Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chicken Rerun: The DARMO ADARNA Reboot

Four years after R.R. Marcelino's Darmo Adarna ended, Pilipino Funny Komiks revived the feature for another run starting with their 641st issue (September 28, 1990).  Released 2 months after the Luzon earthquake (which the first story references), this version was initiated by the Superdog team of writer Christian del Cruz and artist Louie EscauriagaJun Dayo would take over the art chores a few issues later.

From the outset, the new Darmo Adarna was very different from their previous incarnation.  Its young protagonist Darmo (not Dario) did not have the ability to transform into a super-powered teen.  Instead, he rode on a flying bicycle and kept a lunchbox-full of living toy soldiers.

Adarna, however, is still a rooster that transforms into a giant eagle.

Darmo lives with his mother and father in a province that seems to suffer from a serious bandit problem (there had been like 3 random bandit attacks just within the first 15 chapters).

Later on, Darmo encounters a seemingly sinister Indian magician who forces him to assassinate the supposedly-tyrannical King of India on his behalf.  When the boy refuses at the last minute, the whole plot is revealed to be a test, and it turns out that the magician and the king were the ones who had given him his magic toys and Adarna to do good in the world.

Lasting for 81 chapters, ending with Funny Komiks #723 (April 24, 1992), the new Darmo Adarna's adventures were never as interesting as the originals.  But it wasn't even the worst interpretation of the characters.  No, that would be this one...

In 2011, ABS-CBN's fantasy anthology TV series Wansapanataym did a very loose 2-part adaptation of Darmo Adarna that departed even farther from the source.  No super-powered boy, no giant bird.  Instead it had actor Jake Cuenca as an overweight loser who is magically transformed into a muscle-bound hero, basically a male version of Darna.  There's still a magic rooster in there somewhere, though.  Because apparently, you can do Darmo Adarna without the giant bird, but there should always be a magic rooster.  Okay, then.