Our grandparents read about
them in komiks, a popular graphic medium that was formally introduced to
the Pinoy market in 1920s. Our parents saw them on the big screen, while the
present generation watched them on TV.
There are so many of them but, for now, the spotlight is on superheroes created by Mars
Ravelo—a Filipino graphic novelist born on October 9, 1916, in Tanza, Cavite.
They are also the fictional characters that traversed from comics to cinemas, then television sets.
DARNA UP CLOSE. The
most popular Pinoy superhero had been a crowd darling since she was born on July 23,
1947, also her debut appearance in Bulaklak Magazine. Her name then was
Varga. But in May 13, 1950, she was
baptized as Darna—a warrior from outer space. A girl named Narda would swallow
the "bato" and transform her into a heroine, Darna.
Some critics claimed
that an American fictional character born in 1941 inspired Darna's inception.
Nestor Redondo's first drawing of Darna's costume bore a striking resemblance
to Wonder Woman's two-piece costume and headband. But eventually, Darna totally
moved away from the shadow of the stateside superheroine, and differentiated
herself through her unique powers and skills.
made a crossover from comics to cinema on May 31, 1951. Darna was
the last film directed by Fernando Poe, Sr. Rosa del Rosario was the first to
portray Darna's role, while Mila Nimfa played Narda.
she went on to become a screen sweetheart with the release of 13 more Darna movies
with Rosa del Rosario, Liza Moreno, Eva Montes, and Gina Pareno bagging the
Gina, Darna and Narda became one person. That was in 1973, the year when Vilma
Santos flew in Lipad, Darna, Lipad! She assumed Darna's role four times.
Rio Locsin, Nanette Medved, and Anjanette Abayari also played Darna/Narda.
the red costume was also worn by Comedy King Dolphy (Darna Kuno),
Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez (when Darna had a
rendezvous with Captain Barbell).
five decades of being a movie star, she made her presence felt on the boob
tube. In 2005, GMA-7's Darna was launched with Angel Locsin getting the most coveted title role. Its pilot
episode registered the highest rating in TV history.
CAPTAIN BARBELL IN A NUTSHELL. Captain
Barbell was created in 1963, and first appeared in Pinoy Komiks Magasin.
A young boy named Enteng would lift the magical barbell to become Captain
Barbell. The superhero only had his mask, cape, belt—with the letter "CB"
engraved on the buckle—and tight pants then. Originally, he was shirtless. The
look was inspired by circus strongmen, according to www.internationalhero.co.uk.
he made his first cinema appearance in 1965, Bob Soler—the first to play the
part—donned a yellow shirt with Captain Barbell's initials on his chest. Dolphy
also starred in a movie titled Barbell in the early ‘60s. His alter ego
was called Ting-ting (coined from walis ting-ting, a broomstick) instead of
1986, Herbert Bautista—as the skinny character named Enteng—shouted "Captain Barbell," and turned into a matipuno superhero played by Edu Manzano. This
was where Sharon Cuneta took the part of Darna, who appeared in a cameo role. Under the direction
of Leroy Salvador, this remake followed the original comics story.
2003 marked Captain Barbell's comeback. It was Bong Revilla's turn to
play title role. This Captain Barbell movie was able to elaborate on the source of the
superhero's powers and strength. Lastikman (PJ Malonzo) and Darna (Regine
Velasquez), other creations of Mars Ravelo, were both seen in this film.
journey to the tellie world began in May 2006. Richard Gutierrez played the lead in Captain Barbell, the TV series that aired on GMA-7 for eight
wore a $50,000 suit made by Miles Teves, a Filipino-American who designed the costumes of Batman, Superman, and Robocop. It was said that the muscular
outfit of our Pinoy superhero was inspired by Batman's bulky costume.
TV series was an expanded version of the comics' story. It had more details
about the origin of the Captain Barbell and his powers. It introduced the
superhero's parents. It presented more villains. And it renamed Enteng as
Potenciano "Teng/ Enteng" Magtanggol ("Potential Defender" in English).
LASTIKMAN'S LIFE. This Mars Ravelo fictional
character was first spotted in Aliwan Komiks in 1964. His name
was derived from the English word "elastic," which means "flexible and
stretchable." His claim to fame was his ability to stretch parts of his
body, and reshape himself into whatever form.
the "komiks" version, Lastikman was an alien from another planet. But the two
movie adaptations related different stories: (1) a boy named Hilario was near a
rubber tree when a meteor struck it. (2) another lad, Adrian, was found
lifeless under a rubber tree, which gave him the special powers.
first to play the title role was Von Serna, the dad of Snooky, in 1968. It returned to the screen, with Vic Sotto as the Lastikman, in 2003. That same
year, the elastic character made an appearance in Bong Revilla's movie, Captain
Barbell. It was Christopher "PJ" Malonzo who wore the
predominantly-black-with-white-boxes costume. A year after, it was Mark
Bautista's turn to be Lastikman in Mars Ravelo's Lastikman: Unang Banat.
This coming September, Lastikman will be presented to the TV viewers of Kapamilya network, with Vhong Navarro giving life to the character. His
human counterpart will be known as Miguel, an import from the planet Harraio.
From komiks, these characters leaped off the page and soared! The comics
tickled the imagination of our lolos and lolas. The movies, with the
special sound and visual effects, awed our parents. And TV endeared these superheroes to the Pinoys even more deeply. Cheers to
the man who created them all, and to the PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) user who suggested that they be
given a space in this website.