CRAF Publications, Inc.
The fall of the giant Ace Publications in the early 1960s led a group of highly talented Ace illustrators to start their own komiks publishing company. These illustrators were Nestor and Virgilio Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Amado Castrillo, Tony Caravana, and Romeo Francisco. They named their company CRAF PUBLICATIONS, INC., which is a combination of their surnames’ initials. Later on, another talented artist, by the name of Jim Fernandez, joined CRAF.
In 1963, CRAF held office at the corner of Recto Avenue and T. Alonzo St., in Manila, with telephone number 6-22-98.
The group planned to publish komiks-magazines bearing the names of each of the members. But since they only had limited budget, they decided to publish the other titles on a staggered monthly basis.
The first komiks-magazine created by CRAF Publications was Redondo Komix, first released on May 7, 1963. It was followed by Alfredo Alcala’s Alcala Fight Komix on July 9, 1963, CRAF Klasix on January 29, 1964 and Amado Lovers Komix on September 3, 1964.
CRAF komiks-magazines elevated Filipino comic art to new heights, unmatched even today. Yet a few years later, CRAF closed shop. It did not prosper commercially. One of the reasons behind this fall, according to Mr. Virgilio Redondo, was a few misunderstandings between the incorporators even at the start of the company. It seemed that there was some sort of unspoken rivalry that emerged between these highly talented artists. Small things were source of petty misunderstandings, such as, who will do the cover, which artist will illustrate this or that, etc.
Yet the biggest setback of CRAF was on the economics side. Since they only had very limited funds (mostly from their own personal money), printing costs were always a big concern. CRAF also lacked an effective distribution network, a vital problem of small-time komiks publishers. Indeed, most other small komiks publishers point to this reason for their early demise.
Great artists, in general, are not great businessmen. They are too preoccupied with their art to bother on its commercial side. CRAF took the greates care to make its komiks-magazines the most artistically superior komiks of that era, yet it is not enough to ensure the companies success or even survival.
CRAF’s komiks-magazines are artistically far superior than other komiks-magazines at that time (and that includes those published abroad). Even the great illustrator Fred Alcantara was recruited to grace the pages of CRAF’s komiks. Later on, young Alex Nino would join CRAF’s creative team.
Yet, CRAF lacked the PR, so to speak, and their komiks pages speak for proof. A Redondo Komix or Alcala Fight Komix, for instance carried some of the most outstanding artworks of that era. Alfredo Alcala with his magnificent “Voltar”, and his historical ships, and Redondo with his ever popular “Gagamba” and “Palos series”. These pages are testaments of the high level of artistry achieved by these greatest Filipino artists. Yet, even these were not enough to make the company survive, much less prosper.
The big problem was that CRAF had virtually no advertisers, the life-blood of the komiks-magazine. In an industry when thousands of komiks-magazines had to be printed weekly, advertisers’ funds are vital for survival. Yet, turn the pages of a Redondo Komix or an Alcala Fight Komix, and you won’t find any advertiser. Unlike Ace which relied mostly on advertisers’ fees to shoulder their printing costs, CRAF and other small publishers lacked the PR to attract the big advertisers.
The first incorporator to leave CRAF was Jim Fernandez, who, incidentally, was the last to join. He said he was concentrating on writing stories, which was true. He sold his rights to Amado Castrillo. It was the signal, Caravana was next. No one’s sure what happened next. Maybe Alcala left CRAF in 1965 because you could not see an Alcala Fight Komix after that year. In 1966, Nestor Redondo founded his own komiks publishing company: Ares Publications, Inc.
It is not very clear when exactly CRAF finally closed shop but is believed that it did not reach the year 1969. What is clear, however, is the fact that CRAF will stand out as one of the most artistically (if not economically) successful komiks magazines in the Philippines. 
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