As a kid, I did not read comics (there was a lack of reading materials in our house growing up) but at a young age I already knew who Mars Ravelo was (or at least knew of his works). Mars Ravelo was the king and pioneer of Philippine comics. He was what Jack Kirby had been (or what Stan Lee is) to Marvel . He was best known for his superhero comics- Darna and Captain Barbell. Both his superhero titles have been adapted to TV series and movies (another Darna adaptation is in the works at abs-cbn). These adaptations brought his characters to a wider audience and Mars Ravelo became a household name.
Last April, the National Committee on Culture and Arts (NCCA) held an exhibit in honor of Mars Ravelo which focused on his early works. Mars Ravelo’s fame was built on his superhero comics so it came as a total surprise to me that he actually started his comics career making funny and humorous titles. His first foray in comics was just after World War 2. The Philippines at that time was still recovering from the trauma brought by the Japanese occupation. Ravelo wrote funny comics to bring levity and uplift the Filipino spirit. Although the superhero titles arguably brought him greater success, he was already successful even before the first Darna came out.
Here is a look of some of Mars Ravelo’s early works: