|First appearance||Bulaklak Magazine, Volume 4, #17, on July 23, 1947|
|Created by||Mars Ravelo
|Species||Transformed human /extra-terrestrial meld|
|Place of origin||The Philippines|
|Team affiliations||Adran (Queen of Marte), Aio (Adran's right hand person), Adranika (The Race on Planet Marte, led by Queen Adran), Adarna Warriors.|
|Notable aliases||Daria (alternate mortal guise), Varga (kind of)|
Darna is a fictional character and Filipino comics superheroine created by writer Mars Ravelo and artist Nestor Redondo. In her more popular incarnations, she is a deceased warrior from another planet manifesting herself through a girl from Earth, named Narda. She first appeared in Pilipino Komiks (Ace Publications, Inc.) #77 (May 13, 1950).
Darna is a retooling of Ravelo's earlier character, Varga, whose stories he wrote and illustrated himself. She first appeared in Bulaklak Magazine, Volume 4, #17 (July 23, 1947). Ravelo left Bulaklak due to the differences with the editors.
- 1 Powers and Abilities
- 2 Character History
- 3 Origin
- 4 The White Stone
- 5 Costume
- 6 In other media
- 6.1 Darna Movies
- 6.2 Darna TV series
- 6.3 Song in a Story depiction
- 6.4 Television commercials
- 6.5 Dance
- 6.6 Art and Literature
- 7 Actors and actresses who played Darna in movies and television
- 8 Darna's Nemeses
- 9 Darna Potential Future
- 10 Collected editions
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 References
Powers and Abilities
Darna's powers include flight, super strength, super speed and near-invulnerability. In the 2003 retcon, the latest releases of the comic, this is due to her psionic background. Thus a form of telekinesis enhances her speed and strength and allows her flight. Her skin has a high level of invulnerability because of her race. Her psionic abilities also allow her to exercise limited psionic influence or telepathy. For weapons, the ruby encrusted in the winged medallion on her helmet also augments her psionic abilities, allowing her to emit a powerful concussion blast and the medallions that make up her belt can be used like throwing stars (shuriken). In the 2005 TV series, she also has heat vision, lent by the ruby. In some of the movies, she uses her bracelets to deflect bullets.
Narda transforms into Darna, and vice versa, by shouting out their respective names (Darna to become Darna, Narda to become Narda). First, however, Narda has to swallow the white stone, which conveniently comes out of her mouth every time Darna changes back into herself. However, it was not so in her comic incarnations (see below). Without the stone in her mouth she can say the name of whichever form she is not using without automatically changing.
Mars Ravelo's Darna is a superheroine that began as a concept before World War II/late 1939. Mars Ravelo (1916-1988), a then young pioneering illustrator from Tanza, Cavite, thought of creating a female counterpart for Superman because he believed in the concept that America is “male” and the Philippines is “female.” Ravelo's inspiration for Darna's heroic qualities came from his childhood fascination with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman (first appearance on Action Comics, No. 1, June 30, 1938; debut as a newspaper comic strip in January 16, 1939). The Pinoy superheros ability to change from Narda to Darna, was inspired by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker's Captain Marvel (first appearance on Whiz Comics, No. 2, February 1940), who changes from the young boy Billy Batson to Captain Marvel by shouting, Shazam!. He didn’t want to use the term “Superwoman” so as not to plagiarize the Siegel and Shuster creation. So instead as inspired by Superman, Mars Ravelo originally referred to his superheroine as "Kamangha-manghang dilag" (The Amazing Warrior Maiden) and combined the superhuman qualities of Superman with his own real life hero--his mother. There were claims that Darna was a copy, or less-charitably, a rip-off of William Moulton Marston's Wonder Woman (first appearance on All Star Comics, No. 8, December 1941). But people who have spoken with Ravelo personally claimed that the Filipino comics legend based Darna on his own mother who raised him single-handedly.
Mars, a young and struggling cartoonist then, brought his superheroine idea as the Philippines’ answer to Superman to various publications both in the Philippines and in the United States but was rejected because publishers kept telling him "female superheroes will not sell". So Ravelo shelved his concept for the duration of the war. Years after the war, Ravelo realized the Filipinos were in need of a superhero so he again shopped his superheroine concept to publishers until one of them, Bulaklak Komiks ("Flower Comics") agreed to publish Ravelo's heroine that he now called "Varga" in 1947 (inspired by the Varga Girls series of illustrations) and the strip took off. Varga made her debut in Bulaklak Magazine, Vol. 4, #17 on July 23, 1947 which Mars both wrote and drew himself. In an interview, Ravelo revealed that he offered his creation first to Liwayway Magazine and then to other publications but was rejected several times. And had not Liwayway magazine turned him down on his Varga (Darna’s predecessor character), history would have put Darna’s origin inside Liwayway’s pages instead of Bulaklak, and she would have been the Philippines’ first komiks superhero (Yes, at least one-a-half years ahead of Wonder Woman's first comics appearance!).
Contrary to what some Filipinos may believe, Darna was not named after the magical Ibong Adarna (Adarna bird), which appears in a Philippine epic of the same name. In Bulaklak Magazine, Narda was already established as Varga's mortal identity. "Darna" was simply an anagram of "Narda". Also, see. Varga was, in all things but name, the woman we now know as Darna. The concept and image of Varga (who could be the first female superhero in the Philippines) was based on the illustrations of Superman appearing on comic books brought by soldiers from the United States to the Philippines. It was the story of a mortal girl named Narda (named after one of Ravelo's childhood playmates), her brother Ding and their grandmother, lola Asay who lived in the town of Masambong when a falling star revealed itself to be a magic amulet that turns the little girl named Narda into the superheroine Varga.
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 the "Varga" concept to Pilipino Komiks and transformed it to "Darna". Although the concept remained the same, Ravelo assigned another artist to illustrate his creation-–the soon to be legendary Nestor Redondo. Darna's first adventure as DARNA was first serialized in the pages of Pilipino Komiks (Ace Publications, Inc.) #77 on May 13, 1950, where she was pitted against the sultry snake goddess, Valentina. Here, Narda, a young girl, swallows a stone, which has the word Darna on it, and transforms into Darna by shouting out the latter name. Likewise, Darna turns back into Narda by shouting her name. The stone, which was from the planet Marte, stays in her body. Her secret is known to her grandmother, and her brother Ding, who becomes her sidekick. The superheroine quickly gained popularity among Filipino comic book readers. The komik serial, created by the great Mars Ravelo ran for 28 issues and those issues were vividly and expertly illustrated and executed by Nestor Redondo.
It can also be noted that Varga was a character archived twice, first, for the duration of World War II and second, when the name Varga became the ownership of Bulaklak magazine (during those times, intellectual property right is not yet in effect) and so when Ravelo left the publication in 1949 after a falling out with its editor, Varga stayed behind.
In May 31, 1951, Darna made a crossover from comics to cinema even before the Komiks serial was even finished, Royal Publications under Fernando Poe Sr. would produce the first Darna movie starring Rosa Del Rosario who was the original actress to play Darna. Darna was the last film directed by Fernando Poe, Sr. Since then, a number of actresses and actors have portrayed the most popular Pinoy superhero, not only in movies but also on different platforms. Some made from 1973 onwards starred the future multi-awarded dramatic actress and politician Vilma Santos. In these 1970s films, Darna's origin was changed; no longer a little girl, Narda was now in her late teens. Also, she herself becomes Darna, unlike the original where she just "channels" her (not unlike Jason Blood and Etrigan). Only Ding knows her secret in this version. Also, the stone comes out of Narda's mouth every time she changes back; she has to swallow it every time she wants to transform (This became standard for following versions). Darna is not specified as coming from Marte, just as a "warrior of Light". This version of Darna became most people's idea of the character for about 3 decades. A catchphrase popularized by the movies and said by Narda runs, "Ding, ang bato!" ("Ding, [give me] the stone!")
A TV series was also produced in 1977. Created by Ketchie Benedicto and airing on KBS 9, Darna! The TV Series starred another future multi-awarded dramatic actress, Lorna Tolentino, as Darna/Narda. Darna also had her own cartoon series in 1986 by GMA 7.
The Mango Comics miniseries
In 2003, a National Book Award-winning Darna limited miniseries was published by Mango Comics, with major input from Ravelo's family. DARNA is a three-part 50th Anniversary Issue (36 pages per issue, full-color, in English). The first part of the series was released on February 28, 2003, the second part on May 7, 2003 and the last part on December 13, 2003. With an all-new storyline of Bobby Yonzon and each issue drawn by a different, world-class artist, every one of this series is guaranteed to satisfy.
DARNA Issue #1: Darna finds herself faced with a familiar serpent-coiffed adversary who's sexier and deadlier than ever! Written by Boboy Yonzon, pencils by Ryan Orosco and inks by Gilbert Monsanto.
DARNA Issue #2: The action continues as Darna finally confronts her old nemesis, Valentina, and her superhuman snake companions. Her friends' lives hang in the balance as she fights to prevent the evil Valentina from enslaving the human race! Written by Boboy Yonzon, pencils by Lan Medina and inks by Gilbert Monsanto.
DARNA Issue #3: Written by Boboy Yonzon, pencils and inks by Gilbert Monsanto.
This version showed Narda as a college student who first found the stone 10 years before. However, the details of Darna's origin was changed again - Her race of "Adarna Warriors" originally came from the planet Tiamat, as did Valentina's the "Serpent Queens". Their respective peoples had warred for many years. On Tiamat, Darna's race used artificial wings. Because of the war between the Adarna Warriors and the Serpent Queens, they fled the planet Tiamat and went to the planet Nibiru, also known as Marte.
Here, Darna (both the name and the character) is explicitly linked to the Adarna bird (Ibong Adarna).
The story of Darna begins with a village girl named Narda. In a provincial town called Barrio Masambong, there were two orphans named Narda and Ding who lived with their grandmother, Lola Asay in a tiny hut. Narda love's to sing and her younger brother, Ding, plays the harmonica very well. Sometimes Narda and Ding go from house to house and sings for the money to help their grandmother to support their daily needs. While playing a game of "Hide and Seek" one night, Narda saw a shooting star in the night sky.
The celestial object crashed in a wooded area and when she came upon it saw a gleaming white stone (revealed to be from the planet Marte, and containing the mystical essence of the Andranika inhabitants of same) with a strange name inscribed upon it. Impressed by its beauty, she picked it up and decided to keep it. But when her playmates started looking for her, she immediately hid the white stone in her mouth to prevent her playmates from taking it away from her.
The white stone came alive and went down her throat into her stomach. She began to experience psychic flashes that flooded her mind with alien images of worlds far away which caused her to fall unconscious. She was found by her guardian, her grandmother, who took her home and put her to bed.
When Narda woke up, she was back at home with her grandmother and her brother, Ding. They asked her what happened and she related her bizarre experience. When her grandmother asked her what the inscription was on the white stone she swallowed, Narda said... "DARNA!!!"
Her grandmother and brother were both startled by a flash of light and smoke that filled the room and finding that were Narda once stood, there now was a tall, beautiful warrior woman. She explained to them that she was "Darna of the Planet Marte" and that she was sent to Earth to face the forces of darkness and hatred that afflicted the world. Narda was channeling the alien woman. Luckily Darna meant no harm and by saying Narda, she was able to change back.
From then on, Darna became a constant protector of the innocent and helpless from a variety of threats and villains, the greatest superhuman champion of the Philippines, and has remained so to this day.
Darna's alter ego
Regardless of its many incarnations, the story of Darna begins with a village girl named Narda who finds a small white stone, a tiny meteorite from outer space. Narda swallows the stone and shouts "Darna," she becomes a mighty warrior ready to defend Earth from evil forces.
Mars Ravelo created a second alter-ego named Daria in "Si Darna at ang Planetman" serialized in Holiday Komiks in 1969. For the first time Darna transformed into Daria in the third issue of Si Darna at ang Planetman. Daria is a grown up version of Narda.
The White Stone
The White Stone of the Adranika (a.k.a. Darna’s Magic White Stone) - properties as revealed in the latest TV series:
- Contained within the magic white stone of the Adranika is the very essence of this noble race’s power. When this mystic talisman is ingested by the Earth girl, Narda- she is able to channel the persona of DARNA by yelling this name. But ingesting the stone and yelling the name is not enough in channeling the “spirit of the stone”.
- She must have a pure heart with a selfless dedication to protecting the innocent and vanquishing evil. Narda cannot become Darna if her motivations are fueled by hatred and/ or vengeance. The power of Darna cannot be harnessed properly by a person easily allow themselves to be overcome by their emotions and/or selfish desire. Discipline and training is essential. This is why it is forbidden for the host to fall in love or to be selfish. More importantly, the Darna persona (which is the very embodiment of Adranikan power) cannot be channeled by just anyone. Only a person chosen by the magic stone itself can become DARNA and that is Narda, also known as “the chosen one”.
- In the 2005 TV series, Darna released all her pent-up negative emotions, which took on a form of their own, Black Darna.
- The white stone may be the only one of its kind but it does have an opposite- the Black Stone of the Anomalka which is under the possession of Braguda- the Queen of Darkness and ruler of the Anomalkas (Planet Marte's Evil underground dwelling race). Braguda has long sought the Adranikan stone because anyone who possesses both the black stone of the Anomalka and white stone of the Adranika will have the power necessary to conquer and dominate any planet. Although Braguda cannot channel the persona of “Darna” should she manage to acquire it, she can utilize the stone’s energy to boost her own and be a threat to the universe. This is why the magic white stone must never be allowed to fall into the hands of Braguda.
Darna's costume has varied over time, although almost all of her costume incarnations have retained some form of red bikini with a gold star in each brassiere cap, red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged medallion, gold bracelets, golden medallion belt with a loincloth in the middle, and almost knee-high red stiletto boots.
Darna is a character that fused together the concept of the superhero with the traditions of Philippine folklore. The yellow/gold stars come from the Philippine flag, the loincloth (bahag) is a visual inspiration from native costuming, and the agimat concept come from Filipino traditions. Philippine folklore has a tradition of presenting humble, pure hearted mortals that are awarded amulets that allow them to (in a way) transform their virtues into superpowers that allow them to battle supernatural evil.
In Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (1952) Rosa Del Rosario wore a red bikini with white stars, white loincloth and boots, and gold belt, bracelets and helmet.
Darna at Ang Babaing Tuod (1964) starring then newcomer Eva Montes was the first Darna version in gold bikini and red-trimmed costume (traditionally, Darna wears red bikini with gold stars and winged insignia). Darna sports a new much shorter hairdo.
In Darna at ang Planetman (1969) Gina Pareño wore a light blue bikini with red stars, gold belt with red loincloth, gold bracelets, and red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged medallion. By then, Ravelo had added another character to his Darna universe, Daria.
Sine Pilipino got then hot young star Vilma Santos to essay the role of Darna in Lipad, Darna, Lipad!. But the problem was, Vilma was hesitant to wear the two-piece costume. So, during their photo shoot for the publicity photos of the new Darna movie, she wore the Darna costume on top of her body stocking. Directors told her if she did not take it off, they will give the role to someone else. Vilma was finally convinced by producers Douglas Quijano and William Leary to lose the body stocking and wear just the costume on the day of the press conference. The press people were surprised on seeing how sexy Vilma was in her Darna costume, which was back to the original red bikini with gold stars including the red helmet with gold winged medallion, and gold boots, bracelets and belt with red loincloth. In Darna vs. the Planetwomen (1975) Vilma wore a dark blue bikini with red stars, gold headpiece and belt, and red loincloth, boots, bracelets and choker. In Darna and the Giants (1974) Vilma wore a gold bikini with red stars, red loincloth, all gold helmet, belt, boots, bracelets and choker. Darna and Ding (1980) was the last time Vilma played Darna. Her costume this time was sexier and more revealing. Vilma wore a shiny red bra with gold stars, shiny blue shorts, white loincloth, red and gold helmet with the gold winged medallion, and gold bracelets, belt and boots. This time Ding also had his own superhero costume together with his own superpowers. He wore red long-sleeved leotard and boots, and red helmet with gold winged medallion.
In 1977, Kitchie Benedicto of KBS-9 created Darna the TV Series with then young actress Lorna Tolentino as Darna/Narda. Also in this TV version, for the first time Darna wears a one-piece costume with gold stars instead of a two-piece, red helmet with a large star in the middle of the gold winged medallion, gold bracelets with red details, and gold belt with an even larger star in the middle.
In 1979 two Darna movies were made. Darna, Kuno? starred Dolphy. He wore an inflating red bikini with gold dots surrounding the gold stars, all gold helmet, belt and bracelets. Brenda Del Rio, a pregnant Darna, wore the two-piece costume as well. After giving birth Darna came back with her baby also dressed up as Darna. Lotis Key also put on the costume minus the loincloth. Bira, Darna, Bira! starred Rio Locsin where she wore the classic red bikini with gold stars, red helmet with an encircled star in the middle of the gold winged medallion, and gold star bracelets, boots and star-filled medallion belt with yellow loincloth, with the addition of a gold and red choker. This time Ding also had his own superhero costume. He wore a red mask, long sleeve shirt and boots, and blue shorts.
In the movie Darna (1991) produced by Viva Films Nanette Medved wore a ruby encrusted winged medallion tiara instead of the classic helmet, red bikini with gold stars, ruby encrusted gold bracelets, ruby encrusted gold medallion belt with red loincloth, and red boots with ruby encrusted gold wing insignia. In Darna: Ang Pagbabalik (1994) Anjanette Abayari played Darna, instead of wings on the tiara, this Darna had two leaves entwined for a headpiece. The costume was still a red bikini with the gold stars adorned with red crystals in the middle. The bracelets remained gold, the gold belt was a bit different it had a large buckle but still with a red loincloth, and the boots had gold details in them. However, the Ravelos and majority of fans wish to preserve Darna's signature look with a few design tweaks here and there from time to time.
In a cameo role in Viva Films' Captain Barbel (1986) Sharon Cuneta appeared as Darna. She wore a red and blue one-piece costume (the top part was red while the bottom was blue and the stomach area had red and blue stripes) with gold stars, red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged medallion, ruby encrusted gold medallion belt with red loincloth, ruby encrusted gold bracelets, and red boots. In the Premiere Productions remake of Captain Barbell in 2003 Regine Velasquez made a cameo appearance as Darna which she reprised in her concert tour “The Singer and the Songwriter” the following year. She wore a red and yellow one-piece costume (it looked like a gold-trimmed red bikini with the stomach part being yellow) with yellow stars, red helmet with white stone encrusted yellow winged medallion, white stone encrusted gold medallion belt with white loincloth, white stone encrusted gold bracelets, and red boots.
Lisa Macuja in Komiks CCP Ballet as Darna (1997) wore a red and turquiose sleeveless leotard (the stomach portion was white in color) with yellow stars, red helmet with yellow winged medallion, yellow belt with black loincloth, and yellow ballerina shoes while in Darna: The Ballet (2003) Kristine Crame and Kris Belle Paclibar who alternately played Darna wore the costume. There were two versions of the costume: (1) the traditional red bikini with gold stars, red helmet with gold winged medallion, red bracelet adorned with gold medallions, gold belt and loincloth, and red ballerina shoes adorned with gold medallions (the ballerina shoes looked like boots); and (2) red bra with gold dots surrounding the gold stars, yellow shorts, red helmet adorned with a seemingly large gold bird, red bracelets and belt both with gold embellishments, and red loincloth and boots.
Darna made another cameo this time in a series of Toyota Tamaraw FX commercials in 1993, with Anjanette Abayari, Alma Concepcion, and Daisy Reyes portraying Darna. Daisy wore a stomach-bearing red long-sleeved leotard (it had a ruby encrusted star in the middle of the winged collar) with gold-trimmed red cape, ruby encrusted gold tiara, ruby encrusted gold bracelets, and gold-trimmed red boots. Anjanette and Alma wore the same outfit. The outfit consisted of a red bikini with gold stars, ruby encrusted four-winged medallion tiara, ruby encrusted gold medallion belt with dot spangled red loincloth, ruby encrusted gold bracelets, and red boots with ruby encrusted gold wing insignia.
In one of the issues by Super Action Komiks Darna was illustrated differently. This time she's wearing a chest and stomach-bearing red-trimmed blue one-piece with red shoulder pads, ruby encrusted gold winged medallion tiara, blue bracelets and belt, blue knee guards with yellow wings, and red boots.
Mango Comics 2003 miniseries/Angel Locsin's Darna look is also considered one of Darna's many 'official' costumes just as the original by Nestor Redondo is. Angel wore the traditional red bikini with gold stars, red helmet with the gold winged medallion, gold medallion bracelets, golden medallion belt with white loincloth in the middle, and gold-trimmed red boots. She had four helmets: (1) red helmet with gold winged medallion for publicity photos of the TV series and Robitussin ad; (2) another red helmet with gold winged medallion for publicity photos of the TV series; (3) red helmet with the ruby encrusted gold winged medallion for publicity photos of the TV series; and (4) another red helmet with the ruby encrusted gold winged medallion which she usually wore in the TV series. Angel wore the same costume in a 2006 Robitussin LiquiGel TV advertisement. In the 2005 TV series Katrina Halili also wore a Darna costume as the villain Black Darna. As the name implies, her costume was similar to Darna but in all black and gold.
Marian Rivera's Darna costume was built by fashion designer Pepsi Herrera based on the style guide costume design created by artist Bong Leal. Marian wore the traditional red bikini with gold stars but now gold-trimmed, gold-trimmed red helmet with the ruby encrusted gold winged medallion, gold bracelets and now with gold arm cuffs, golden medallion belt with gold-trimmed yellow loincloth in the middle, and gold-trimmed red stiletto boots. Darna is currently sporting this incarnation of the costume.
In the 2010 Sinenovela: Mars Ravelo's Trudis Liit TV series (episode 37), Jillian Ward (who also played Captain Barbell's sidekick, Lelay/Super Tiny, in the 2011 Captain Barbell TV series) wore the traditional Darna costume while Pauleen Luna wore a Valentina costume similar to the one worn by Alessandra De Rossi in the 2005 Darna TV series. In a dream sequence Jillian portrayed Darna and defeated Valentina portrayed by Pauleen.
In other media
Darna in the '50s: The First
Over the years, Darna has appeared in many films. The superheroine’s popularity skyrocketed in 1951, when Royal Films produced a film version. Since then, a total of 14 films have been made portraying Darna and endless serialized stories in different comic books followed. Two Darna movies were made by Royal Films, both starring Rosa del Rosario in Darna (1951) and Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (1952). A year after Darna was first serialized in 1950 in Bulaklak Komiks, Filipinos witnessed the first marvelous flight of Darna in the big screen. The Fernando Poe Sr. directorial starred Rosa Del Rosario as Darna and Cristina Aragon as the supervillain Valentina, while Mila Nimfa portrayed the young Narda and Manuel Ubaldo played the role of Ding, Narda’s little brother. The movie was a huge box-office success. The 1952 movie was based on Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (Pilipino Komiks No.120 January 5, 1952). In Eric Cueto's interview with Rosa in the Mars Ravelo Darna website, she revealed that in her flying scenes in Darna, she was actually flying over Quiapo with the aid of a helicopter. She was suspended in the air with help of cables attached to her body and the helicopter. All her flying scenes were shot at night to hide the cables. She nearly crashed on Quiapo church in one of her flying scenes.
Darna in the '60s
In the early 1960s, two more Darna films were made, starring Liza Moreno as Darna with Danilo Jurado as Ding in Si Darna at ang Impakta (1963) produced by People's Pictures, Inc. It was very atmospheric and true to its comics serial roots. Darna's origin is once again retold on the big screen. The role of Roma was first played by Gina Alonzo who also played Lucy ang Babaeng Tuod in Si Darna at ang Babaing Tuod (1965) while Paquito Salcedo played the evil twin.
A new Pinoy superhero was introduced in 1963, Ang Babaeng Isputnik, portrayed by Nida Blanca and directed by Efren Reyes. It was immediately followed by Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions's Isputnik vs. Darna one and half month later. Liza Moreno starred again as Darna and was pitted against another superhero named Isputnik played by Nida Blanca.
In 1965, Cirio H. Santiago, who eventually became one of the most influential Filipino directors here and abroad, directed the first Darna movie in full color produced by People's Pictures Inc., Si Darna at and Babaing Tuod was shown to the public---this time then newcomer Eva Montes was tapped for the role. Eva also played Dyesebel's daughter, Alona, in the 1964 movie Anak ni Dyesebel. This version was vastly different from Ravelo's original tale. This was also the only Darna movie that focused more on the villain than on the hero. Darna appeared in the movie only three times. In one of her later interviews, Eva revealed that this was because Gina Alonzo, who played the villain Lucilla, ang Babaing Tuod, was being groomed by People's Pictures, Inc. to be its next big star.
Gina Pareño reprised the role in Vera Perez Productions' own version of Darna in Darna at ang Planetman (1969). In the movie, Gina Pareño played both Darna and Daria, while Narda was played by the young Gina Alajar. Darna also fell in love for the first time in this movie. She fell for a man who turned out to be the Planetman whom she had to defeat.
Darna in the '70s and '80s: Vilma's Darna
But the 1970s movies with Vilma Santos as Darna are iconic, influencing people’s perception of the character for some 30 years afterwards. In these movies, Darna is already a teenager and she has to swallow the stone each time she transforms, as it comes out of her mouth whenever she changes back to Narda. Her home planet was not named. Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (1973) is the first and only trilogy of the superheroine. On March 23, 1973 Darna breaks all box-office record. It was the highest grossing Darna movie in Philippine movie history and considered a turning point in Vilma's career. On the opening day of the movie the cast gave away free Darna dolls. Coca-Cola also promoted the movie by giving away Darna characters mask. It was also the first Darna movie where Darna and Narda were played by the same actress. Unfortunately, there is no existing copy left of this classic film. The line “Ding, ang bato!” (“Ding, the stone!) from the film Lipad, Darna, Lipad, became a favorite catchphrase, though it was not in the original komiks. The movie had three episodes: (1) Impakta directed by Maning Borlaza. It starred Gloria Romero as Miss Luna, a school teacher who has a dark secret. She is actually a flying flesh eater creature at night; (2) Babaing Ahas directed by Elwood Perez. It starred Celia Rodriguez as Valentina, a campy supermodel/gorgon. One scene has the actress naked in bed being caressed by a dozen snakes; and (3) Babaing Lawin (Hawk Woman) starring Liza Lorena as Babaing Lawin and Rod Dasco as Aguila directed by Joey Gosiengfiao.
Vilma starred in three more Darna films: Darna and the Giants (1973) and Darna vs. the Planetwomen (1975), which were both under Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions, and Darna and Ding (1980) with child wonder Niño Muhlach as Ding under Niño Muhlach's D'Wonder Films.
Darna and the Giants was the continuation of Vilma's first Darna movie and Darna again wore the gold bikini costume. The giants were played by Divina Valencia and Ike Lozada. Helen Gamboa played the villainess Alien Warrior Queen X3X. X3X together with her alien minions terrorizes Narda's village and captures several of the townsfolk and transforming them into mindless giants who go on a rampage across the countryside in the hopes of conquering the Earth.
Darna vs. the Planetwomen was a rebooted version of the Darna origin, with Vilma's Narda this time portrayed as a crippled teenager who was given a magical stone by a mysterious source. Vilma was the second actress to play the dual role of a teenage Narda, Darna. The Planet Women, a band of bikini-clad space amazons who are each coded with a different shade of primary-hued body paint consisted on Noche, Elektra played by Rossana Ortiz (come armed with a shopping list of Earth scientists whom they plan to abduct, setting stage for the most of the movie's action, which involves Darna's efforts to thwart those abductions), Orang played by Eva Linda, Maia and Kara.
Darna and Ding was the last time Vilma played Darna. For the first time, Ding was mentioned in the title. The film begins with a pre-credit sequence recounting Darna's origin. Apparently the notion of Darna's alter-ego having a bum leg, introduced in Darna vs. the Planet Women, has since been abandoned. In this movie, Darna was joined by Ding who now has his own superpowers. Niño also played Darna in this movie. Also, Lito Anzurez stole the magic stone and transformed into Darna. Dr.Irene Vontesberg played by Marissa Delgado in an eye-flashing performance addressing a past injustice by raising the recently dead and setting them upon the villagers. This provides for a lot of creepy moments. Veronica Jones played Babaeng Lawin. As is typical of the series Darna and Ding shows Narda's tiny rural village to be the locus of every imaginable kind of extraterrestrial, criminal and paranormal activity—and shambling, green slime slobbering ghouls. Vilma displayed her faux kung fu skills, but then it takes a darker turn, with one of the cons gunning down an innocent bystander. Much as with Dr. Vontesberg, there seems to be a tragic dimension to Lei Ming, as she follows many of her acts of evil with extended crying jags. Darna and Ding's final episode sees the pair following a trail of missing children to the doorstep of Lei Ming, an evil Chinese sorceress played—in a yet another eye-flashing performance by Celia.
Darna in the '70s: The Male Darnas
Chiquito was the first male Darna in Philippine movies. In Vilma Santos' movie Terribol Dobol (1974), he played the superhero in a short scene. He was considered the arch-rival of Comedy King Dolphy, who later on also played Darna and Captain Barbell. In 1979, Regal Films made a spoof of the Darna movies titled Darna, Kuno?. In this movie, there were actually three Darnas: Dolphy, Brenda del Rio and Lotis Key. Brenda's part was first offered to Vilma Santos. The story is about a poor underdog man played by Dolphy. The real Darna played by '70s starlet Brenda Del Rio got pregnant by Japanese anime robots Mazinger Z and Voltes V. Because of the pregnancy someone had to take Darna’s place temporarily as the superheroine. Darna let the character of Dolphy borrow her magical stone and will take it back as soon as she gives birth. Dolphy as Darna Kuno also encountered different kinds of Filipino folklore characters like tikbalangs (half-man and half-horse creatures), aswangs and many more. Lotis Key as Annabel also put on the Darna costume minus the sash. She found out the truth about Darna Kuno's secret identity and stole the magical stone. At the end of the movie, Dolphy and Lotis battled a group of aliens and defeated them. The real Darna came back with her baby also dressed up as Darna and took back her stone. A few months after Dolphy's Darna parody, MBM Productions presented its own Darna movie, “Bira, Darna, Bira!” starring Rio Locsin. This is the only Darna movie that did not do well in box-office. Narda also became a high-class model in this movie.
Darna in the '90s
Half-Russian, half-Filipina actress Nanette Medved essayed the Darna role in this Viva Films movie version of the superhero simply titled Darna (1991) directed by Joel Lamangan. Then nine-year old Francine Prieto (under her real name Anna Marie Falcon; she also starred in the 2009 Darna TV series as Babaeng Tuod) played the young Narda. Nanette portrayed Narda as a model working in Manila and Darna with reference to Wonder Woman's ability to block bullets with her bracelets. This started the accusation that Darna was a Wonder Woman rip-off. Darna's costume was also altered in this movie. From the helmet that Darna used to wear in past movies, she now wore a tiara with wings. She had two brothers in this movie, Ding and Dong.
After appearing in a TV commercial for an automobile company as Darna (with fellow beauty queens Alma Concepcion and Daisy Reyes, both also wearing Darna costumes), Filipina-American and dethroned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 1991 Anjanette Abayari was chosen by Viva Films to play its latest version of Darna in Darna: Ang Pagbabalik (1994). Anjanette's Darna The DVD was released in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia and has English subtitles as well as Chinese subtitles, making it one of the most accessible of the Darna movies (dialogue is still in the original Filipino). The movie was also responsible for finally naming Narda's grandmother, Narda referred to her as "Lola Isabel" (Grandmother Isabel) and it is part of her continuity now. Although the grandmother was named Lola Asay in the early versions of the comics serial she wasn't named in the previous movies. Anjanette appeared again as Darna in a cameo in Ang Pagbabalik ni Pedro Penduko (1994) starring Janno Gibbs.
In a cameo role in Viva Films' Captain Barbel (1986) starring Herbert Bautista and Edu Manzano, Sharon Cuneta appeared as Darna. In the Premiere Productions remake of Captain Barbell in 2003, starring Ogie Alcasid and Bong Revilla, Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez made a cameo appearance in a dream sequence as Darna which she reprised in her concert tour “The Singer and the Songwriter” the following year. The singer subsequently visited the U.S. as part of the tour, with one of the performance numbers had her wearing a two-piece Darna costume while singing the songs from the "Captain Barbell" movie. Ogie Alcasid dubbed as the songwriter, who played Barbell's alter ego Enteng, accompanied her and wore the Captain Barbell costume during their song number. Having portrayed Darna herself, veteran actress and politician Vilma Santos said she was awed by comedian Vice Ganda's take on the iconic Pinay superheroine in the hit comedy film "This Guy's In Love With You Mare." The Wenn Deramas film, which premiered in theaters October 10, 2012, features a scene where Vice Ganda mimics Darna as she was portrayed by Santos in the 1970s.
|Year||Title||Directed by||Produced by||Played Darna / Narda|
|1951||Darna||Fernando Poe, Sr.||Royal Films||Rosa Del Rosario / Mila Nimfa|
|1952||Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (Darna and the Hawkwoman)||Carlos Vander Toloso||Royal Films||Rosa Del Rosario / Mila Nimfa|
|1963||Si Darna at ang Impakta (Darna and the Evil Twins)||Danilo Santiago||Peoples Pictures, Inc.||Liza Moreno|
|1963||Isputnik vs. Darna||Natoy Catindíg||Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions||Liza Moreno|
|1965||Darna at ang Babaing Tuod (Darna and the Tree Monster)||Cirio H. Santiago||Premiere Productions||Eva Montes / Coney Angeles|
|1969||Darna at ang Planetman (Darna and the Planetman)||Marcelino Navarro||Vera Perez Productions||Gina Pareño (also played Daria)/ Gina Alajar|
|1973||Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (Fly, Darna, Fly!)||Maning Borlaza, Elwood Perez and Joey Gosiengfiao||Sine Pilipino||Vilma Santos|
|1973||Darna and the Giants||Maning Borlaza||Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions||Vilma Santos|
|1973||Darna vs The Planet Women||Aramando Garces||Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions||Vilma Santos|
|1979||Darna, Kuno? (A parody of Darna)||Luciano B. Carlos||Regal Films||Dolphy, Brenda Del Rio and Lotis Key|
|1979||Bira, Darna, Bira!||Tito Sanchez||MBM Productions||Rio Locsin|
|1980||Darna and Ding||J. Erastheo Navoa and Cloyd Robinson||D'Wonder Films||Vilma Santos|
|1991||Darna||Joel Lamangan||Viva Films||Nanette Medved
(Francine Prieto played the young Narda)
|1994||Darna Ang Pagbabalik (Darna The Return)||Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes||Viva Films||Anjanette Abayari|
Aside 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) and Lester Llansang (1994), and Buboy Villar in 2009 Darna TV series.
Darna TV series
1977 TV series
The comic book superheroine also found its way to the small screen. The "Darna" TV Series created by Ketchie Benedicto starred Lorna Tolentino as Darna/Narda and aired on KBS 9 (RPN 9).
2005 TV series
In 2004, executives of GMA 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, they tapped Angel Locsin to play Darna after the success of the TV series Mulawin where she played one of the lead roles. Locsin had to learn wushu, kung fu and other fighting techniques even as she mastered the art of flying and display Darna's superpowers. The second Darna TV series premiered in both the Philippines and Japan on April 11, 2005 and garnered a 47.1% rating according to the data gathered by market research company AGB, making it one of the highest rated pilot episode ever in Philippine television. During the fourth episode, Angel's Darna portrayal made TV history when it garnered 52.1% overnight ratings according AGB, the highest rating yet for the show because this was the episode that Narda transforms into Darna for the first time. The television series directed by Dominic Zapata and Eric Quizon ended Friday, November 25, 2005. Captain Barbell (wearing a costume similar to Bong Revilla's Captain Barbell) guest starred in the last episode of the Darna TV series. He played a significant role by helping Darna. But his face was not shown, rather, only the "CB" sign on his chest was focused since GMA 7 has not decided yet who will take the role, and they intentionally did it to drum beat the promotions for the upcoming Captain Barbell TV series.
A lot of changes and new material were added for this incarnation of Darna. The show follows the original version's storyline with Narda finding the stone as a child, but she only becomes Darna and discovers her powers at age eighteen. It also follows the 2003 Mango Comics version in making Darna part of an alien race (the Adranika of Marte) who fought another alien race of serpent people (called the Anomalka) and the first to acknowledge the origins of the stone as coming from the planet Marte, instead of simply hinting it was a "gift from God" or something an angel gave Narda. A new other-dimensional world has been introduced--"Kanlungan Adran" (Adran's Cradle), a mystical world in another dimension created by the Adranika race of Marte and known only to a very few. Many new allies and enemies were invented for the show, as well as more backstory. Notably, Narda and Valentina (the product of hybrid impregnation of an Earth woman by an Anomalkan creature sent by Braguda) are half-sisters while Ding has been killed. In the story, the Black Darna is a result of Narda's release of all her pent-up emotions. Another of Mars Ravelo's creation Dyesebel, portrayed by Ara Mina, made a guest appearance in the series for the very first time.
The Anomalkans originally owned the white and black stones which came from two powerful planets that were destroyed because of a collision; thus, the two stones are the essence of the two planets. The first Anomalkan Queen obtained these stones during her quest. The stones became the light of planet Marte. During those times, the Anomalkans and the Adranikans lived peacefully, and Braguda and Adran (another anagram of Darna) were friends. Braguda became the next keeper of the two stones; using them, she showed Adran the planet Earth. Adran was captivated by a beautiful animal, an eagle and chose the wings as a symbol of the Adranikans, while Braguda chose the snake as the symbol of Anomalkans (which is why Braguda made Valentina into a snake-woman). Braguda revealed to Adran that she planned to conquer Earth. Adran objected and quarreled with Braguda, prompting Adran to take the white stone from Braguda. Braguda attacked Adran using the black stone but Adran was able to defend herself using the white stone. The Anomalkan declared war against the Adranikans, a conflict which lasted for many years. There was a prophecy which Braguda revealed to Valentina that when the planets are aligned, a being will be born coming from the Anomalkan race who will defeat Braguda. Braguda ordered the execution of all newborn Anomalkans during that time of the alignment.
As the origin goes, the planet Marte is under attack by the Evil Queen Braguda and her evil race, the Anomalkans. Caught by surprise, Adran realizes that Braguda is desperate to possess the power of the Adranika and that she will stop at nothing to acquire it. Adran entrusts the mystic white stone to the care of Aio who is given the task of finding a worthy being who will inherit it. Braguda destroys Marte but not before Aio is able to make her escape—towards the planet Earth. But her escape does not come unnoticed and soon Braguda herself is in hot pursuit of Aio. As Aio reaches the earth's atmosphere, her ship is disabled by Braguda and crashes as the magic stone falls out of the ship where it is later discovered by young Narda. She soon meets Aio who tells her to keep the stone because she is worthy of this gift and that when the right time comes, she will receive "the call". Eight years pass and after helping an old woman beggar (secretly Aio), Narda finally receives her call—a telepathic message. The voice says that Narda is the sole inheritor of Adranika's mystic power and that she has been chosen to be the World's protector. The word "Darna" magically appears on the white stone and she is instructed to swallow it and speak the word afterwards. Narda follows. She yells "DARNA!!!" and the rest is history.
Four actresses who previously played Darna were involved in the 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 Captain Barbell, 2003) sang the theme song of the series, "Di Na Nag-iisa" (composed by Jay Durias of South Border). Quite interestingly, she also provided a voice clip of shouting "Darna!" for use in the TV series.
The series features several prominent Filipino actors and actresses as the villains: 
- Alessandra De Rossi - Valentina, the Snake Woman. Valentina is the half-sister of Narda. She is a half-human, half Anomalkan hybrid who also seeks to obtain the magic white stone of Darna and dethrone her mentor, Queen Braguda. Valentina changed to Ava in order for her to get Efren.
- Celia Rodriguez - Braguda, the Queen of Darkness, is the ruler of the Anomalkan race on the Planet Marte. She seeks to obtain the magic white stone of Darna and combine it with her magic black stone so that she may transform the Planet Earth into a new version of the Planet Marte.
- Tonton Gutierrez - Nosferamus is referred to as The Shadow of Death. He is really Mulong, foster father of Narda transformed by Braguda to be her aide.
- Eddie Garcia - Oscar/Mambabarang (King of the Insects) is a human mutated by Braguda into a superhuman creature who would obey her bidding and fight humanity's champion, Darna.
- Carmina Villaroel - Sulfura/Sabrina is a fashion model who is also Valentina's rival recruited by the Anomalkans into being their weapon against Darna.
- Christopher de Leon - Dr. Zombie/Dr. Ted is a disfigured scientist intent on discovering a way to bring the dead back to life.
- Cristine Reyes - Molecula is human woman altered by extraterrestrial worms from the Planet Marte into a superhuman that can control the molecular structure of anything.
- Bearwin Meily - "Toymaster"
- K Brosas - Divina Devinica/Divina Demonica
- Katrina Halili - Black Darna/Carol, a friend of Narda who is possessed by Darna's 'shadow-self'
- Nadine Samonte - Ava
2009 TV series
The first TV series was aired last 2005 with Angel Locsin as the lead role which made her a big star. GMA Network confirms that the rights of Darna is still theirs along with Captain Barbell and Dyesebel. Last January 2008, it was announced that GMA Network decided to make another version of the Darna TV series but this time, it will be along with Captain Barbell. But due to schedule conflicts of Richard Gutierrez, everything was shelved. Angel Locsin, has transferred to ABS-CBN, the rival station of GMA Network in 2007. Captain Barbell Meets Darna was a supposed primetime series which would have been aired on GMA but was later split into two series: The return of Captain Barbell for a second season and the reimagined version of Darna.
GMA Network, along with the Ravelo's copyright holders of the character, has unanimously chosen Marian Rivera as Darna. It was said by Wilma Galvante, the SVP for Entertainment TV, in an interview that the new Darna should be a real star because it is a prime role. The Ravelo's said in an interview that Marian Rivera is the sexiest and most beautiful actress to play Darna. Mark Herras was considered for the lead male role of Eduardo, but Mark Anthony Fernandez won the part.
GMA Network announced that the new styled Darna would be a mirror to Marian Rivera's personality, possibly featuring more comedy flavor into the drama plot. Marian Rivera is best known for her roles as the leads in the Philippine adaptation of MariMar and another Mars Ravelo creation Dyesebel. Marian went through rigid physical and mental training for her role and also started to train in the Chinese martial art wushu. She was about to start her fighting routines with an expert and will also be soon trained on harness on May 17, 2009 unfortunately, it was postponed due to conflicts on schedule. Also, Galvante confirmed that Captain Barbell, another Mars Ravelo's creation, is going to be shown in the series.
The rebooted fantasy TV series Darna directed by Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez premiered on August 10, 2009. Marian Rivera soared high in Darna. Darna's 44.1 percent pilot rating is Marian's second highest primetime-series opening, after Dyesebel's 44.9%. But it cannot be denied that Angel's Darna made history when it reached 52.1% on its fourth episode, where Angel appeared in a Darna costume for the first time. That figure was the highest rating achieved by any GMA-7 show at that time. It was only broken in 2008 when the final episode of MariMar, topbilled by Marian and Dingdong Dantes, achieved 52.6%. 
The series had the white stone transferred from one rightful keeper or Tagapangalaga to another every generation or so. 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 costume.
The series features several prominent Filipino actors and actresses as the villains: 
- Iwa Moto - Valentina was an outcast. She grew up longing for love. She will deceivingly befriend Narda and Eduardo. She is a gorgon with superhuman strength, stamina, reflexes and a psychic bond to all manner of serpents.
- Ehra Madrigal - Armida, ang Babaeng Lawin (The Hawk Woman) is capable of commanding birds and possesses a deafening chirp. Her cybernetic wings allow her the power of flight and attain great speeds. Her ultrasonic voice can cause death and destruction.
- Francine Prieto - Babaeng Tuod (The Stump Woman) is a supernaturally powered elemental with the power to use trees and plants to cause death as well as change its size and strength.
- Maggie Wilson - Garda, ang Babaeng Linta (The Leech Woman) with the power to command leeches and to absorb the life force of humans and superhumans alike. She can mimic the appearance of anyone she touches.
- Roma as played by Nadine Samonte and her twin IMPAKTA or "IMPY" as played by Mura - Babaeng Impakta possesses an angelic face, but hiding a hideous monster on her back—her twin. Born with conjoined parasitic demon twin who kills mortal and consumes their hearts to increase its power and Roma's youth.
- Paolo Contis - Kobra is a half-human and half-serpent whose agenda is to facilitate his plans of making humanoid serpents the dominant lifeform of Planet Earth. He is greedy for power and he will manipulate all just to obtain what he wants.
- Katrina Halili - Serpina, Prinsesa ng mga Ahas, is the daughter of Kobra and Roma (Babaeng Impakta). She seeks to fulfill her promise to her father to join forces with her sister Valentina to increase the number of the race of the snake people. She has deadly shape-shifting powers.
- Jackie Rice - Helga, Ang Babaeng Demonyita, was a mortal possessed by a powerful Archdemon with fire power whose only goal is destruction and the ruin of souls.
- Rochelle Pangilinan - Deborah, Ang Babaeng Manananggal (a human monster from Philippine folklore that flies at night by its bat-like wings in search of human prey with only half of its body), is disguising as a doctor to get closer to pregnant women and easily victimize them.
- Ricky Davao - Dr. Morgan is a scientist from a family of experts. He is obsessed with creating the most powerful being, he has no other desire but to capture and make Darna his specimen.
- Polo Ravales - Shiro is the leader of a syndicate who will mess up with the life of Narda/Darna.
- Krissa Mae Arrieta - Liberty is the lady-boss of a syndicate who will mess up with the life Narda/Darna.
Song in a Story depiction
A top-hit song named "Narda" by Kamikazee.
Angel Locsin also appeared as Darna in a 2006 Robitussin LiquiGel TV advertisement wearing her Darna costume from the 2005 TV series. It was directed by Avid Liongoren. The story started with a giant monster attacking a village. Narda was about to transform into Darna but was interrupted by her cough so she shouted only half of the name (Dar...). She was then seen holding a LiquiGel capsule which she swallowed to transform into Darna. She rescued some bystander first before defeating the giant monster to death.
Darna has also been portrayed in ballet productions by Ballet Philippines. In 1997 Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde first danced the part of Darna in Comics: The Ballet in celebration of Darna’s golden anniversary. Another ballet was produced in August 1–17, 2003 by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). In this version, entitled Darna: The Ballet, Kristine Crame and Kris Belle Paclibar alternately danced the part of Darna while the singing is done by Valentina (she has a haunting solo that, says Chin-Chin Gutierrez who plays the role alternating with Tex Ordoñez, speaks of loneliness and longing and shows that she’s not all bad) and her Boy Toys, the bad guys of the production. Mica Bernas played Narda.
The 50-year-old story of poor girl Narda transformed into super-heroine Darna gets a 21st-century shot in the arm, via not just updated production values but a new stage treatment.
"Why Darna? We need somebody that we can identify as our own, something that everyone can easily relate to," says director and librettist Chris Millado. "This dance musical will re-introduce a 50-year-old super-heroine. Now she’s a contemporary character, still on the side of good. Most importantly, she’s Filipino."
Art and Literature
DARNA KOMIKS is a komiks magasin first published by Pilipino Komiks, Inc. and continued by Atlas Publishing Co., Inc. Its maiden issue appeared on February 3, 1968 with Ruben R. Marcelino as Editor. Its title was named after Darna, a komiks character created by the great Mars Ravelo.
In children’s literature, Edgar Samar wrote a story entitled “Uuwi na ang Nanay kong si Darna” which won the PBBY-Salanga Writer’s Prize in 2002 and was illustrated by Russell Molina, who won the PBBY Illustrator’s Prize.
As well as comics and movies, Darna has also been the subject of a series of national stamps released in the Philippines. A number of great artists were included like Nestor Redondo. The Darna issue 3 cover that Gilbert Monsanto did for Mango comics was one of the images.
Actors and actresses who played Darna in movies and television
Vilma Santos and Marian Rivera are only the two actresses who played two of Mars Ravelo's komiks characters respectively, namely Darna and Dyesebel with Vilma having played Darna four times. Vilma made a total of four movies in a span of seven years playing both Narda and Darna.
- 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)
- Eva Montes in "Darna at ang Babaing Tuod" (1965)
- Gina Pareño 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)
- Niño Muhlach in "Darna and Ding" (1980)
- 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)
- Angel Locsin in "Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2005 TV series)
- Katrina Halili in ""Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2005 TV series) as the first Black Darna
- Marian Rivera in "Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2009 TV series)
- Angel Aquino in "Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2009 TV series)
- Valentina ("goddess of the snakes/serpents") 
- Kobra (Lord of Serpents)
- Babaeng Linta (Garda the Leech Woman)
- Babaeng Tuod (Lucifera the Wood Witch; Lucifera the Tree Monster)
- The Planet Women
- Babaeng Lawin (Armida the Hawk-Woman)
- Babaeng Impakta (Roma the She-Monster; The Conjoined Evil Twins)
- Babaeng Manananggal (Deborah the Manananggal)
- Mambabarang (The Insect King; Warlock King of Insects)
- Braguda (The Anomalkan Queen of Darkness from the Planet Marte) & her Anomalka Warriors
- Nosferamus (The Shadow of Death and Braguda's Lieutenant)
- Dra. Fontesberg
- Molecula (Shape-shifter)
- Impaktitang Lourdes
- Babaeng Gagamba (Secretary Rizza Miranda at the Hospicio residence)
- Ms. Luna (Manananggal)
- Nosforamus (Grim Reaper & right hand man of Braguda)
- Dr. Zombie (Re-Animator of corpses)
- Black Darna
- Moya Saber-tooth (The husband of Sulfura who tries to rape Narda)
- Arabaca Witch
Darna Potential Future
According to a news article in September 2004, GMA's Film division planned to produce a Darna movie in addition to the 2005 TV series. Wilma Galvez of GMA 7 wanted a different actress for the movie version and had reportedly offered the role to Regine Velasquez. However, the project didn't see fruition.
After the end of the Captain Barbell 2006 TV series, GMA 7 aired a teaser hinting the coming of a joint series, Captain Barbell Meets Darna. 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 January 2008, it was announced that GMA Network decided to make another version of the Darna TV series but this time, it will be along with Captain Barbell. It will now be starred by Richard Gutierrez as Captain Barbell and either Rhian Ramos, Jackie Rice or Marian Rivera as Darna. But due to schedule conflicts of Richard Gutierrez who was busy with other roles, everything was shelved. Also, Angel Locsin has already transferred to the rival network ABS-CBN in 2007. It didn’t materialize as well. Captain Barbell Meets Darna was a supposed primetime series which would have been aired on GMA but was later split into two series: The return of Captain Barbell for a second season where Richard Gutierrez reprised the role of Captain Barbell and the reimagined version of Darna where Marian Rivera portrayed Darna.
Last 2012, ABS-CBN has acquired the rights to do a TV and movie remake of the works of Mars Ravelo including Darna, Captain Barbell and Dyesebel and in the past few months, netizens have been debating on who are the rightful names to play these famous characters, be it on TV or movie. The rumors started when ABS-CBN adprom head director Eric John Salud tweeted that ABS-CBN acquired the rights of 13 Mars Ravelo titles. “ABS-CBN acquires exclusive rights to 13 Mars Ravelo titles. Darna, Dyesebel, Jack En Jill to name a few”, he tweeted. Star Creatives' Roxy Liquigan also created a buzz when she tweeted, "Lipad Darna Lipad", confirming that the Kapamilya network's Darna remake titled Lipad Darna Lipad will start soon. Many netizens embark on online debates via various social networking sites on who has the 'K' to play ABS-CBN's Darna. Rumors are spreading that the network has already chosen the one that will be playing the role and the fans' top 2 choices are Angel Locsin and Cristine Reyes.
Angel Locsin is the favorite to play Darna and last August 2012, there have been reports claiming that Star Cinema has decided to give Angel the role of Narda/Darna which she will reprise in the big screen. Angel, though did not confirm the news saying that there's no official announcement yet. If this will push through, this will be a big leap in the Darna franchise especially that the last actress who played the superheroine in a movie was Regine Velasquez in Captain Barbell (2003). This is still unofficial since there is no formal announcement from ABS-CBN or Star Cinema about the said project plus Viva Films still has the movie right for Darna.
As soon as news about the “Darna” remake broke last 2012, several Kapamilya actresses are said to have been put under consideration for the part, including Jessy Mendiola, Bea Alonzo, Anne Curtis, Erich Gonzales, Iya Villania, Iza Calzado, Julia Montes, KC Concepcion, Kim Chiu, Maja Salvador and Cristine Reyes. It is unsure, however, if ABS-CBN will do both a movie and TV version of the classic Pinay superheroine but clues now were pointing out to a TV remake. Since there's no official announcements yet, anybody could be Darna.
Meanwhile, Angel Locsin stands firm in dodging the idea of playing Darna for a second time after she did so back in 2005. In previous interviews, Angel said that playing Darna was a milestone in her career that's why she wants it to be the same for whom the role will go next time. However, in an interview with ABS-CBN News during the launch of her newest endorsement, Angel said that she is ready to play Darna again if ever ABS-CBN would give the role to her in the future.
Marian Rivera gave her seal of approval to Angel Locsin's possible reprise of Darna now that ABS-CBN has acquired the rights for a TV and film remake of the popular Mars Ravelo character. The former "Darna" actress sees nothing wrong with the possibility of Angel reprising her role as the iconic Pinay superheroine. With ABS-CBN reportedly having earned the rights to Mars Ravelo's Darna character, Locsin has expressed interest in donning the two-piece battle gear anew. Herself an incarnation of Darna via a 2009 TV series, Rivera said any new take on the role is simply par for the course. For her part, Locsin, in an earlier interview, said she is not closing her doors to making a return as the flying superheroine.
|Varga||Bulaklak Magazine Vol. 4 #17 (July 23, 1947); #1 (1947-1948)|
|Darna||Pilipino Komiks #1-28; #77 (May 13, 1950); #78 (May 27, 1950); #81 (July 8, 1950);#87 (September 30, 1950); #99 (March 17, 1951)|
|Darna at ang Babaing Lawin||Pilipino Komiks #120 (1951-January 5, 1952)|
|Darna at ang Impakta||Kenkoy Komiks (Sept. 12, 1962-1963)|
|Darna at ang Babaing Tuod||Liwayway Magazine (May 25, 1964 – 1965)|
|Darna||Darna Komiks-Magasin #27 (February 3, 1969); #964 (October 12, 1967)|
|Darna at ang Babaing Linta||Darna Komiks-Magasin #3 (March 3, 1968 – 1969)|
|Darna at ang Planetman||Holiday Komiks-Magasin (Oct. 1968-1969)|
|Darna and the Time Machine||Kampeon Komiks (1975)|
|Darna Versus Santanina Dayabolika||Kampeon Komiks (1977-1978)|
|Darna at ang Black Widow||Ravelo Magazine (Feb. 14, 1980-1981)|
|Darna vs. Dyangga||Darna Komiks (Jan. 21, 1985)|
|Darna at ang Taong Diablo||(Nov. 11, 1985)|
|Darna at ang Hiwaga ng Nawawalang Hukay||Darna Komiks (June 1986)|
|Darna and the Genie||Darna Komiks (Jan. 8,1980)|
|Darna vs. the Warlock||Darna Komiks (June 25, 1990)|
|Darna sa Gitna ng Pag-ibig at Panganib||Darna Komiks (Aug. 3, 1991)|
|Darna||Darna Komiks #1217 (Aug. 17, 1992)|
|Darna vs. Zumarna||Darna Komiks #1275 (September 27, 1993)|
|Darna vs. the Black Mercury||Darna Komiks (Feb. 14, 1994)|
|Darna Ang Pagbabalik||Darna Komiks (April-Dec. 4, 1995)|
|Darna vs. Araknido||Darna Komiks Magazine (Aug. 12, 1996)|
|Darna at ang Toxic Monster||Super Action Komics #7 (1999)|
|Darna sa Bingit ng Panganib||Super Action Komics (1999)|
|Paano Kung May Tatlong Darna?||Super Action Komics|
|Darna||Mango Comics #1 (Feb. 28, 2003); #2 (May 7, 2003); #3 (Dec. 13, 2003)|
|Pilipino Komiks||Pilipino Komiks #119 (December 22, 1951)|
- Official Mars Ravelo's Darna web site
- Mars Ravelo Superheroes web site
- Darna News Fansite
- Darna at the International Catalogue of Superheroes
- Mango Comics
- Darna 2005 TV series
- Darna 2009 TV series
- Darna internationalhero.co.uk
- Mars Ravelo
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- Darna: The Filipino Superheroine
- History marsravelodarna.net
- Darna Through Six Decades pep.ph
- THE REAL STORY BEHIND CAPTAIN BARBELL
- THE LOST WORKS OF MARS RAVELO
- Varga internationalhero.co.uk
- DARNA 1950 REVISITED: UNANG LABAS (THE ORIGIN OF DARNA) video48
- The Birth of Pinoy Superheroes pep.ph
- Darna (1977) TV series superheroeslives.com
- Darna supersexyheroines.com
- Mars Ravelo’s Darna KOMIKLOPEDIA: The Philippine Komiks Encyclopedia
- Darna Golden Anniversary Comic Books
- DARNA COMICS kabayancentral.com
- A short Retrospective of an often misunderstood character! comicbookmovie.com
- Darna the Ballet (2003) musical superheroeslives.com
- Darna Toyota (199x) commercial superheroeslives.com
- Robitussin Darna (2006) commercial superheroeslives.com
- Trudis Liit: Episode 37 Part 3/5
- Trudis Liit: Episode 37 Part 4/5
- Darna (Character) imdb.com
- Darna at ang Babaing Lawin KOMIKLOPEDIA: The Philippine Komiks Encyclopedia
- PINOY SUPERHEROES OF THE 60s#3: THE FORGOTTEN ONES video48
- DARNA IN THE 60s video48
- VILMA SANTOS : THE BEST DARNA EVER video48
- Darna, Kuno? superheroeslives.com
- Darna (1991) imdb.com
- Nine-year old Francine Prieto playing young Darna (clip 1)
- Nine-year old Francine Prieto playing young Darna (clip 2)
- Regine as DARNA
- Vilma 'shocked' by Vice Ganda's 'Darna' beta.abs-cbnnews.com
- MARS RAVELO'S DARNA 2005 TV SERIES
- Captain Barbell Meets Darna (2008) telebisyon.net
- AGB Mega Manila TV Ratings (Aug. 7-10): Darna flies high on its pilot episode pep.ph
- DARNA 2009 TV SERIES GUIDE
- Robitussin - Darna TVC Avid Liongoren's Portfolio
- Robitussin - Darna TVC
- DARNA FLIES newsflash.org
- Darna Komiks KOMIKLOPEDIA: The Philippine Komiks Encyclopedia
- Uuwi Na Ang Nanay Kong si Darna childrenslibrary.org
- Valentina internationalhero.co.uk
- Valentina the Serpent Queen writeups.org
- Angel Locsin to do "Darna Movie" in 2012!
- ABS-CBN's Darna is Angel Locsin?
- Who Will Fly As The Newest Kapamilya Darna?
- Angel Locsin Returns as 'Darna' in the Movie!
- Angel Locsin To Star In Star Cinema's Darna! Its Confirmed!
- Unofficially Yours na ang Bato: Angel Locsin As Darna?
- ABS-CBN's Darna, Dyesebel and Captain Barbell - Who are your bets?
- Angel Has 'Last Will’ Ready mb.com.ph
- Angel Locsin: "Ako si Darna talaga..."
- Angel Locsin to fly as 'Darna' again? beta.abs-cbnnews.com
- Angel Locsin's Darna Reprise Gets Approval from Marian Rivera
- Marian OK with Angel's possible 'Darna' reprise abs-cbnnews.com