“800 Komiks Novels” is something that Carlo J. Caparas, as well as his own supporters, state as one of his achievements in Philippine comics. Many of his supporters brag that none of CJC’s peers have accomplished anything of the like. Perhaps they believe that the sheer number of these novels alone makes CJC deserve the title of National Artist. It’s actually irrelevant as there is no provision in the National Artist Guidelines of the NCCA that gives points for quantity of work alone.
But I want to address this issue for the sake of fact checking.
Let me quote some of CJC’s more prominent supporters:
“Si Carlo, eight hundred komiks novels. Kaya ba nila ‘yan? Nagawa ba ‘yan ni Mars Ravelo? Hindi. Si Carlo lang talaga ang nakagawa n’yan kaya he deserves the award.” -Manoling Morato
“He’s the only komiks novelist (with more than 800 serials to his credit…and counting) “ -Ricky Lo, Philippine Star
And from CJC himself:
“Nakapagsulat ako ng mga 500 nobela at mga short stories na lahat umaabot ng 800.” – Carlo J. Caparas
I find the claim curious because it’s so inconsistent. In the first three statements alone, Manoling, Ricky and CJC himself can’t seem to agree on the actual number. Is it 500 or 800 komiks novels/serials?
Manila Standard columnist Fel V. Maragay, in his column “First Crack” on August 28, 2006 wrote:
“When he stopped writing in 1987 to devote his time to marital life, Caparas had already penned about 800 komiks novels. Without sounding irreverent, many prominent Filipino writers could not hold a candle to this literary titan, output-wise. “
In Fel’s column on January 9, 2008, he wrote:
“He has become a household name because of the komiks novels and short stories—more than 800 in all—he has penned in a span of more than 40 years. In fact, he is the acknowledged komiks king. Among the popular novels he authored were the “Panday” series, “Bakekang,” “Pieta,” “Bakekang,” “Tuklaw” and “Andres de Saya.”
In Fel’s first column, he says 800 komiks novels. In the second, the 800 now includes short stories. Take note that Fel credits CJC with 800 novels in 1987, a full 20 years since CJC started writing in 1967. In the next column, the years jump from 20 to 40.
Curiously, in Fel’s column of October 11, 2008 he wrote:
“October 11, 2008
“Caparas, a high school dropout from an impoverished family in Pasig, has written over 1,000 novels and short stories.”
So it’s 1,000 now. It becomes even more curious just a month later where he writes in his column of November 29, 2008:
“…the durable master storyteller who has written over 2000 novels and short stories “
The actual archive of the Manila Standard goes back only a month so you can’t search for it there. I found all this using Google’s cache of Manila Standard’s site. It took a bit of doing to extract all of this, but I’m sure those with hard copies will be able to confirm this information.
All this beg the question: How many novels did Carlo J. Caparas really write? 500? 800? 1000? 2000?
The inconsistency in CJC’s supporters’ claims is rather telling. It seems that nobody really knows the exact number, and that the 800 novels claim is now highly suspect. In fact, I believe it’s simply a GUESS.
I have spoken with several komiks historians and collectors, and they are unanimous in their opinion that it’s simply not possible for CJC to have written that amount of work in that amount of time. Their estimate is nearer to 150-200. In their research, the most prolific komiks writer is actually Pablo Gomez, with around 300 komiks novels to his name. (Even the Ravelos dispute CJC’s claim.)
I am bringing this up because the title of “National Artist” is a very prestigious one. And whoever holds this title must be open to an objective scrutiny of their accomplishments. A National Artist can’t simply throw out an arbitrary number and claim that as his body of work. This is the NATIONAL ARTIST TITLE at stake here. You don’t GUESS credentials.
We need proof of credentials.
And for this 800 komiks novels claim to be proven, a comprehensive list is required. This list should include the following information:
3. Publication information including title of komiks magazines, publisher, and date of publication.
If Carlo J. Caparas is going to live off taxes that I am paying the Philippine government, I have the right to this information. Without this information, this 800 komiks claim is BOGUS, and this credential FAKED.
If you agree that Carlo J. Caparas is not qualified to be National Artist, please sign the petition.