Super Power/Weakness: Superman-like power (yes, she can fly). Unlike Superman, she have to swallow her magic stone to transform herself into Darna.
Basic Info: Vilma Santos played Darna in the following films: Darna at Ding (1980); Darna vs. the Planet Women (1975); Darna and the Giants (1973); Lipad Darna Lipad (1973). According to Wikipedia, 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 #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 differences with the editors…Starting in 1951, several Darna movies were made. 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!”). (READ MORE)
Film Review: “…Most people nowadays remember this 1974 “Silver age” re-invented version by legendary actress, Vilma Santos. Vilma Santos played both “Darna” and “Narda”. This practice continued in every movie version that followed after. Although Vilma didn’t possess Rosa Del Rosario’s goddess-like physique in the 1951 original, she made up for it in characterization and acting chops. Vilma Santos’ version became the template and few people remember the original where the part of Narda was played by a young girl actress, and the beautiful Rosa played the grown-up Darna …” – International Hero (READ MORE)
Super Power: Batman-like power (yes, she drive, a motorbike and helicopter!). Unlike Darna she doesnt have magical power, her strenght are more human, just like Batman.
Basic Info: Nora Aunor played Super Gee in 1973. Created by writer Zoila Meneses (or simply Zoila) and artist Rudy V. Villanueva, Super Gee originally ran in the pages of Darna Komiks from 1972 to 73. The character is best known for having been portrayed by the Superstar of Philippine movies, Nora Aunor, in a 1973 film adaptation. The heroine was revived in a sequel series, Supergee II, which ran from 1987 to 88 in Super Action Komiks (formerly Pocketkomiks), published by Atlas Publishing Co., Inc. Zoila returned as writer, while Romy T. Gamboa took over as artist….Supergee almost appeared on television in a 2006 episode of the ABS-CBN series Komiks. Starring actress Judy Ann Santos in the title role, the episode had actually been filmed, but was never aired. In 2009, US-based Filipino artist Dell Barras posted designs he had made for a proposed Supergee revival. You can view the rest of his designs on his blog Sketchpad…” – Aris B. Panganiban (READ MORE)
Film Review: “…Sa panahon ng aking pagsusulat, nakita ko na si Zoila Meneses o mas kilala sa Zoila lamang ng kanyang mga tagasubaybay sa komiks. Siya ang nakikita ko noong writer na may puting buhok. Sa mga hindi nakakaalam, si Zoila ay naging editor sa loob ng 14 years kaya hindi mapagdududahan ang kanyang kakayahan sa pagsusulat. Marami na rin siyang naging hit sa panahon ng pagsusulat niya ng nobela sa komiks. Ilan sa kanyang mga obrang sinulat ay ang “Naghihintay ang Kahapon” with Nar Castro sa Pilipino Reporter ng Affiliated Publication, “Horse-Man” , Super Action Komiks (1988) , “ Isinusumpa Kita” sa Tagalog Klasiks (1992), “Super Gee”, sa Darna Komiks, (1972, 1987) at marami pang iba. Hindi lang sa komiks, nagsusulat din ng mga romance pocket book novel si Zoila at aktibo pa rin sa kanyang writing career. Sa isang tabloid newspaper ay may nobelang serye rin siyang pinatatakbo sa kasalukuyan…” – Arman T. Francisco (READ MORE)
DARNA vs SUPER GEE
In 1973, Vilma’s box office clout flew higher and higher as the new Darna, Nora decided to match the new strategy her opponents were bringing in the table by producing her version of super hero via Batman inspired Super Gee. It was a perfect strategy as Vilma’s Darna was like Superman (basically Darna – – can fly), Supergee rode a vehicle, just like Batman! The customer was quite similar too as Super wore a mask, just like Batman. Just like Darna, Super Gee came from a comics serial. It was a creation by Zoila serialized ironically in “Darna” komiks. Like in Lipad Darna Lipad, Nora casted Celia Rodriguez as her nemesis and hired Armando Garces as director. Unfortunately Nora Aunor can’t replicate the success of Darna even with the presence of Jojit Paredes and teen star Arnold Gamboa. The uninspired direction of Armando Garces didn’t helped the case too. The movie bombed in the box office and the press ridiculed Nora’s Super Gee costumes. Speaking of costumes, Madonna maybe got the inspiration for her cone bra costumes from this film.
Vilma Santos made another milestone career move. She bravely starred as the new Darna despite her lack of height. Past Darnas, From Rosa Del Rosario to Gina Pareno, prior to Vi, were all tall and toned. So the stakes are high as the film were released in March of 1973. Vilma’s supporters were relieved and ecstatic to find out the huge crowed in each theatres. It was reported that the production company, Tagalog Ilang Ilang distributed Darna dolls and Coca-Cola gave Darna masks to thousand filmgoers. Vilma will continue to starred in four more Darna movies while Super Gee quickly disappeared to its deserving death. Lipad, Darna, Lipad were divided into three separate segments with each segments and was directed by three different directors. It its First episode, Emmanuel H. Borlaza handled the exciting fight between Darna and the “Impakta” played with much gusto by Gloria Romero that climaxed into that aerial fight that ends with Gloria falling down into the church’s cross. If the first one was exciting, the second director, Elwood Perez successfully gave us a strangely cold and campy episode. Maybe because Darna’s nemesis Valentina played by Celia Rodriguez were supposed to be a supermodel hence the overtly poised gestures. She turned out to be a snake queen, turning her hair into diabolical snakes with her eyes beams up and turning whatever that touch the beams into stone. The face-off between Darna and Valentina was so stylish, sizing each other by dirty glances. It was like watching a western cowboy movie. When finally Valentina used her beams to turned Darna into stone, she was outsmarted by Darna. Using a mirror Valentina beamed her own self and she turned into stone. Add to her demise, she fell from the building and was shattered into hundred pieces! The last episode directed by the late Joey Goseingfiao featuring Liza Lorena as the hawk lady or “Babaing Lawin.” As expected Darna defeated her third nemesis but compared to the first two episodes, the fight scenes here were less exciting. We both seen Super Gee and Lipad Darna Lipad. Unfortunately, Super Gee was so poorly done that we can’t remember it’s full story. The press were also in agreement with me as there were no articles whatsoever written about this film even via internet. – RV (READ MORE)
Wonder “V” and Super “G”“…Talk about Himala, it was because of this movie that two ladies in my neighborhood got into a nasty hair-pulling fight. Nora could have won the grand-slam for Best Actress in all the award-giving bodies for this movie in 1982 except that her archrival and now Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos won for the movie “Relasyon” in the Gawad Urian. The feisty Noranians in the neighborhood could not accept this, while the Vilmanians gloated. This irreconcilable difference unfortunately turned ugly. In those days, fans were fiercely loyal. When Vilmanians talked about “Wonder V,” expect Noranians to come up with “Super G.” When Vilmanians mentioned how they got scared in “Phantom Lady,” expect a multitude of Noranians to thwart their claim by discussing “Fe, Esperanza, Caridad,” Nora’s suspense thriller. Even when Nora and Vilma starred together in a movie, say “Pinagbuklod ng Pag-Ibig” or the legendary “T-Bird at Ako,” competition between fans of both camps still raged. But in my community, the Noranians always prevailed!…” – Bum D. Tenorio Jr. (READ MORE)
Vilma Santos: “…I saw Eva Montes’ “Darna at ang babaing Tuod” at the movies and Rosa Del Rosario’s Darna on TV. I also watched “Darna: Ang Pagbabalik (The Return)” on TV but don’t care for it… it had bad production values. Of course, I was excited when I was offered the role of Darna. I even had to ask permission from the Nuns at my school because of Darna’s 2 piece costume. Besides, there’s nothing obscene about the costume because this is a Superheroine after all. But I asked advice from some fans and they were concerned that I might get criticized for being daring. This is why I wore body stockings in the promotional pics for the movie. It looked so terrible and made me look fat with body stockings. William Leary and Douglas Quijano convinced me to remove the body stockings before the Press Con. I remember changing into my Darna costume and I remember their words telling me- “Vi, the stockings look terrible so why don’t you surprise all of them by not wearing them. Besides, you have the looks anyway.” So there I was at the Press con without the body stockings…” – Eric Cueto (READ MORE)