Philippines’ foremost fictional female superhero created by Marcial “Mars”
Ravelo (1916-1988) that has been showcased in komiks (Filipino comics),
newspaper strips, movies and television series, and has become part of
Philippines pop culture. In the original komiks series, a Filipino barrio girl
named Narda got hold of a pebble that fell from the sky, and when she swallowed
it and called out the name “Darna” inscribed in the pebble, she was transformed
into a superwarrior entity from the Planet Marte. Several versions of the
character have since appeared both in comics, films and TV series.
concept of a female superhero started in the mind of a young pioneering
writer-illustrator named Marcial “Mars” Ravelo sometime in 1939. Ravelo was a
great fan of Superman, created by Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) and Joe
Shuster (1914-1992), which first appeared in Action Comics #1 in June
1938 and debut as a newspaper comics strip in January 16, 1939. Ravelo thought
of creating a female counterpart for Superman because he believed in the
concept that America is “male” and the Philippines is “female.”
then, Ravelo’s original superheroine was named Varga, the “Wonderwoman from
Marte (the planet Mars in Filipino),” which like Superman is super strong, can
fly at great speed, impervious to any man-made weapons and originated from
another planet. He didn’t want to use the term “Superwoman” so as not to
plagiarize the Siegel and Shuster creation. Instead he used the term “Kamangha-manghang
Dilag” or “Wonderwoman.”
who at 23 was also a struggling cartoonist, started showing his creation, clad
in more or less a Philippine flag-like costume, to his American friends as the
Philippines’ answer to Superman. He also tried approaching several publication
company both here in the Philippines and in the United States. He was rejected
several times; the common response was “a female superhero will not sell.”
was quite dismayed by the reactions, especially when All Star Comics
released a very similar superhero character, Wonder Woman, in December
8, 1941, said to be created by William Moulton Marston a.k.a. Charles Moulton (1893-1947),
who is also the inventor of the polygraph or lie detector.
The single page of the first
issue of "Varga" in Bulaklak magazine Vol. 4 No. 17, July 23, 1947.
was not until after World War II that luck smiled on Mars Ravelo’s behalf. His
superheroine Varga made her debut in Bulaklak magazine Volume 4, Number
17 on July 23, 1947 and became quite popular with readers everywhere. Varga
was, in all things but name, the woman we now know as Darna. She stood up for
the weak and the oppressed, battling common criminals as well as evil in
supernatural form. Varga was both written and illustrated by Ravelo whose
artistic style resembled the cartoons of Irish cartoonist George McManus
(1884-1954) of the “Bringing Up Father” fame, and Jewish-American animator Max
Fleischer (1883-1972), the creator of the doll-like cartoon character Betty
By some twist of circumstance, the name Varga
became the ownership of Bulaklak magazine
and when Ravelo left Bulaklak in 1949
after a falling out with its editor, Varga stayed behind. Ravelo took her
image, flowing sash and all, to Pilipino Komiks.
On May 13, 1950, Mars Ravelo re-launched his
beloved comic superheroine now called Darna, the “Mighty Warrior from Planet
Marte.” Darna’s first breath-taking adventures were first serialized in the
pages of Pilipino Komiks #77, where she fought the snake-haired woman
the concept remained the same, Ravelo assigned another artist to illustrate his
creation – the soon to be legendary Nestor Redondo. Unlike Ravelo, Redondo’s
style of drawing was more realistically proportioned. Darna then donned the
costume of crimson two-piece bikini with a star in each brassiere cap,
transparent white front sash, almost knee-high stiletto and golden wings on the
forehead. With the success of “Darna,” it was followed by “Darna at ang Babaeng
Lawin” (Darna and the Hawkwoman), also in Pilipino Komiks in 1951, “Si
Darna at ang Babaeng Impakta” (Darna and the Evil Twin) in Kenkoy Komiks
in 1962, “Darna at ang Babaeng Tuod” (Darna and the Woodwitch) in Liwayway magazine in 1964, “Si Darna at ang
Planetman” (Darna and the Planetman) in Holiday Komiks in 1966, etc. The
character became so popular that she was given her own komiks title, Darna, by Atlas Publication, the
publisher of Pilipino Komiks.
Darna at ang Taong Ibon
(Darna Komiks Magasin #964,
October 12, 1987). Date of issue was 3 days after
Mars Ravelo’s 71st birthday
The Darna Komiks Issue #1 was released on February 3, 1968 featuring the series
“Darna at ang Babaeng Linta” (“Darna and the Leech Woman”). At the start, the Darna Komiks Magasin was released twice
a month. But by popular request, it immediately became a weekly issue. Since
then more than 25 comics series have been written bearing her name. She fought
the likes of Black Orchid, Dyanga, Taong Diablo (Demon Man), Taong Ibon
(Birdman), Zumarma, Black Mercury, Araknido, The Warlock, Black Widow, Satanina
Dayabolika, Toxic Monster, Devil Dinosaur, etc. Darna was and still is the most
popular character in Philippine comics history. An iconic popularity
unsurpassed, spanning six decades, even after the death of its equally iconic
creator, Mars Ravelo.
issues of post-Ravelo Darnas: Darna
Komiks #1275, September 27, 1993; Super
Action #1 where Darna was given a new look; and Super Action #12.
THE FIRST DARNA SERIES
first issue of the first Darna series (Pilipino
Komiks #77, May 13, 1950)
On Darna’s first adventure series in Pilipino
Komiks, written by Mars Ravelo and illustrated by Nestor Redondo, she was
introduced to possess the charm of Venus (Roman goddess of beauty and love),
the fortitude of Apollo (Greek god of eloquence and of the Sun) and the
strength of Samson (Biblical hero of great strength). Her alter-ego, Narda, a
young girl from a barrio identified only as “M-” (in reference to Malabon,
General Trias, Cavite, the birthplace of Mars Ravelo) not far from Manila,
living with her younger brother Ding and her grandmother. One night while Narda
and her brother were playing hide-and-seek with other children, she saw a bulalakaw
(meteorite) streaking down from the sky and when it was falling towards her, it
suddenly lost its brightness and turn into a pure white pebble. Narda notice an
inscription in the pebble, the name “Darna.”
Suddenly her playmates where coming towards
her. Fearful that they might take the beautiful pebble from her, she put it in
her mouth, but as if the pebble has a life of its own; it went down her throat
and into her stomach. She then felt like traveling into the cosmos together with
tens of thousands of stars.
When Narda return to her senses, she was
already at home with her brother and grandmother. Narda told them what
happened, and when they asked what was the named inscribed in the pebble, she
blurted out “Darna!” In a split second, Narda was transformed into Darna.
transformed entity – Darna – explained to them that she is in the person of
Narda, and that the pebble is an amulet that transforms her body and gives her
power and strength. Darna also told them that she came from the Planet Marte
(which is the Filipino equivalent of the Planet Mars, and also in allusion to
the nickname of the character’s creator). Darna also demonstrated how she would
transform back, by shouting the name of “Narda.” Darna would henceforth be the
champion of good that will combat all forms of evil on Earth. In this regard,
Ravelo made her superheroine a fitting tribute to his mother, which he
considered as his “champion and hero.”
In Pilipino komiks #78, Ravelo narrates
the origin of Valentina (referred to as the “goddess of snakes”), Darna’s first
super-foe. Valentina was the daughter of Miguel and Doray. She has snakes
instead of hair on her head (much like the mythical gorgon, Medusa). She also
has the command over all kinds of snakes. Valentina was mentored by a snake
creature name Kobra (which in the GMA 7 TV series Darna that starred
Marian Rivera, was purportedly revealed as Valentina’s real father. However, in
the komiks version, Kobra was originally a female entity).
last issue of the first Darna series (Pilipino
Komiks #104, May 26, 1951)
Valentina was spurned by humankind and by the
only man she loved the most, Edwardo. She also committed parricide. This drove
her into evil and soon she planned to destroy humankind and transform Earth
into a world of snakes. Darna tried to stop her. An earthquake annihilated
Valentina’s legion of snakes together with Kobra. In the end, Valentina was
defeated and committed suicide by jumping into the cliff where she threw the
dead bodies of her parents.
DARNA IN THE SILVER SCREEN
Manila’s Golden Age movie
queen Rosa Del Rosario
as the first Darna (1951).
May 31, 1951 Filipinos witnessed the first marvelous flight of Darna (courtesy
of Royal Films), in a Fernando Poe Sr (1916-1951) directorial Darna
starring Manila’s “Golden Age” movie queen Rosa Del Rosario (1917-2006) as Darna and
Cristina Aragon as the supervillain Valentina, while Mila Nimpa portrayed the
young Narda and Manuel Ubaldo played the role of Ding, Narda’s little brother.
The movie was a huge box office success. From then on there was no stopping
Darna. Numerous box office films and endless serialized stories in different
comic books followed.
1951, fourteen Darna movies have already been made. Each decade has its own
version of this versatile superhero. Rosa Del Rosario made two successive films
in 1951-1952. The 1960s saw Liza Moreno, Eva Montes and Gina Pareño portraying
the role in the big screen.
Nimpa played Narda and
alterego Darna played by
del Risario. In the earlier
films two actresses
portray the two characters.
its earlier version, the role of Darna and its mortal host, a young barrio lass
named Narda, were portrayed by separate actresses. Among the noted actresses
who played the role of Narda are Coney Angeles (1964) and Gina Alajar (1969).
Francine Prieto (under her real name Anna Marie Falcon) played the young Narda
in the Joel Lamangan 1991 remake of Darna with Nanette Medved in the
inter-galactic pebble-like amulet found its way to Vilma Santos’ throat in 1973
via the Emmanuel Borlaza, Joey Gosiengfiao and Elwood Perez trilogy Lipad,
Darna, Lipad! She made a total of four movies in a span of seven years
playing both Narda and Darna. Rio Locsin squeezed in a portrayal in 1979 with Bira,
Darna, Bira!But Vilma Santos made a
comeback, with then child wonder Niño Muhlach as Ding, in 1980’s Darna at
from Manuel Ubaldo and Niño Muhlach, other notable child actors that played the
role of Ding, were Boy Alajar (1969), Angelito (1973), Dondon Nakar (1973),
Bentot Jr (1975), Romnick Sarmenta (1979), Lester Llansang (1994), and Robert
“Buboy” Villar in the Marian Rivera’s TV remake of Darna (2009-2010).
NOTABLE FACTS AND REVISIONS
Darna at ang Babaeng Lawin on the cover
of Pilipino Komiks #120, January 5, 1952.
to popular belief, Darna was not named after the Adarna bird of Philippine
myth. Since the name “Narda” (said to be the name of Ravelo’s playmate when he
was a young boy) was already established as Varga’s mortal identity in Bulaklakmagazine, Ravelo decided to
rename his reincarnated superheroine from the anagram of Narda. So, the name
“Darna” sprung from “Narda” and not the mythical Adarna bird. Half a century
later, however, the writers of MangoComics, which acquired the
licensure rights over the Darna character, explicitly linked Darna to the
were made on how Narda got her powers. Darna’s origin is varied in numerous
Darna comics and movie scripts. Since scriptwriters, directors and producers
try to make their movies palatable to their different tastes and predilections.
the original komiks version, Narda did not have to remove the magic stone every
time she transformed from Darna back to Narda, when she first swallowed the
amulet, it has remained within her and all she needs to do is to say the magic
words to transform. Later revisions show Narda carrying the stone in a pouch
and swallowing it each time she needs to become Darna, and spewing it back out
after transforming back to her earthly alter-ego Narda.
Vilma Santos as Darna, on the cover of Kislap March 22, 1973 issue
Darna was not Narda. In the strictest sense, the young Narda is just the
medium, the vessel for the alien superwarrior Darna to take over. This means
anyone who swallow the stone and shout the magical name, even a man, would
surely still look like Darna, because by doing so (swallowing the magical stone
and shouting Darna’s name), he is making a magical invocation for Darna to
appear in his behalf. This is based on Mars Ravelo's original concept. So, Chiquito and Dolphy’s portrayals of a male
(homosexual) Darna in Terebol Dobol (1974) and Darna Kuno (1979)
are grossly incorrect. Niño Muhlach also briefly did the same, transformed into a "male" Darna in Darna at
concept of Narda and Darna being of different entity was later revised. Today,
we know Darna and Narda as one person of dual identity.
Anjanette Abayari as Darna in the film
Darna: Ang Pagbabalik (1994)
three best Darna films are Poe Sr’s 1951 pioneer Darna, Eva Montes’ Darna
at Ang Babaeng Tuod, and Vilma Santos’ Lipad, Darna, Lipad! In the
1994 Anjanette Abayari starrer Darna: Ang Pagbabalik, directed by Peque
Gallaga and Lorie Reyes, the special effects used is modestly good, but it is
said to be the worst Darna film ever made because of several dubious error in
the portrayal of the character, her powers, costume and appearance. They made
her look like a cross between Superman, Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, which
shouldn’t be the case. Darna is an original Pinoy superheroine unique from any
three issues of Mars Ravelo’s Darna
(2003) published by Mango Comics
2003, an award-winning Darna komiks miniseries was published by Mango Comics,
with major input from Ravelo's family. This version showed Narda as a college
student who first found the pebble 10 years earlier. The details of Darna's
origin, however, were changed again – Her supposedly ancestral race of Adarna
warriors originally came from Planet Tiamat, as did the serpent queen
Valentina. Their respective people had warred against one another for many
years. On Tiamat, Darna’s race used artificial wings (In this version’s
rendering, Darna’s race is similar to the D.C. Comics’ Hawkman’s race in
Thanagar, while Valentina’s ancestry is reminiscent of the Nagas and Gorgons).
Due to the fierce war that destroyed Tiamat, the Adarnas fled to the planet
Nibiru, also known as Marte. Here, Darna (both the name and the character) was
explicitly linked to the Adarna bird (Ibong Adarna in Philippine
Angel Locsin as Darna, on the
magazine August 12, 2005 issue.
Network and Hugo Yonzon, current license holder of Darna and head of Mango
Comics, signed a licensing agreement for a new Darna television series in
2005. It premiered in Filipino homes on April 11, 2005 and garnered a 47.1%
rating according to AGB-Nielsen, making it one of the highest rated pilot
episodes in Philippine television. During the fourth episode, it garnered 52.1%
overnight ratings from AGB, the highest rating ever for any Philippine TV show.
This was the episode that Narda transforms into Darna for the first time.
Filipino actress Angel Locsin starred as Darna. The television series ended on
November 25, 2005.
this TV version, most of the Mango Comics storyline were carried over.
Darna’s origin was portrayed to be from the lineage of Queen Adran (another
anagram of Darna) of the Adranikan race in the Planet Marte. Her arch-enemy,
Valentina (played by Alessandra de Rossi), on the other hand, was the product
of hybrid impregnation of an Earth woman by an Anomalkan creature sent by
Braguda, arch-enemy of Queen Adran.
actresses who previously played Darna were involved in this TV series: Gina
Pareño (Darna and the Planetman, 1969) appeared as Darna’s grandmother,
Rio Locsin (Bira, Darna, Bira, 1979) appeared as the wife of Dr. Zombie,
one of the villains, Lorna Tolentino (Darna in 1977 TV series) portrayed Queen
Adran of Marte, Regine Velasquez (plays Darna in the Bong Revilla’s 2003
starrer Captain Barbell) sang the theme song of the series. Velasquez
also provided a voice clip of shouting “Darna!” for use in the TV series.
the final episode of this series, Narda threw the magical pebble into the sea,
and later got in trouble and was unable to transform. She was saved by Captain
Barbell (the portrayer of which was never revealed), which became the precursor
for the 2006 TV series Captain Barbell starring Richard Gutierrez.
after the end of the Captain Barbell series, GMA 7 aired a teaser
hinting the coming of a joint series, Captain Barbell Meets Darna. Angel
Locsin, however, already transferred to the rival network ABS-CBN and Richard
Gutierrez was busy with other roles. The Internet Movie Database website
(www.imdb.com) posted the same title – Captain Barbell Meets Darna –
which would supposedly led by Dingdong Dantes and Karylle sometime in late
2007, but did not materialize. In 2008, news again spread about the series
which will now be starred by Richard Gutierrez as Captain Barbell and either
Rhian Ramos, Jackie Rice or Marian Rivera as Darna. It also didn’t materialize.
in late 2009, GMA 7 made a remake of Darna starring Marian Rivera
showcasing a more acceptable storyline that the mahiwagang bato (magical
pebble) is transferred from one rightful keeper or Tagapangalaga to
another every generation or so (similar to the Green Lantern’s ring in D.C.
Comics). Here, the Darna portrayed by Rivera would battle the resurrected
most powerful supervillains: Armida, ang Babaeng Lawin (played by Ehra Madrigal),
ang Babaeng Impakta (jointly played by Nadine Samonte and Mura), Lucila, ang
Babaeng Tuod (played by Francine Prieto), and Garda, ang Babaeng Linta (played
by Margaret Wilson) that the earlier Darna (Angel Aquino) imprisoned in ice,
and a re-scripted Valentina and Kobra portrayed by Iwa Moto and Paolo Contis,
respectively. In this series, Ruffa Mae Quinto also wore, albeit, a fake Darna
several years now, there have been hints that a “major” film production of Darna (the Movie) was being
conceptualized. It was supposed be the “biggest” ever film made by Star Cinema
with Angel Locsin, in a Facebook post, even said that “It’s official. Nasa akin
na uli ang bato (I now again possessed the stone). This was a welcome treat to
the millions of Darna fans all-over. I even offered a storyline for Darna Meets Lastikman, which will star
the characters previous portrayers, Angel Locsin and Vhong Navarro. Later,
around May 2016, however, Locsin said that she could no longer portray the
character because of the back injury she sustained while training for the role. The reverberation of Darna again flying on the big screen persists nonetheless.
Several actresses like Cristine Reyes, Jessy Mendiola, Bea Alonzo, Maja Salvador, Lisa Soberano, Yassi Pressman, etc.,
were being considered for the role.
ACTRESSES AND PERFORMERS THAT PORTRAYED DARNA
Rosa Del Rosario – Darna
(1951), Darna at Ang Babaeng Lawin (1952). Here’s where the saying, “The
original is best” aptly holds true. This Fil-Am actress is by most choices, the
best and most beautiful Darna.
Liza Moreno – Si
Darna at Ang Babaeng Impakta (1963), Isputnik vs. Darna (1963). Nida
Blanca portrayed the role of Isputnik.
Eva Montes – Darna
at Ang Babaeng Tuod (1964).
Gina Pareño – Si
Darna at Ang Planetman (1969). The name of Darna's alter ego in this film as in the komiks version of the film (serialized in Holiday Komiks) is not Narda but Daria, also played by Pareño.
Gina Pareño as Darna, on the
covers of Espesyal Komiks (January 27, 1969) & Darna
Komiks (February 3, 1969).
Vilma Santos – Lipad,
Darna, Lipad! (1973), Darna and the Giants (1973), Darna vs.
Planetwomen (1975), Darna at Ding (1980).
Lorna Tolentino – KBS 9
TV series Darna (1977) produced by Kitchie Benedicto. The then
14-year-old Tolentino was the first actress to portray Darna on television.
Lotis Key – Darna
Kuno (1979). In this film spoof Brenda Del Rio and Dolphy portrayed a
pregnant and a male Darna, respectively. The first to play the role of a male
Darna is Chiquito in the 1974 comedy Terebol Dobol.
Rio Locsin – Bira,
Darna, Bira! (1979).
Sharon Cuneta – Guest
appearance in Captain Barbell (1986).
Nanette Medved, the only person of
non-Filipino descent to
portray Darna in Philippine movie.
Nanette Medved – Darna
(1991). The only foreigner to portray the role of
Darna in Philippine movie is Medved. Although she grew up in Angeles, Pampanga,
her father is Russian and her mother is Chinese. In this film, Darna was made to deflect bullets with her armband, which started the talk that she was a rip-off of Wonder Woman. This is a farce, and an obvious stupid mistake on the part of either the scriptwriter or the director of the film since Darna is impervious to bullets.
Anjanette Abayari – Darna:
Ang Pagbabalik (1994). Cameo appearance in Ang Pagbabalik ni Pedro
Penduko (1994). Abayari, together with Binibining Pilipinas titlists Daisy
Reyes, Maria Sovietskaya Bacud and Alma Concepcion also played various versions
of Darna in Toyota FX commercials.
Liza Macuja – Ballet
Manila’s stage production Komiks the Ballet in celebration of Darna’s
golden anniversary (1997)
Regine Velasquez as Darna,
on the cover of True Horoscope,
December 19, 2003 issue.
Kristine Crame and Kris
Belle Paclibar – Played the role of Darna in the stage production Darna the
Regine Velasquez –
Guest appearance in Captain Barbell (2003). She also donned the Darna
outfit on her The Singer and the Songwriter concert tour (2004)
Angel Locsin – GMA 7 TV
series Darna (2005). In this telefantasy series, Lorna Tolentino
reprised her Darna costume as Queen Adran of Planet Marte, which supposed to
pass the enchanted pebble to Narda portrayed by Angel Locsin. There were a lot
of twists and deviations from the original story in this series. The series
also had lots of peculiarities including eels being portrayed as snakes.
Several scenes from the Christopher Reeve starrer Superman (1977) were
also plagiarized in this series including the “getting the cat from the three”
and “catching the love interest falling from a building” scenes. In this series
Katrina Halili played the role of Black Darna. By most choices, Angel Locsin is
the “sexiest” Darna. This TV series also has the highest average audience
viewership percentage of all telefantasy series shown on Philippine television.
Angel Locsin also portrayed Darna in a Robitussin commercial (2006).
Rivera as Darna and Iwa Moto as Valentina.
Marian Rivera – GMA 7
TV remake Darna (2009-2010). This is probably by far the best production
of any Darna (both film and TV series). Except for the Electra (and the
Planetwomen) episodes, which was terribly corny and out of place, and some few
glitches and limitations in the scripts, the overall storyline and portrayal
were quite good. Angel Aquino also briefly portrayed Darna in this series, as
this version narrates the story that span two generations of Darna, and the
passing of the magical pebble from the older amulet keeper (Aquino) to Narda
(Rivera). In the series’ end, it was hinted that the character that Rivera
portrayed would past the pebble to a new girl which is also named Narda.
DARNA’S BIG SCREEN ENEMIES:
Valentina – Played
on-screen by Cristina Aragon (1951), Celia Rodriguez (1973), Pilar Pilapil
(1991), Pilita Corales (1994).
Armida, ang Babaeng
Lawin (Hawkwoman) – Elvira Reyes (1952), Liza Lorena (1973), Veronica Jones
Impakta – Gina Alonzo
(and Paquito Salcedo as her evil conjoined twin, 1963), Gloria Romero (1973),
Bing Loyzaga (1991).
Isputnik (not a villain
but a rival superheroine) – Nida Blanca (1963).
Lucila, ang Babaeng
Tuod – Gina Alonzo (1964).
Planetman – Vic Vargas
X3X , alien warrior
queen – Helen Gamboa (1973).
Humans made into giants
– Divina Valencia, Max Alvarado, Ike Lozada, Zandro Zamora (1973).
Electra – Rosanna Ortiz
Kara (one of the
Planetwomen) – Lita Vasquez (1975), the other planetwomen are Diana Villa and
Lei Ming, the Evil
Witch – Celia Rodriguez (1980).
Dr. Vontesberg –
Marissa Delgado (1980).
Dominico Lipolico – Edu
Manzano (1991, 1994).
Ms. Valentine Adan,
daughter of Valentina – Cherie Gil (1994).
Magnum – Bong Alvarez
OTHER NOTABLE ENEMIES
following are supervillains that fought against Darna in two GMA TV series: the
2005 Angel Locsin starrer and the 2009-2010 Marian Rivera remake.
Lobo – played by Karen de los Reyes. She also played the Babaeng Impakta and
Babaeng Tuod in the Angel Locsin Darna TV series.
Black Darna – the
essence of Darna turned into supervillain of equal strength as Darna played by
Katrina Halili (2005).
Angel Locsin as Darna and
Katrina Halili as Black Darna. Battle of the sexiest?
Braguda – powerful
Queen of the Anomalkan race of the Planet Marte, played by Celia Rodriquez
Demonica – the demon
woman played by K. Brosas (2005).
Dr. Zombie – a
scientist that transform corpses into zombies played by Christopher de Leon
Flora Carnivora – a
creation of the Babaeng Tuod played by Teri Onor (2009-2010).
Flora Venoma – another
creation of the Babaeng Tuod played by Alyssa Alano (2009-2010).
Kobra – a giant serpent
with a human head. In the original komiks version (1950), Kobra was a female
while in the GMA 7 TV remake (2009-2010) played by Paolo Contis, the creature
turned out to be Valentina’s real father.
warlock) – Played by Eddie Garcia (2005).
Molecula – a
shapeshifter played by Cristine Reyes (2005).
Nosferamus – a
grim-ripper like superbeing played by Tonton Gutierrez (2005).
Valentina’s half-sister played by Katrina Halili (2009-2010).
Shiro – notorious
gangman played by Polo Ravales (2009-2010)
Sulfura – a woman that
can spit fire and acid played by Carmina Villaroel (2005).
Toymaster – a clown
with magical power stolen from a gnome played by Bearwin Meily (2005).
Trolka – Anomalkan
COMPARISON BETWEEN DARNA AND WONDER WOMAN
In the original version, Darna was a superwarrior from the planet Marte who
came to life when the young Filipino barrio lass Narda swallowed a magical
pebble that fell from the sky and called out the name “Darna,” which is
inscribed in the pebble. In the later version, Narda and Darna have been made
into a single person with dual identity.
Wonder Woman: Princess Diana of Paradise Island came to the United
States under the guise of Yeoman First-class Diana Prince. She turned into
Wonder Woman every time she swirls around.
powers include flight, super strength, super speed and invincibility to all
man-made weapons. In later version’s, she has super-hearing and laser-like rays
can shoot from her eyes.
Woman in the original version had the “strength of Hercules” and the “speed of
Mercury.” She did not have the power of flight; she had an invisible jet which
she used to fly around. She was not impervious to bullets as she needed an
indestructible wristband to deflect them. She had a magical lasso which can
make anyone tell the truth. In much later versions, her strength and powers
were increased – she is now as strong as Superman and has the power of flight.
speaking, the character with the name Darna debut in Pilipino Komiks #77 (May
13, 1950) but the original concept was made in mid-1939. According to Mars
Ravelo (1985 interview), when he conceptualized the superheroine counterpart of
Superman, the first name that came to his mind was Suprema, which is female for Supremo (highest
rank leader), a nom de guerre of
Andres Bonifacio (READ also THE LOST WORKS OFMARS RAVELO & THE UNTOLD TRUE BEGINNING OF DARNA). He later changed it to Varga
when it was published in Bulaklak magazine
Woman debut in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941).
Films & Television:
Lorna Tolentino portrayed the
when she was 14 years old.
first Darna movie was shown on May 13, 1951, starring Rosa Del Rosario
as Darna. Since then, 14 Darna movies have been made. In 1977, a Darna TV
series starring a 14-year-old Lorna Tolentino in a one-piece costume was shown
in KBS 9. Two Television series have also been made by GMA 7, the Angel Locsin
starrer (2005) and the Marian Rivera remake (2009-2010).
character first appeared on TV in 1974 in Wonder Woman: Who’s Afraid of
Diana Prince?, played by Ellie Wood Walker. In 1976, Miss World USA 1972,
Lynda Carter, starred in the TV series Wonder Woman, which lasted three
years. A vastly altered-from-original Wonder Woman, complete with
indestructible sword and shield,made
debut in the 2016 film Batman Vs.
Superman: Dawn of Justice and was portrayed by Amy Adams.
DARNA: The Filipino’s Object of Fantasy
the first Darna movie made it into the big screen on May 13, 1951, it became an
instant box office hit. The very charming and beautiful Rosa Del Rosario,
Manila’s golden age movie queen, portrayed the role of the superheroine, under
the directorial of Fernando Poe Sr.
Darna became a household name, and was beloved
by people of all ages for more than half a century. She has also inspired the
adoration of perhaps every hot-blooded Filipino male starting from that era.
Rosa Del Rosario donning a two-piece bikini in 1951 was quite eye-catching
(even though the film is just in black and white). But there was no culture
shock as she portrayed a flying, butt-kicking superheroine, even though
Filipino women at that time wear ever-too-modest attires – elbow-covering
blouses and ankle-low sayas. Del Rosario wore the revealing costume just
barely four years after Michèle Bernadini, the Parisian dancer-model, first
wore the bikini in French swimwear designer Louis Réard’s public fashion
modeling (July 18, 1946). Although it can be said that Del Rosario’s lower
costume was more like a short pants than a bikini panty, the scenes where she
wore the costume were still considered quite erotic during those times.
Angel Locsin, by popular
is the “Sexiest Darna” ever.
Millions of fans are hoping
would again reprise her role,
this time in the big screen.
is also worthwhile to note that although Darna was not classified as a “bold”
movie (the term and genre may not have existed at the time), it can be
considered as one among the first to show a woman wearing a two-piece bikini.
And not only wearing a bikini, but flying, fighting, and doing all sorts of
Ravelo’s Darna is truly the most famous Filipino fantasy character given life
both on the boob-tube and the silver screen. According to film critics
portraying Darna is actually considered a career-defining role, so is directing
a Darna movie. All Darna portrayer got a boost in their career after playing
Del Rosario’s time, Darna, the character has become an object of fantasy –
sexual fantasy – of the Filipino male aficionados. True enough, all actresses
who portrayed the role were labeled “strictly sexy.” The aura of the
superheroine exudes sexiness beyond the heroic character. (This article is updated, May 2017)