Saturday, July 28, 2012


To close out Spider-Month, lets see what web of mischief Lilit Bulilit has gotten herself entangled into this time.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Gagambino first appeared in the first issue of OFW Super-Stories (September 14, 2007), one of Carlo J. Caparas' short-lived line of komiks magazines published by Sterling Publishing.  As written by Caparas and illustrated by Karl Comendador, Bino was a hard-working, mild-mannered janitor who just happened to keep a giant carnivorous spider for a pet.


The comic version of Bino did not possess any special abilities.  He was just an average joe who relied on his pet to bail him out of trouble.


In 2008, Gagambino was adapted into a television series which aired weeknights on the GMA Network, premiering on October 20th of that year.

The premise of the show, as near as I can remember it, is as follows: ages ago, a radioactive meteor crashed to Earth, causing several insects in the vicinity to grow to gigantic size.  A blacksmith then took what's left of the meteor and forges it into a sword-- whoops, sorry, wrong story.  No, the meteor was forged into a spider-shaped medallion which gave its wearer mystical powers, as well as control over the giant insects.  Using the medallion, the giant insects were banished into an underground cavern, which in time became overrun with other giant mutated creatures and plant life.

The medallion was then handed down through generations.  However, the one next-in-line to be the medallion's keeper, a woman named Abresia, had turned to the dark side and sought to use its power for evil.  Meanwhile, a group of children had stumbled onto the strange underground realm, encountering the giant insects and gaining their powers in the process.  One of them, a boy named Bino, also earned the friendship of a friendly giant spider, nicknamed "Gamby."  Years later, Bino and his childhood friends must reunite and form the Liga Insekta ("League of Insects") to do battle with the malevolent villainess.

 Unlike in the comics, the TV version of Gagambino is depicted as more of a traditional costumed superhero.  Also, Gamby the Spider is a kinder, gentler giant in comparison to his more vicious comic counterpart.  To illustrate this, his eight eyes are even arranged to form a smiley face!


  Actor Dennis Trillo plays Bino Bayani alias Gagambino.  While he does not spin webs or stick to walls like an actual spider, he does possess the proportional strength and agility of one.  He can leap great heights and has an advanced healing ability.  He can also grow sharp spines on his forearms.  As a child, he exhibited the ability to grow fangs, but he hardly used this power as an adult.  He is also skilled in the martial arts.

He's also a bit of a jerk.  For one thing, he doesn't seem too motivated in being a superhero (as if your parents' murder isn't motivation enough).  Also, he cheats on his girlfriend, which causes her to go nuts and turn evil.  More on her later.

Actress Katrina Halili usually gets typecast in bad girl roles, but she gets to play the heroine for once as sexy starlet (call her a bold star and she'll kill you) Lucy Gutierrez, also known as Lady Mantisa.  In fact, she ends up being the most heroic character on the show.  As Lady Mantisa, she can transform her hands into razor-sharp mantis claws.

Isabel Oli plays Bernadette Albuento, codenamed Alakdanessa.  She has a venomous thrashing scorpion tail hidden in her hair.

Glaiza de Castro is Leah Albuento a.k.a. Super Bee (Really, these codenames aren't the best, but I guess they must be running out of ideas at this point).  She sprouts large bee wings on her back which enable her to fly.

The guardian of the spider-medallion.  Portrayed by Leo Martinez.

Played by Emilio Garcia, a disfigured scientist who creates the Liga's costumes and gadgets.  Love that rocking helmet.  They later gave him a new one that exposed half his face, but it didn't look as cool as the original.

Scary is the new sexy?

Jean Garcia is Divina/Abresia, the show's main antagonist.  Well, for the first half of the series anyway.  She had the power to control swarms of locusts whose bite could turn people into zombies.  She could also fire bolts of energy and, using the spider-medallion, could even resurrect people from the dead.  Then she lost her powers, turned good, got married and lived happily ever after.  Which kinda sucks because it was basically her fault that the other villains turned bad. Yet she gets to have a happy ending?

Polo Ravales is Harold Santiago or-- just plain Harold.  He has super strength, invulnerability, and huge beetle wings which give him the ability to fly.  One of Bino's childhood friends, he decides to be a bad guy instead.  Probably upset that everyone has a cool codename while he's stuck with "Harold."  And that goofy headgear.

Gotta feel sorry for this girl.  Played by Nadine Samonte, Celine Lopez was supposed to be the show's love interest.  Then she found out her mother was secretly the evil insect queen Abresia.  Later, she found out she wasn't her real daughter after all, causing her mom to flat out abandon her (and this was after she turned good!).  And on top of that, her boyfriend, the big-shot superhero star of the show, was cheating on her!  Can you blame her for going insane and turning into a supervillainess? 

Who the heck is Peter?  A very minor character, really, just some news photographer guy who shows up every once in a while.  Just felt like mentioning him since he's such an obvious nod to a certain other photographer dude with an affinity for arachnids.

One last thing I'd like to point out just because, this show also appeared to be a strong supporter of cremation.  Every time a character died, they would burn the body in the backyard.

To close this overview, here are two more Gagambino clips, though they're not actually from the show itself.  They appear to be fight scene test-footage performed by Dennis Trillo himself.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Tara Tarantula: The Spider Lady first appeared in the pages of Kamandag Illustrated Magazine (published by Counterpoint Komiks & Magazines, Inc.) in 1991.  Created by writer Nita Eden and artist Ding Abubot, Tara was a young woman who transforms into the arachnid-powered superheroine Lady Spider.

Friday, July 13, 2012

One-Shot Wonders: SPIDER NINJA

Continuing Spider-Month, we're also introducing a new recurring feature, One-Shot Wonders, which spotlights characters that had made only one appearance in a short komiks story.

In this installment, we present a wall-crawling thief who does whatever a spider can.  From Ninja Komiks #124 (December 30, 1987), here's Spider Ninja by writer Rafael B. Villamin and artist Obet Crame.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012


This July, we'll be celebrating Spider-Month! To kick things off, let's take a look at the Philippines' original arachnid-based avenger...

Created by Virgilio and Nestor Redondo, Gagamba ("Spider") first appeared in the komiks serial Bakas ng Gagamba ("Trail of the Spider"), which ran from 1961 to 1962 in Tagalog Klasiks (published by Ace Publications, Inc.).  Conceived a year before Marvel Comics' Spider-Man, Gagamba has much more in common with pulp heroes such as The Shadow, The Green Hornet and, appropriately enough, The Spider.

Gagamba next appeared in Palos Kontra Gagamba ("Eel Versus Spider"), a crossover with another popular Redondo Brothers creation, the slippery master thief-turned spy Palos ("Eel").  It ran in Tagalog Klasiks from 1962 to 1963. Alcala Fight Komiks (published by CRAF Publications, Inc.) continued the series with Ang Lihim ni Gagamba ("The Secret of Spider") from 1963 to 1964, and Gagamba at si Scorpio ("Spider and Scorpio") in 1969.  All four serials were adapted into films starring actor Bernard Bonnin, who was also famous for portraying Palos.  Sure enough, he wound up playing both roles for the movie version of Palos Kontra Gagamba.

For more about Gagamba on film and comics, click on to Video 48's Gagamba page.

The character later received his own magazine, Gagamba Komiks Magazine (published by Ares Publications, Inc.) on May 11, 1970.

In 1987, Gagamba, along with his faithful sidekick Scorpio, made a comeback in the pages of Thunder Illustrated Magasin (published by Counterpoint Komiks and Magazines, Inc.).  The new series, Sapot ni Gagamba - Kasama si Scorpio ("Web of Spider - Along with Scorpio"), was illustrated by Manny Pantaleon.

In this episode from Thunder #18 (February 4, 1988), Gagamba tangles with a female version of a familiar adversary...