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History


The late Filipino komiks legend Mars Ravelo created Asia's first superheroine in 1947 named "Varga." She first appeared in Bulaklak Magazine, Volume 4, #17 on July 23, 1947 and quickly became popular amongst its readers. Mars Ravelo wrote and illustrated the stories, and his artistic style were comprable to Max Fleischer Studios cartoons from the early 20th Century. As a human, Varga was known as the little girl named "Narda" (Mars Ravelo based this on the name of a boyhood playmate). In her superhuman form, she fought against common criminals, as well as greater forces of evil. Like the Darna of today, Varga stood up for those who could not fend for themselves. 

Having differences with the the editors of Bulaklak Magazine in 1949, Mars Ravelo decided to take his creation elsewhere. Unfortunately, the superheroine's name, "Varga," belonged to Bulaklak Magazine. His creation's name was changed to "Darna," which is simply "Narda" spelled backwards. (Many Darna fans mistakenly believe that the second name is based "Ibong Adarna," a bird of Philippine folklore)

 
Mars Ravelo re-launched his creation in Pilipino Comics #77 on May 13, 1950 as the "new" Darna - the mighty warrior from the planet Marte. Both Varda and Darna are, in essence, the same character except for their superheroine names. To revamp his creation, Mars Ravelo assigned newcomer Nestor Redondo (soon to become legendary) to illustrate the new comic. Darna's fame quickly grew starting with Filipino komiks readers, but she did not become a household name until the following year.

On May 31, 1951 Filipinos witnessed the first marvelous live action flight of Darna, in Fernando Poe Senior's Royal films production- "DARNA" starring Manila's golden age movie queen Rosa Del Rosario as Darna and Cristina Aragon as Valentina, while Mila Nimfa portrayed Narda. The movie was a huge box office success. 

From then on there was no stopping Darna. Numerous hit movies and TV shows were made and only portarayed by the Philippines' biggest stars. Endless versions of Darna was also serialized in different comic books.
 

Mango Comics Miniseries

 

With major input from the late Mars Ravelo's family, Mango Comics published an award-winning Darna miniseries in 2003. This account of Mars Ravelo's creation depicts Narda as a college student who first found the stone 10 years before. Darna's origin, however, was retconned even further. Darna's race of "Adarna Warriors" and Valentina's "Serpent Queens" had been waging war for many years on their home planet called Tiamat. The Ardana Warriors used artificial wings (bearing semblance to the Hawkmen and Hawkwomen of Thanagar) and the Serpent Queens were reminiscent of Nagas as well as Gorgons. Because of the war between the two factions, they fled Tiamat and travelled to a different planet named Nibiru (also known as Marte). Here, Darna (both the name and the character) is explicitly linked to the Ibong Adarna (a mythical bird of Philippine legend). 

 

Television

 

2005

The drama fantasy action television series based on the Mars Ravelo's fictional character premiered on the Global Media Arts (GMA) Network in Filipino homes on April 11, 2005 and ended on November 25, 2005. It stars Angel Locsin as Darna, Alessandra de Rossi as Valentina, and Celia Rodriguez as Braguda. 
 

2009 

Another version of Darna was re-introduced through television by GMA7 last  year. It was said to have picked-up where the 2005 series left-off. Narda (Played by Marian Rivera) is crippled orphan who has never felt the love from her grandmother and foster parents. Until she reconnected with her childhood friend Eduardo, and sparks fly between them. Everything seemed to be going well until she comes across a white enchanted stone and everything about her past becomes clear. A spirit of her mother unravels to her the secret about warriors not from this world and Narda is the sole survivor and heir to her mother's awesome power. The power of Darna! Whenever Narda shouts "DARNA" she transforms into a powerful warrior for justice named Darna. But who will Narda chose? Eduardo, the love of her life or the people she has sworn to protect?    
 

Powers

 

Darna's powers include flight, super strength, super speed and near-invulnerability due to her psionic abilities. She uses telekineses to enhance all of her abilities. Her invulnerability is due to her alien origin. Due to her psionic powers, she also has limited telepathy. She transforms into her hero form by shouting her name.    

 

Weapons

 
The winged medallion on her helmet contains a ruby that enhances her psionic abilities.The ruby also allows her to fire a psionic blast and fire lasers from her eyes. The medallions on her belt can be thrown like shuriken. Sometimes she uses bracelets like Wonder Woman to deflect bullets.   
 

Movies


  • Darna (May 31, 1951)
  • Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (Darna and the Hawkwoman) (August 15, 1952)
  • Si Darna at ang Impakta (Darna and the Evil Twins) (June 27, 1963)
  • Isputnik vs. Darna (August 12, 1963)
  • Darna at ang Babaing Tuod (Darna and the Tree Monster) (April 14, 1965)
  • Darna at ang Planetman (Darna and the Planetman) (January 18, 1969)
  • Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (Fly, Darna, Fly!) (March 23, 1973)
  • Darna and the Giants (December 22, 1973)
  • Darna vs The Planet Women (December 22, 1973)
  • Darna Kuno? (March 30, 1979) {note that this was a parody of Darna}
  • Bira, Darna, Bira! (June 15, 1979)
  • Darna and Ding (February 8, 1980)
  • Darna (December 25, 1991)
  • Darna Ang Pagbabalik (Darna The Return) (June 9, 1994)
  • 2006 Robitussin Liqui Gel Commercial

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