In mainstream American comics, superheroes and religion don't usually mix well. But in the Philippines, religious themes are much more commonplace. An example of this is our Easter feature, Darmo Adarna, created by writer Ramon R. "R.R." Marcelino and artist Joseph Christian "Joey" Celerio. The series ran from the early to mid-1980's in the pages of Pilipino Funny Komiks, published by Islas Filipinas Publishing Co., Inc.
A BOY AND HIS BIRD
Because of his kind heart and his desire to help those in need, a young boy named Dario was blessed by God with the power to combat evil. With but a thought, Dario can transform himself into the super-powered teenager Darmo, while his pet chicken Kokok transforms into the mighty giant bird Adarna.
Darmo's greatest power is the power of prayer. Basically, he can make anything happen by simply wishing it (which means he literally has the power of wishful thinking).
Aside from this, Darmo also has superhuman strength, speed, and invulnerability, as well as the ability to fly.
As for Adarna, he's A GINORMOUS BIRD. 'Nuff said.
Dario's uncle (Uncle Ben?), a police officer and photographer.
Ben's father, Dario's grandfather.
A Messenger from Heaven sent to guide Dario in his mission.
A rather weepy alien who asks for Darmo's help in freeing his people (likewise known as the Orgs) from the oppressive reptilian race, the Krogs.
The chieftain of a subterranean race of dwarfish Rubber People.
LIDRO AND DIDRO
Aliens from the planet Librex, who intercept a transmission of a Superman movie. Thinking the Man of Steel to be an actual person (you mean he isn't?), they journey to Earth to ask for his help against the evil Demox race. Fortunately for them, they find Darmo and Adarna instead.
DIYOS NG KARAGATAN ("GOD OF THE OCEANS")
The ruler of a race of Fish People. An adversary at first, it turns out he only wanted to stop the dynamite fishing that is destroying his undersea kingdom.
THE FORCES OF EVIL
The ultimate arch-enemy. The Prince of Darkness. The Lord of Lies. The Devil himself. The original Hornhead.
A shape-shifting witch who also has the power to control an army of rats.
Ruthless alien reptilians (frog-like, to be exact) who seek to subjugate the gentle Orgs.
MIKOK, YAGUK & MULAK
A trio of renegade Rubber People who were ostracized from their race for being disrespectful to their elders (i.e. slapping around some old people). Like all members of their race, they possess the ability to stretch their limbs like rubber (naturally).
King of the Demox, a warlike race of mechanoid aliens.
Zaxan's deceitful second-in-command.
Another treacherous Demox general.
The fanatical commander of the whale-like submarine, the Nautilus. Using high-frequency soundwaves from his sub, he controls an army of whales and dolphins in his mad crusade to protect the seas. Nemo also has the power to levitate himself through meditation.
Nemo's loyal first mate.
KAMPON NG DILIM ("MINIONS OF THE DARK")
An underground race of gigantic demons.
A succession of artists have since illustrated the adventures of Darmo and Adarna. During the series' initial run from 1981 to 1982, the art chores would be taken over by Ronnie Escauriaga.
When the series resumed in 1983 as Ang Pagbabalik ni Darmo Adarna ("The Return of Darmo Adarna"), Rey Arcilla served as the artist for most of its run.
The artist for the Nasaan si Superman ("Where is Superman") story arc was uncredited, but it appears to be the work of Noly Panaligan.
This was followed by the Darmo Starfighter storyline drawn by Poe De Leon.
The final story arc, Darmo Adarna Laban sa Mga Kampon ng Dilim ("Darmo Adarna Against the Minions of the Dark") was written by Nico M. Arellano and illustrated by Romy Elsie Santos.
The original series ended in 1986, but a new version of Darmo Adarna later ran from 1990 to 1991. This very different incarnation was written by Christian del Cruz, with art by Louie Escauriaga and, later, Jun Dayo.