#SigawDarna took over the internet last week when it prompted artists from all over the country to reimagine the classic Filipino superhero Darna.
We spoke with illustrator and comicbook creator Rob Cham, and one of the progenitors of the movement along with artists and creators Rian Gonzales, Cy Vendivil, Jemuel Bernaldez and Carljoe Javier, to find out the origin story of #SigawDarna.
#SigawDarna was born when artists Jemuel Bernaldez and Carljoe Javier posted about their rejected pitch for a Darna comicbook on social media early last week. The post was initially met with fans and artists lamenting the canceled pitch because it showed a lot of potential.
“When Jem posted that a lot of our local artists shared it and were really just heartbroken about how this was rejected. Because on all accounts it looked really promising and would have been great if the project pushed through”, Cham states.
The 5-page sample was beautifully drawn and rendered with Bernaldez and Javier offering a more modern and nuanced approach to the character. The take was also unabashedly Filipino, their Darna had distinct Filipino features, had a practical costume and would take on distinctly Filipino challenges. In the pitch, she’s shown coming to the aid of a young lady being harassed by a sleazy taxi cab driver, a scene not uncommon in Manila.
However, as more and more people started to share the post, amidst the positive comments, a negative sentiment began to slowly take hold.
As Cham recounts:
“We saw a lot of people give their takes on it that this Darna strayed too far from the source material, or that this Darna wasn’t white/pale/maputi enough or that her costume just wasn’t good enough because it should be the sexy bikini rather than something practical”
Some people sought to limit and harshly define what the classic Mars Ravelo character was. These people compared different artist’s takes and judging them with traditional and, frankly, dated views on beauty and what the character should look like.
“We saw a lot of negative comments about how things should stay the same, and how Darna was meant to be in line with the misconception/obsession with lighter skin color being better”
Artists Cy Vendivil, Rian Gonzales, along with Cham, Bernaldez and Javier, soon formed a chat group to discussing the matter and how best to proceed. Together they bandied about ideas with Vendivil and Gonzales even putting forward the idea of a fanzine collecting their different Darna-inspired artworks. Until the group came up with #SigawDarna and throw the ball to the public to for their own redesigns.
#SigawDarna would highlight the possibility of the beloved character, rather than the restrictions people shackle her with.
“It’s a response to the limited image people have about the character and their misconceptions on what makes a hero admirable”, Cham states.
“We want to show what she could be rather than what people think she should be”
Today, hundreds of artists have joined the movement, posting artwork and illustrations of Darna of all shapes and forms with more still joining the party! All at once, Schoolgirl Darnas, Mecha Darnas, Sentai-inspired Darnas, Kitty Darnas, Tribal Darnas, Luchador Darna and at least one T-Rex Darna all flooded social media.
Here are some of our favorites:
Look it these dorks. Smol darna design by the awesome Tristan Yuvienco
Tribute to Jem, Carl, and fact checker's efforts #sigawdarna
my take on Punk Darna for #SigawDarnafeaturing her band, the Ravelos1982, Narda is a 13 year old who just enjoys punk…
Started #SigawDarna with a couple o' cool comic people and here's my contribution!Was heavily inspired by Tristan…
— 🇵🇭 Tristan Yuvienco (@trisketched) March 27, 2019
Ian Sta Maria
Darna: Tagapagtanggol ng mga Ifugao. #sigawdarna #darnacorps #ifugaosuperhero #filipinotribes #filipinosuperhero #warriorwomen #filipina #embraceculture
Darna: Prinsesa ng mga Moro. #sigawdarna #darnacorps #muslimsuperhero #filipinotribes #filipinosuperhero #warriorwomen #filipina #embraceculture
Darna: Kampeon ng mga Aeta. #sigawdarna #darnacorps #filipinotribes #filipinosuperhero #warriorwomen #filipina #embraceculture
Marx Reinhart Fidel
Ang aking #SigawDarna ay tungkol kay Darna, isang katutubong babaylan, na biniyayaan ng kapangyarihan ng punong Anito…
John Ed De Vera
spunky magical girl Narda!! #SigawDarna #ArtPH
What if #Darna is a #jojostand—a visual manifestation of Narda’s fighting spirit.-I know this doesn’t look anything…
Hey guys! An idea just popped into my head..What if the next the "Darna" movie's setting would have a story about…
For #SigawDarna ! She’s a street dog who wants to stop animal abuse in her hometown.
e0w DarNa hir,..!!! Here's my take on #SigawDarna. Jeje gHurL darna bec why not???
Here's my interpretation – Head Huntress Darna. White hair was inspired Lola Wang Od. Quick tribe research for the…
Gabi Mara Art
My contribution to #SigawDarna I've been obsessing over JoJo's Bizarre adventure so I thought I'd have a go at my…
Art of Odree
i was starting to hate it but hey, we finished it! :Dthis is my contribution to the awesome #sigawdarna started by rob…
My version of Darna where the prompt was basically "what would *I* wear if I was Darna?" HAHAHA #SigawDarna Woohoo…
Thanks Rob Cham for the prompt, been wanting to do this for a long time, I had a personal narrative for Darna and…
Henshin-Bae Darna [needed an excuse to draw the Triple Ss lol for real tho this was fun to draw]#SigawDarna
John Patrick Gañas
There’s plenty more awesome Darna art on the #SigawDarna on Facebook and Instagram! And new ones are coming by the hour!