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Darna – Wonder Woman of Philippine Cinema

Updated on July 24, 2009

Darna is a fictional character created by a great writer, Mars Ravelo in 1950. He created Darna as a character for Philippine magazine which is “Pinoy Komiks”. It was said that Darna’s original name was Varga, and it was published in another magazine in 1947. It was with “Bulaklak Magazine”, but due to misunderstanding with the publication Mars Ravelo transferred to Bulaklaks’ competitor and there he revived Varga into Darna.

Mars Ravelo said that he did not created Darna in Wonder Woman’s image; instead it was his mother who has been his inspiration all the while.

One year after the success of Darna in Pinoy Komiks she was brought into life in the silver screen. Darna has been a success ever since and had been brought into life by many good actresses and actor as well, not just in cinema but also in television.

Darna is a sexy heroine from another planet, Marte. She is manifesting only when a small white stone was being swallowed by an earthling girl named Narda, who has been gifted by this powerful stone.

Some of Darna’s powers are telekinesis, telepathy, flight, super strength, super speed, heat vision and near-invulnerability. Her weapons are the ruby on her helmet, it allows her to emit a powerful blast; the medallions on her belt, it has some hidden swords that is shape like a star; her bracelets are not just bullet proof but it can also bring the bullet back to her opponents.

Darna’s greatest enemy is the snake Goddess Valentina. The long list of her enemies includes Roma, Armida, Lucifera, Lutgarda, Impakta, Domino Lipolico, Electra, Isputnik, The "Planetmen", The "Planet Women", The Giants, Valentine Adan, X3X, Braguda, Babaing Tuod (II), Impakta (II), Babaing Lobo, Babaing Linta, Dambuhalang Ahas, Ms. Luna, Mambabarang, Sulfura, Molecula, Nosferamus, Dr. Zombie, Ella the Zombie, The Toy Master, Divina Demonica, Black Darna (played by Katrina Halili in the 2005 series), Divas Impaktitas, Varca, Peruca, Trolca, and Lalaking Ahas.

Here are the lists of actors and actresses who portrayed Darna in movies and in TV:

• Rosa del Rosario in "Darna" (1951) and "Darna at ang Babaing Lawin" (1952)

• Liza Moreno in "Si Darna at ang Impakta" (1963) and "Isputnik vs. Darna" (1963)

Darna in action
Darna in action

• Eva Montes in "Darna at ang Babaing Tuod" (1965)

• Gina Pareno in "Darna at ang Planetman" (1969)

• Vilma Santos in "Lipad, Darna, Lipad!" (1973), "Darna and the Giants" (1973), "Darna vs The Planet Women" (1973) and "Darna and Ding" (1980)

• Chiquito in "Terribol Dobol" (1974) - first male Darna

• Lorna Tolentino in "Darna" (1977 TV Series)

• Brenda del Rio in "Darna Kuno?" (1979)

• Dolphy in "Darna Kuno?" (1979) - second male Darna

• Lotis Key in "Darna Kuno?" (1979)

• Rio Locsin in "Bira, Darna, Bira!" (1979)

• Sharon Cuneta in "Captain Barbell" (1986)

• Nanette Medved in "Darna" (1991)

• Anjanette Abayari in "Darna Ang Pagbabalik" (1994) and Ang Pagbabalik ni Pedro Penduko (1994)

• Regine Velasquez in "Captain Barbell" (2003)

• Katrina Halili in "Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2005 TV Series) - first Black Darna

• Angel Locsin in "Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2005 TV Series)

• Marian Rivera in "Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2009 TV Series)

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    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      It's great to see another hub from you, Philent! She certainly does resemble Wonder Woman! But her powers are more liken to Super Man than any other superhero. Do you have any idea how many actresses played her on the series? Such actor/actress carousel reminds me of the popular James Bond movies.

    • Philent profile image
      Author

      Philent 7 years ago

      Thanks Dohn! Actually I might add that one, the writer pointed out that other than her mother being her inspiration upon creating Darna, it was also his fascination to Superman that completed the character. 14 actors/actresses portrayed Darna in movies and 4actresses in TV including 1 Black Darna.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 7 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      That is so cool, I wish Darna movies and shows were more available to rest of the world!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Philent profile image
      Author

      Philent 7 years ago

      You are welcome Waren. Thanks to you too!

    • profile image

      herbert chavez 5 years ago

      bumili ako ng cd ng teribol doble wala namang darna si chiquito kainis

    • profile image

      Ronnie 5 years ago

      The Best Darna of all time is VILMA SANTOS!!!!!

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 20 months ago from London England

      WOW! Am i glad that i have found this article on the hub pages. I've only just perused it but intend to read it over before coming back with more favourable comment.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 20 months ago from London England

      Continued from previous posting: Having read the article in it's entirety now and absolutely stunned by the film stills and colourful illustrations i am amazed that we here were not able to get Darna here. We did however have the Modesty Blaises, Barbarella's,Thundra's, Red Sonia's etc and we got the Italian and Russian equivelents. Let us hope there is to be a revival of the Darna episodes.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 15 months ago from London England

      Next time around Darna could possibly assisted by a man servant performing a supporting act for her. There could be a witty and humorous dialogue between the two and a great empowerment effect for women.

    • profile image

      Gadfly 14 months ago from Olde London Towne

      Reyna Darna.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 10 months ago from London England

      Darna surely had a whole host of nemesis to defeat. What became of her prisoners, were they adequately punished?

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 4 months ago from London England

      Having been a life long fan of Wonder Woman it is added delight to learn of the exploits of this fighting Lady.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 6 weeks ago from London England

      Well, i am glad to have discovered this site on hub pages as it prompted me to 'look up' other Darna pages on the internet. Surprisingly i did discover a great deal of information pertaining to the superhero/ heroine. In my adolescent years we did not have many female action characters, occasionally there may have been a woman of strong character who might slap a man for getting to fresh with her but it wasn't till the advent of the Women's Liberation Movement when assertive independant Ladies came to the fore on cinema screen, television series and in novels. A catchphrase of the times were when she say "I'm fighting fit and ready for action!" So watch out wolves!

    • profile image

      Gadfly 5 weeks ago from Olde London Towne

      In western society female superhero's/ heroines came into prominence at the time of the Women's Liberation Movement however that was preceded by a few leading ladies who already skilled in the martial arts could be given the opportunity to utilise there talents to add a fight scenario to the plot line. When the 'Feminist' aspect became the norm with 1970's & 80's television series then women of all cultural backgrounds became involved in the adventurous action ladies. Hollywood had been doing the Goddess archetype since the silent era with portrayals also of Queen, Femme Fatale, Dominatrix and now the male hating Feminist. Definately there will always be plenty of scope for Darna.

    • profile image

      Gadfly 5 weeks ago from Olde London Towne

      I was just wondering if the Darna phenominan could be enhanced further given the current emergence of Women action heroes.

    • profile image

      Gadfly 4 weeks ago from Olde London Towne

      ERROR; for 'phenominan' read 'phenomenon'.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 4 weeks ago from London England

      Actually i was wondering if 'Darna' may have been inspired by legendary freedom fighters such as Sima, Uruha and other historical warrior Queens. Whatever the case, Darna comes as a perfect role model for girls and younger women.

    • profile image

      Gadfly 4 weeks ago from Olde London Towne

      Many countries world wide can lay claim to a warrior queen either in reality or legendary folklore. With Darna her special skills combined with her unique style of femininity creats a powerful entity that is both entertaining and 'feather in the cap' for the Women's Liberation Movement.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 weeks ago from London England

      What is the most impressive skill in Darna is her super human strength. It is quite feasible for a Woman to defeat any male when she adopts the will to resist. In the 1960's we saw the introduction of the female sleuths in T.V. series who used judo and karate to subdue their male adversary. This became a winning 'formula' in every episode and became standard practice in other series too. Later we were to see Chinese Ladies performing kung fu on multiple attackers. I'm sure Darna fits that category.

    • profile image

      Gadfly 3 weeks ago from Olde London Towne

      I like to think Darna has greater strength than males is that she adheres to a rigid practice of training exercises. Where she doesn't have the power to subdue an adversary then there is always her accessories to aid her.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 weeks ago from London England

      I've personally met women in real life who are physically stronger than most men.May have something to do with a tough upbringing, gaining confidence in being able to defeat a male and perhaps a little phsyic intimidation.

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