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Comic Book: Darna

Darna is a superhero from Philippine comic books, created in 1950 for Pilipino Komiks by writer Mars Ravelo and illustrator Nestor Redondo. One of the most popular Filipino superheroes, she has appeared in many movies and several television series through the decades which have far overshadowed her actual comics tenure.

After an ordinary girl named Narda swallows a magic white stone, she transforms into the mighty warrior Darna by shouting "DARNA!". As Darna, she stands up for those who cannot fend for themselves. She fights against both common criminals as well as greater forces of evil, most famously the snake-haired woman Valentina. She is often accompanied by her younger brother, Ding.

Darna has inspired Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah (The Spectacular Adventures of Zsazsa Zaturnnah), a transsexual superhero.


Tropes associated with Darna include:

  • Action Girl
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • The 1979 film Darna, Kuno? starred the comedian Dolphy as a male substitute Darna when the real one went on maternity leave.
    • The graphic novel Zsazsa Zaturnnah is a more recent one, first published in 2002. Whereas Darna is about a woman who gains superpowers, it is about a gay man who transforms into a superpowered woman.
  • Age Lift: Narda is a child in the original comics, while she's a young woman in all the live-action versions.
  • Alternate Continuity: Tons.
    • Not counting parodies and cameo or guest appearances, there have been 12 Darna theatrical films since 1951 with different actresses in the role - many playing the role multiple times in presumably their own continuities, with Negative Continuity sometimes affecting films starring the same lead actress. As for television, there have been Darna shows in 1977, 2005 and 2009, all on different networks.
    • Ravelo wrote Darna from the 1950s to the 1960s and other writers took over for later stories. After the once-flourishing Filipino comic book industry had all but died out in the 1990s, Darna received a short-lived revival in 2003 (the source of the page image).
  • Arch-Enemy: Valentina, the Queen of Snakes.
  • Author Avatar: Ding.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Except for the few movies where her costume is a one-piece suit.
  • Broad Strokes: The 1991 film started with Narda and Ding finding the stone as children like the original comic, but then has a Time Skip to when Narda is an adult and Ding is a high schooler. Ding mentions the past adventures they've had, naming several classic Darna foes.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In some adaptations, but she gets better.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "DARNA!" To transform back, "NARDA!"
  • Clark Kenting: Her real name is Narda, seriously.
  • Crossover: Sometimes appears in films that aren't mainly about her.
  • Driven to Suicide: Valentina in the original comics.
  • Expy: Of "Varga", created and drawn by Ravelo in 1947 for Bulaklak Magazine until he left due to differences with editors. The name Varga was owned by the magazine. Like Darna, Varga's civilian identity is a girl named Narda.
  • Flying Brick
  • Henshin Hero: In the original comics, Narda and Darna are separate beings and Narda "channels" her. Later versions simply have Narda become Darna.
  • Homage: Basically Wonder Woman meets Superman meets Captain Marvel.
    • In the 1991 movie, the adult Narda is employed as a reporter, is courted by another reporter, and has a comedy-relief photographer friend. Um...
  • Human Aliens: Darna's race in the original comics and some versions; in other versions she is just called a "warrior of light". In the original story, her planet was called Marte, which is just the Spanish name for Mars. Later versions have kept the name Marte but clearly established it as another planet.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Recent adaptations have used "Mars Ravelo's Darna" as part of the title and/or logo. This also appears in later comics even after Ravelo stopped working on Darna. Naturally and unfortunately this means that Darna's original illustrator Nestor Redondo has been overshadowed by Ravelo.
  • Inkstain Adaptation: The Darna movies introduced the now-standard elements of Narda being as old as Darna, Narda actually becoming Darna, and the magic stone not staying in Narda's body once she changes back.
  • Kid Sidekick: Ding.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority
  • Legacy Character: In the 2009 TV series.
  • Magic Meteor: The source of her powers.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Predates the Japanese trope namers by about 30 years.
  • Most Common Superpower
  • Parental Abandonment
  • Parental Substitute: Her grandmother.
  • Rogues Gallery: Including:
    • Valentina, the snake woman (Valentina, ang babaeng ahas)
    • The tree (stump) woman (Ang babaeng tuod)
    • The hawk woman (Ang babaeng lawin)
    • The ghoul woman (Ang babaeng impakta)
  • Status Quo Is God: The 1991 movie ages up Ding to high school age, but also introduces a much younger second brother named Dong, so that Darna will always have a kid brother for a sidekick.
  • Stripperific
  • Super Hero Origin
  • Superpower Lottery: Has Flight, Super Speed, Super Strength, and Nigh-Invulnerability. Retconned to be caused by her psionic background in the 2003 comic release.
  • Tagalong Kid: Ding.
  • Transformation Trinket: The white stone. In the original comics it remains in her body, but in later versions she regurgitates it every time she changes back to Narda, so Narda has to swallow it to transform to Darna every time.
  • Underwear of Power


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alternative title(s): Darna
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