitors can see the development of this issue so far. And every time I make an additional post about this, it will also be added at the bottom of this page.