The 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.
The 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.”