Valentina (Philippine comics)

Valentina is a supervillain created by Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo who first appeared in the second episode of the Darna series published in the Philippine comics Pilipino Komiks (issue #78, 1950) . One of the most recognizable supervillainess characters in the Philippines,[7][5] she is the archenemy of Darna.[8] She was originally a bitter, deformed woman born from ordinary human parents with venomous snakes on her head that appears to be like hair. When she grew up, she killed her parents and was subsequently taken in by a serpent creature named Kobra. Valentina was soon referred to as "goddess of the snakes".[9][5]

Valentina
Publication information
PublisherAce Publications[1]
First appearancePilipino Komiks #78 (1950)[2][3]
Created byMars Ravelo (writer)[4][5]
Nestor Redondo (artist)[5]
In-story information
Full nameDr. Valentina Vrandakapoor (in the 1973 film Lipad, Darna, Lipad!)
SpeciesSerpent-like race
Place of originPhilippines
Planet Tiamat
Team affiliationsBraguda
Serpina
Serpent Queens of Tiamat
PartnershipsVibora
Kobra
Notable aliasesTina (in the 2018 dance musical theater Ding ang Bato)
Amor (in the Mango Comics mini-series)[6]
Abilities
  • venomous snakes on her head
  • superhuman strength
  • near-invulnerability and healing abilities
  • psychic power
  • control of any snakes

Mango Comics acquired the rights of Darna and in 2003 released a miniseries featuring Darna and Valentina. In this version, Valentina is an alien from the planet Tiamat. She came from a race that resembles the Gorgons of Greek mythology. She got an alter-ego named Amor who is a singer. When GMA Network signed a deal with Mango Comics for adopting their comics into the 2005 TV series Darna, most of the story from the Mango Comics were incorporated in the TV series including Valentina's backstory. One of the differences from the comics is that Valentina (played by Alessandra de Rossi) and Darna are cousins.

Outside comics, Valentina is the most sought-after antagonist in other media including film, television, and theater. Several actresses have taken the role since 1951 when the first Darna film was released, in which Cristina Aragon played Valentina. Celia Rodriguez's performance as Valentina in the 1973 film Lipad, Darna, Lipad was considered the best depiction of Valentina. In this film, it was the first that she was given a full name, Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor.

Valentina is not always presented as a villainess. In the 1989 film Valentina as well as in the television episodes of Komiks and Wansapanataym, Valentina is portrayed as a cursed individual but with a good heart and her love interest falls in love with her despite her appearance. In theater plays which were usually presented as ballet musicals, Valentina, although still a villain, is depicted in a comedic or sympathetic way, veering away from her traditional portrayal as a bitter woman.

Publication historyEdit

Early yearsEdit

 
Medusa, a Gorgon in the Greek mythology, is an inspiration in creating the Valentina character.

Valentina's debut in Philippine comics is in Pilipino Komiks #78 (1950),[2][3] which is the second episode of the comics serial Darna by Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo that ran 28 episodes.[10] She eventually became the archenemy of Darna.[11] In creating Valentina, Ravelo drew inspiration from Medusa,[5] a Gorgon in Greek mythology with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Valentina has venomous snakes in her hair, but she does not turn people into stone upon looking into her eyes unlike Medusa.[5]

In her first appearance, Valentina was born from human parents named Miguel and Doray.[5] Too many restrictions from her parents led Valentina to kill them with the help of her pet snake Vibora, beginning her journey onto the pathway of evil.[2][12] Kobra, a creature with a python's body and hag's head, became Valentina's master.[5] Valentina learns to control snakes to do her bidding, making her "goddess of the snakes".[5] After Darna foiled her plan to turn the Earth into a world dominated by reptiles, Valentina commits suicide by jumping into a cliff where the bodies of her parents can be found.[5]

Later yearsEdit

In the late 1960s, Pablo S. Gomez created a comic novel entitled Valentina in Universal Komiks that was published by PSG Publication.[7] The main character of the novel, Valentina, is associated with snakes and inspired by Ravelo's Valentina.[7] Due to this comic novel, Valentina became a household name.[7]

The Mango Comics miniseriesEdit

In the early 2000s, Mango Comics acquired the rights of Darna.[13][14] With inputs from the family of Ravelo, in 2003, Mango Comics released a miniseries featuring Darna with Valentina as the main villainess.[2] In this comics series that was written by Boboy Yonzon and illustrated by Ryan Orosco and Gilbert Monsanto,[15] both Darna and Valentina came from the planet called Tiamat.[2] Darna comes from a warrior race named Adarna that uses artificial wings and the comics clearly link the race's origin from the Adarna bird from early Filipino literature while Valentina comes from a rival race that resembles the Nāgas and Gorgons.[2] In this version, Darna's alter-ego, Narda, is depicted as an ordinary college student.[2] On other hand, Valentina is initially presented as a pop singer named Amor comparing her singing prowess to Britney Spears.[6]

Character backgroundEdit

 
Montivipera xanthina, one of the various viper species. Valentina's snakes on her head is as venomous as a viper.

Valentina is a serpent queen with a same likeness to the Gorgon Medusa of the Greek mythology, and with this, she has the ability to control all types of snake as well as communicate with them.[16] One of her defining feature is her venomous snakes on her head that she uses to attack enemies and their bite is lethal just like a viper.[12] As a snake goddess, she has an army of snakes that she uses to execute her plan to destroy humankind.[7] She can also change in different forms.[16]

Valentina usually has a pet snake and a mentor who teaches him to control snakes.[12] She is normally depicted as a bitter woman who always seeks revenge.[16] In other depictions, she is jealous with Narda's (Darna's alter ego) love interest and attempts to steal the man that Narda (or Darna) loves.[16]

In other mediaEdit

FilmsEdit

1950s to 1970sEdit

Cristina Aragon played the first Valentina role in the film Darna (1951), the very first film adaptation of Darna comics series.[17] Twenty-two years later, in 1973, Valentina appeared as a doctoral degree graduate in Reptilian Zooloogy from University of New Delhi in the film Lipad, Darna, Lipad!. Valentina's full name in this film is Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor, Ph.D. and she wears a turban to hide the snakes on her head.[18][19] Celia Rodriguez portrayed Valentina in this film and her depiction of the character, particularly the sequence where twelve real snakes cover her body while in bed, made her one of top actress to play Valentina as well as one of the top villain performers in the Philippines.[20][21] The snakes on the head of Rodriguez were actually eels (Rodriguez referred to it as water snakes).[22]

1980s to 1990sEdit

 
Cherie Gil who mistakenly cited in various sources as one of the actress who portrayed Valentina but actually played the daughter of Valentina, Valentine, in the 1994 film Darna: Ang Pagbabalik.

In 1989, a film was released by Lea Productions entitled Valentina, where Melissa Perez Rubio played the title role.[23][24] In this film where Darna did not appear, Valentina is portrayed as a good person who was cursed with snakes on her head and has powers to turn people into stones at will unlike Medusa who makes people into stones through looking at her eyes.[25] Rey "PJ" Abellana played Ariel, the love interest of Valentina, which was originally intended for Eric Quizon.[26]

In the film 1991 film Darna, Pilar Pilapil portrayed Valentina.[20][23] The film was criticized as campy and Valentina's look was negatively compared to Jacobim Mugatu of Zoolander while her pet snake Vibora was censured as a downgraded muppet with bright red lips.[27] In another Darna film in the 1990s, Darna: Ang Pagbabalik (1994), Pilita Corrales played Valentina where she has a daughter named Valentine (portrayed by Cherie Gil) who also has snakes on her head.[20][23]

FutureEdit

After ABS-CBN got the film rights for Ravelo's characters in 2013, development of another Darna film has been in the works since 2014 by ABS-CBN's film production company, Star Cinema, with Angel Locsin reprising her role as Darna, although, full cast was not revealed including the actress who would portray Valentina.[28] Erik Matti was the director of the film whose production company Reality Entertainment was co-producing the film.[29] In 2015, Angel Locsin left the project due to health reasons.[30] Matti continued working on the project without revealing any details about the cast.[31] Liza Soberano was announced to play Darna in 2017 and no other cast information was given.[32] There were rumors circulating that Anne Curtis would portray Valentina in Soberano-led Darna film but she neither confirm or deny it.[33] Other prospects of actresses who would be Valentina emerged including Venus Raj, Iza Calzado and Jessy Mendiola.[16] In August 2018, Matti said that he already had actors for Ding and Valentina but he did not reveal who were them.[34] In the same month he said this, Soberano had a fractured finger and in April 2019 she announced that she is quitting the project because of the injury.[35]

ABS-CBN announced in October 2018 that Matti withdrew as director for the Darna film because of creative differences.[36] A day after the announcement, it was revealed that Jerrold Tarog replaced Matti as the new director for the Darna film.[37] With the departure of Soberano, Jane De Leon was unanimously picked as Darna among the 300 actresses who auditioned for the role.[38] On the other hand, the coveted Valentina role has yet to be disclosed and several actresses expressed their desire to fulfill the role, most notably Denise Laurel.[39][40] In addition to the other actresses who were rumored to be Valentina, it was speculated that the following actresses would be Valentina: Sarah Lahbati, Dimples Romana and Maricar Reyes.[41]

Television showsEdit

Darna (2005 TV series)Edit

 
Alessandra de Rossi played Valentina in the 2005 Darna TV series; the first appearance of the character in television.

The very first appearance of Valentina in television is in the 2005 television series Darna by GMA Network where Alessandra de Rossi played Valentina[42] while Angel Locsin portrayed Darna, which was first offered to Iza Calzado.[43] About more than a decade later, Calzado was also considered to play Valentina in another Darna film.[16] On the other hand, de Rossi had qualms in accepting the Valentina due to her fear of snakes but she was persuaded by the production team to take the role.[5] She initially does not have snakes on her head but eventually had them on her final form.[20] The series pilot which was aired on April 11, 2005 posted a 47.1% rating according to AGB Nielsen and the pilot episode was one of the highest rated in Philippine television.[2]

Most of the plot and story elements of the 2005 Darna television series were lifted from the 2003 Darna comics miniseries published by Mango Comics since GMA Network inked a licensing deal with Mango Comics to adapt their comics version into television. In this adaptation, Narda and Valentina are cousins, but in the latter, they found out that they are twins.[44] Efren (played by Dennis Trillo) is both the love interest of Valentina and Narda; Valentina will do anything to get him.[44] Valentina changed to Ava (played by Nadine Samonte) in order for her to get Efren.[44] Valentina was the Anomalkan who will kill the Queen of Anomalka, Braguda, according to the prophecy.[44]

Darna (2009 TV series)Edit

GMA Network rebooted the Darna series once again in 2009 with Marian Rivera as Darna/Narda and Iwa Moto as Valentina.[45] Moto was initially set to play the villain Babaeng Linta but it was changed and she got the role of Valentina.[46] Katrina Halili was considered to play Valentina but she ended up with another villain, Serpina, the half-sister of Valentina.[47][48] Although, it turned out that Serpina is actually Valentina.[49] Halili also played a villain in the first Darna TV series in 2005 as the Black Darna.[48] Moto's Valentina used to be the childhood friend of Narda and Eduardo (love interest of Narda and played by Mark Anthony Fernandez) until she becomes evil and the enemy of Darna.[50]

 
Iwa Moto who originally considered to play Babaeng Linta was cast as Valentina in the 2009 Darna TV series.

Valentina's powers in the 2009 Darna TV series played by Moto are superhuman strength, stamina, reflexes and the usual power in the comics, which is the control of snakes through a psychic bond.[50] In addition, she has the ability to heal herself and can heal people who are sick as well as get rid of poisons or toxins from any person.[50] Although, when her heart is injured, she cannot heal it.[50] Valentina can also telepathically link herself to her half-sister, Serpina.[50] Her superhuman strength can uproot trees and can match Darna's strength.[50] In this series, Kobra (played by Paolo Contis) who is originally a female character in the comics is Valentina's father while her mother is an ordinary human named Consuelo (played by Janice de Belen).[50]

Other television showsEdit

Jodi Sta. Maria starred as Valentina in an episode of ABS-CBN's Komiks television series in 2006 entitled "Komiks Presents: Valentina."[23] The episode is an origin story and Valentina is presented as a good person like in the 1989 film Valentina.[51] Another ABS-CBN television series, Wansapanataym, features Valentina again in one of its episode in 2010.[23] Melissa Ricks got the role to play Valentina in this Wansapanataym episode and the story is also similar to the Komiks episode and the Valentina film where Valentina is presented as a cursed individual but with a good heart.[52]

TheaterEdit

Pilipino KomiksEdit

Before the Darna comics characters were adapted into the television medium, they had already appeared first in theater in 1993 where ballerina Lisa Macuja played Darna and Melanie Motus played Valentina in the musical stage play entitled Pilipino Komiks.[53] This ballet stage production was presented by Philippine Ballet Theatre and featured characters made by Mars Ravelo in a comedic way.[54] Almost a quarter a century later in 2017, this play that was first choreographed by Gener Caringal was re-staged again by Philippine Ballet Theatre and co-presented by Filipino Heritage Festival, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, AB Leisure and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.[4] In this re-staging of Pilipino Komiks, Regine Magbitang played Darna while Loby Pimentel played Valentina.[4] Both plays were performed in the Cultural Center of the Philippines; the second play additionally performed in Negros, Philippines.[4]

Other stage playsEdit

 
The Cultural Center of the Philippines is one of the venues where Mars Ravelo's characters, specifically Valentina, are usually featured in a stage play.

Another ballet stage play was produced in August 2003 by Ballet Philippines and presented at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.[55] In this theater version, entitled Darna, Christine Crame and Kris-Belle Paclibar alternately danced and played the part of Darna while Valentina who sings was portrayed by Chin-Chin Gutierrez and Tex Ordoñez alternating between the schedule of the stage plays.[55][56] This production is equally focused on both Darna and Valentina.[57] With choreographic influences from American films such The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the theater play was directed by Chris Millado and choreographed by Denisa Reyes and Alden Lugnasin.[56]

In May 2018, Ding, Ang Bato! that was presented by the Arts and Culture Cluster and the Dance Program of the School of Design and Arts of the De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde was a dance musical theatre that once more featured Darna and Valentina.[58] Staged at School of Design and Arts Theater at De La Salle College of St. Benilde and directed also by Chris Millardo,[59] the story is presented at the point-of-view of Ding (played alternately by Carlos Serrano, Juner Quiambao and John Peñaranda), the younger brother of Narda, who is born deaf in this version.[60][61] Christine Crame reprised her role as Darna while role of Valentina went to Natasha Cabrera.[62] In this version, Valentina is a sympathetic character and has an alter-ego named Tina that was played by Lea Roque.[63]

Actresses who played ValentinaEdit

The following table lists all the actresses who portrayed Valentina as the main character as well as her alter-ego. It does not include actresses who portrayed Valentina as a result of possession or reincarnation. That information is available in the "Notes" section.

 
Jodi Sta. Maria played a good Valentina in a Komiks episode.
 
Katrina Halili played Serpina in the 2009 Darna series but it turned out that she is Valentina herself.
Valentina actresses
Year Medium Work title Actress Notes
1951 film Darna Cristina Aragon The very first actress to play Valentina.
1973 film Lipad, Darna, Lipad! Celia Rodriguez For the first time, the character got a full name (Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor). Rodriguez's performance was regarded as the best depiction of Valentina.[64]
1989 film Valentina Melissa Perez Rubio Valentina is presented as a protagonist.
1991 film Darna Pilar Pilapil Valentina's look on this film was criticized.
1993 theater Pilipino Komiks Melanie Motus The very first musical dance theater adaptation of the character presented in a comedic way.
1994 film Mars Ravelo's Darna: Ang Pagbabalik! Pilita Corrales Numerous sources refer Cherie Gil played Valentina[16][64] but in fact, she played Valentine, the daughter of Corrales' Valentina in this film.
2003 theater Darna Chin-Chin Gutierrez and Tex Ordoñez Valentina's character sings in the ballet theater presentation where she and Darna were equally focused in the story.
2005 television Darna Alessandra de Rossi The very first television adaptation of the character. Nadine Samonte played Ava in this series but her character was possessed by Valentina.
2006 television Komiks Presents: Valentina Jodi Sta. Maria Valentina is featured in this Komiks episode as a good person as in the 1989 Valentina film.
2009 television Darna Iwa Moto In this Darna reboot, Katrina Halili portrays Serpina, the half-sister of Valentina, but it turned out she is Valentina herself.
2010 television Wansapanataym Melissa Ricks Similar to the Valentina film and the Komiks episode, Valentina is presented as a cursed person with snakes on her head but with a good heart.
2017 theater Pilipino Komiks Loby Pimentel The play is a remake of the 1993 musical dance theater with the same name.
2018 theater Ding, ang Bato! Natasha Cabrera and Lea Roque Cabrera played a sympathetic Valentina while Roque played Tina, the alter-ego of Valentina.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  63. ^ Lanuza, Ej (21 May 2018). "Taking flight with "Ding, Ang Bato!"". The Benildean. De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  64. ^ a b "Ten things you didn't know about Celia Rodriguez, Cherie Gil, and their power looks". PEP.ph. 12 April 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2019.