THE MONOPOLY OF FORM: COUNTDOWN TO MONOPOLY THEORY (Part 2)
Don Ramon Roces’ magazine and newspaper distribution network grew to an extent that even if you were a bourgeoning komiks competitor you had no choice but to avail of this national distribution network that was the only one existing. Oftentimes, the fees paid for availing of this distribution service ate up the income profits of up and coming komiks competitors’ so the latter had no chance to shine. Alternative distribution networks were tried but they were not wide enough and eventually folded against Don Ramon’s humongous network.
“Some new and independent publications like ‘Extra’ and ‘Romansa Komiks’ of the late 1950s published by the Philippine Book Company, folded when their star writer, Ramon Marcelino quit and joined the Roces’ ACE Publications. In 1963, some enterprising komiks writers and artists like Pablo S. Gomez (PSG Publications), the brothers Nestor and Virgilio Redondo and Alfredo Alcala of CRAF, and others, tried to start their own komiks business. Unfortunately however, their companies ended up being bought by the Roces publishing empire. Mars Ravelo’s RAR publications maintained its independence but later folded due to financial problems. G.M. Miranda and Sons, and the Rex Group of Komiks through their predominantly ‘educational’ komiks, tried to stay afloat but were saddled by a dismal circulation base.”
“In sum, controlling the distribution network is one sure way not only of dominating the komiks market and of eliminating the competition, but it is also a way of inhibiting the development of a potent and underappreciated art form.”
Distributing Komiks: The Art of the Kill
Excerpts from ‘What Really Killed the Filipino Komiks Industry?’ by Lawrence Mijares (Siklab Magasin; 2004)