Dec 28, 2009


So there's been a revitalization of this Filipino superheroine lately:

That's Darna, one of our comic book characters, who has been around since 1947 or 1950, depending on when you choose to start with her confusing publication date. In her original incarnation, she's a kid named Narda who swallows a stone in times of trouble, screams out "Darna," and then she manifests as this alien warrior woman who has the same name. Darna and Narda are not the same person and don't have the same personality. Darna has superspeed, superstrength, flight, and invulnerability.

Now, there's this common misconception that Darna is a rip-off of this internationally-renowned comic book character.

Which is just plain wrong. The trappings are similar, sure - black-haired woman from a different race imbued with superstrength and superspeed and invulnerability, and both wear a good amount of red. Which are all true.

But let's look at how Darna looked in the beginning:

All black, right? Not to mention that she's wearing an ornate headdress of the type that Wonder Woman herself would be sporting decades later in the Justice League cartoon.

As for the powers, superstrength, superspeed, invulnerability - that's nothing. That's pretty much a generic package for that time period, and it all started with Superman. Now, we're not going to start saying that Darna's a rip-off of Superman, because in a very real way, just about everyone's a rip-off of Superman.

But here's the kicker. Darna could fly.

What's that, you say? Wonder Woman can fly, too? Well, yes. She can fly now, but what you might not realize is that she never flew before 1987. That's right. Wonder Woman, created in 1941, took 46 years before she was allowed to fly in anything other than her invisible plane.

I mean, really, if you're going to be calling Darna a rip-off of Diana, then you may as well call her a rip-off of Miss America as well, since Madeline could actually fly.

Before we go on, I think it's actually pretty awesome that Gene Ha drew Darna. I wish he'd draw more Pinoy heroes.

Calling Darna a rip-off of Wonder Woman does a disservice not just to Darna, but to many, many female superheroes. Inevitably, any "premier" superpowered female will be compared to Wonder Woman, just because Wonder Woman is that important.


While Darna may not be a rip-off of Diana, she is almost certainly inspired by these folks: