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Ramon Marcelino, 1928/1929-2010
posted September 20, 2010

Ramon Marcelino, a longtime comics writer and prominent comics editor who also wrote a history of Filipino Comix, died early September 18 from a heart attack. He was 81 years old.

Marcelino began his career in 1951 reportedly recently out of high school -- his age as provided by his family indicates that he may have been in his early 20s -- when he became an assistant of Extra Komiks editor Edilberto Tablan. He followed the publication after its sale to a larger publisher and became its editor. He helped found the Association Of Publishers And Editors Of Philippine Comics Magazines in 1958. This was a group that with the aid of a Catholic community charity active in the country sought to practice self-censorship by creating only wholesome and edifying comics material, making the organization's code country's equivalent to the Comics Code Authority.

imageMarcelino helped found not one, not two but three different comic book publishers. In 1962, following the collapse of Ace Publications in the wake of a labor strike, Marcelino was one of three comics-makers approached by Don Ramon Roces to start a new company -- both filling the void left by the departed company and continuing the family tradition. Graphic Arts Services, Incorporated (GASI) was founded on August 1, 1962, with Marcelino as its editor. They had offices and a printing press in Manila, and their first publication (Kislap Komiks) hit the market in September 1962. By one year into operation they were publishing five magazines.

In 1968, Marcelino resigned from GASI during a major overhaul, and organized Ace Publications, this time working with Dona Carmen Roces-Davila. He stayed with that company for approximately 10 years, resigning in the late 1970s to pursue freelance opportunities. In 1978 he founded his third Roces-financed company, the Islas Filipinas Publishing Company. He would later become a production manager at the Manila Times

Marcelino remained a writer throughout. An I believe crowd-sourced entry on Filipino culture cites the comic serial Dirty Politician, Sumpain Ka! as one of his most popular works. His character "Cleopakwak" was adapted into a movie in 1968. That same source notes that Marcelino was the author of a serial prose novel appearing in the publication Liwayway called Si Piolo at si Lorelei. Perhaps his most famous piece of writing was a history of Filipino comics, A History Of Komiks Of The Philippines And Other Companies, which came out from Islas Filipinas in 1985. He also wrote a history of the Roces family and material in various formats about comics scriptwriting, and wrote the screenplay for at least one movie.

Although no date of graduation is provided, Marcelino studied journalism at and graduated from Manuel L. Quezon Institute in the Quiapo district of Manila. It is now Manuel L. Quezon University, which indicates that Marcelino graduated before 1958.

thanks, Gerry Alanguilan