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Geek Culture
#SigawDarna Takes Flight! Artists Reimagine Classic Komiks Superhero
Posted by Raphael Leynes on April 04, 2019

#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:

Jem Bernaldez

Look it these dorks. Smol darna design by the awesome Tristan Yuvienco

Posted by The Art of Jem Bernaldez on Saturday, 23 February 2019

 

Cy Vendivil

Tribute to Jem, Carl, and fact checker's efforts #sigawdarna

Posted by Cy Vendivil on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Rob Cham

my take on Punk Darna for #SigawDarnafeaturing her band, the Ravelos1982, Narda is a 13 year old who just enjoys punk…

Posted by Rob Cham on Sunday, 31 March 2019

 

Rian Gonzales

Started #SigawDarna with a couple o' cool comic people and here's my contribution!Was heavily inspired by Tristan…

Posted by Rian Gonzales / Rianbowart on Saturday, 30 March 2019

 

Tristan Yuvienco

Joining #SigawDarna with a younger Darna

Posted by Tristan Yuvienco on Thursday, 28 March 2019

 

Ian Sta Maria

Darna: Tagapagtanggol ng mga Ifugao. #sigawdarna #darnacorps #ifugaosuperhero #filipinotribes #filipinosuperhero #warriorwomen #filipina #embraceculture

Posted by Ian Sta Maria on Monday, 1 April 2019

Darna: Prinsesa ng mga Moro. #sigawdarna #darnacorps #muslimsuperhero #filipinotribes #filipinosuperhero #warriorwomen #filipina #embraceculture

Posted by Ian Sta Maria on Saturday, 30 March 2019

Darna: Kampeon ng mga Aeta. #sigawdarna #darnacorps #filipinotribes #filipinosuperhero #warriorwomen #filipina #embraceculture

Posted by Ian Sta Maria on Thursday, 28 March 2019

 

Koi Carreon

Ok, what if…#SigawDarna

Posted by Koi Carreon on Saturday, 30 March 2019

 

Marx Reinhart Fidel

Ang aking #SigawDarna ay tungkol kay Darna, isang katutubong babaylan, na biniyayaan ng kapangyarihan ng punong Anito…

Posted by Marx Reinhart Fidel on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Ivan Despi

#sigawdarna

Posted by Ivan Despi on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

John Ed De Vera

Weekend na, yeah. #Darnuuuh #SigawDarna

Posted by John Ed De Vera on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Mootecky

A snarky, non-binary Darna! #SigawDarna

Posted by Mootecky on Sunday, 31 March 2019

 

Oletarts

spunky magical girl Narda!! #SigawDarna #ArtPH

Posted by Oletarts: Art of Chelsea Oleta on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Borg Sinaban

What if #Darna is a #jojostand—a visual manifestation of Narda’s fighting spirit.-I know this doesn’t look anything…

Posted by Borg Sinaban on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Sskait

Darna as a doggo 🐶 #artph #sigawdarna

Posted by Sskait on Saturday, 30 March 2019

 

Ren Gomos

Hey guys! An idea just popped into my head..What if the next the "Darna" movie's setting would have a story about…

Posted by Ren Gomos on Tuesday, 30 May 2017

 

Mike’s Artstuff

For #SigawDarna ! She’s a street dog who wants to stop animal abuse in her hometown.

Posted by Mike's Artstuff on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Brian Balondo

#SigawDarna

Posted by Brian Balondo on Thursday, 28 March 2019

 

Ann Regencia

e0w DarNa hir,..!!! Here's my take on #SigawDarna. Jeje gHurL darna bec why not???

Posted by Ann Regencia on Monday, 1 April 2019

 

Jesh Pasiliao

Here's my interpretation – Head Huntress Darna. White hair was inspired Lola Wang Od. Quick tribe research for the…

Posted by Jesh Pasiliao on Monday, 1 April 2019

 

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…

Posted by Gabi Mara Art on Monday, 1 April 2019

 

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…

Posted by The Art of Odree on Sunday, 31 March 2019

 

Mike Banting

Lucha Libre Darna#sigawdarna

Posted by Mike Banting on Sunday, 31 March 2019

 

Carla Vergara

My version of Darna where the prompt was basically "what would *I* wear if I was Darna?" HAHAHA #SigawDarna Woohoo…

Posted by Carla Vergara on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Austin Salameda

Thanks Rob Cham for the prompt, been wanting to do this for a long time, I had a personal narrative for Darna and…

Posted by Austin Salameda on Sunday, 31 March 2019

 

Nandoom

Henshin-Bae Darna [needed an excuse to draw the Triple Ss lol for real tho this was fun to draw]#SigawDarna

Posted by Nandoom on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

Kurt Lucas

Darna, Dimension 1106#SigawDarna

Posted by Kurt Lucas on Friday, 29 March 2019

 

John Patrick Gañas

PLUS ULTRA!! #SigawDarna #artph

Posted by John Patrick Gañas on Friday, 29 March 2019

There’s plenty more awesome Darna art on the #SigawDarna on Facebook and Instagram! And new ones are coming by the hour!

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