Carlo J. Caparas


CARLO J. CAPARAS’ name is synonymous with movie blockbusters, but he honed his talents while writing for the komiks.

His career was highlighted by the Film Academy Awards in the Best Story, Best Picture and Best Direction categories, for his serial, Pieta. This was published in the Darna Komiks of the Atlas Publishing Co., Inc.

Shaped by his humble beginnings as a factory worker, Caparas’ novels are laced with human sensitivity and a feeling soul. His lowly life hovered above his art giving greater dimensions and depth to his stories.

But his first attempt at the writing field started during his days as a security guard. To while away lethargic moments, specially during the doldrums of the night shifts, Caparas decided to dabble on komiks illustrations that fit into scripted stories. Caparas derived this “hobby” from townmate and friend, illustrator Mar T. Santana – already an established name in the field at the time. With each stroke of the pen and brush, Caparas was faced with the inescapable decision of whether to stick to illustrations or else be a writer. “I shall write!” was his final declaration.

From his first short story, “Ako’y Nagmamahal Sa Iyo”, which appeared in the PSG Publishing House, in 1967, Carlo J. Caparas turned out many more enduring novels to satisfy the public’s craving for new and fresh plots.

In 1970, the factory hand cum security guard became associate editor of Superstar Nora Aunor Movie Entertainment Magazine of the Affiliated Publications, under the stewardship of Antonio S. Tenorio, as Editor. His opening salvo for said komiks was Citadel. This was followed by Till Death Do Us Part. Kiss My Feet was his third successful novel.

But one of his earlier and more memorable hits was the novel Bakekang which was serialized in the Bondying Weekly Movie Specials of the Ace Publications. The novel ran for several years and was adapted for the silver screen. Nora Aunor played the title role in that film.

Following Bakekang were more hit novels. Among the more exceptionally popular and which Caparas himself regards as one of his own favorites was Juan Tornado. Caparas billed Tornado as “the first Filipino heavyweight boxer” and played on the Filipino male’s ego by pitting him against a fictional Muhammad Ali, then the reigning world heavyweight champion.

Other famous Caparas hits were The Hero, Angela Markado, Totoy Bato, Ang Panday, Ermitanyo, Kung Tawagin Siya’y Bathala, Ang Huling Lalaki sa Baluarte, Somewhere, Pieta, Kahit Ako’y Lupa, Mong, Agatona, Harimanok, and Andres de Saya, to name only a few.

Pieta, published in the Darna Komiks, was such a hit with readers that it had to have a sequel. So was Kahit Ako’y Lupa which was serialized in the Espesyal Komiks and had Anak ng Lupa for the sequel’s title. Mong’s sequel was Mong sa NBA and it was serialized in the Pilipino Komiks. Andres de Saya, published in the Tagalog Klasiks, was given the title Mabagsik na raw si Andres when Caparas wrote its sequel.

Caparas belongs to the very unique breed of komiks craftsmen who are at home in both the action-drama and comedy genres. For just as he can readily burn the komiks pages with violent action, or tag at his readers’ heart with soul-rending drama, he can easily make them roll with laughter with his comedy.

Juan Tornado was a comic character. So were Mong, Agatona, Andres de Saya and Harimanok. Tornado was a bumbling, reluctant would-be heavyweight champion. Mong was towering young man literally pushed into the hardcourt by his over-ambitious father. Agatona was a tomboyish female basketball player. Harimanok, on the other hand, was a wisecracking talking-rooster and was apparently inspired by the sarimanok, the Muslim symbolic bird. It ran for several years in the Superstar Komiks.

His mastery of his chosen art could easily be gleaned from his capacity to manage a record-high of thirty-six weekly serials at the same time.

Many of Caparas’ novels have been turned into films. His novel, “Durugin si Totoy Bato”, did not only hit the chart as top-grosser at the box-office: it also won for Caparas the much-coveted FAMAS Award. The fantasy-adventure flick, “Ang Panday”, also a komiks serial, was an unprecedented topgrosser for three consecutive years (two were sequels) at the Metro Manila Film Festival. “Angela Markado”, a novel about a rape victim who sought justice and vindicated herself by killing her abusers one after the other, earned him international acclaim in a French Film Festival.

Despite the laurels and kudos he has received in the silver screen, Carlo J. Caparas would opt to say, with dignified pride: “I am a komiks scriptwriter”. For Caparas, no better title could aptly describe him. No other title would suit him a “T”. And no other title would he ever cherish.

Published Works