Who came first Batman or Superman?
by aLjI– IF you’re wondering who can turn comic books into movies faster than a speeding bullet, I’ll say the Filipinos can.
The ‘50s up to the ‘70s seemed quite an exciting period in Philippine cinema based on these posters and “komiks” both bloggers have posted on their sites– proof that back in the day when copyright infringement was more blurry than it is today; Philippine cinema and the Komikbook industry had quite an impressive output of plagiarized superheroes.
Here are some samples in a blog we’ll call:
WHO CAME FIRST…?
1. “IRON MAN: The Movie “or “CAPTAIN BARBELL Kontra CAPTAIN BAKAL” Da Pelikula?!
Iron Man first appeared in Tales of Suspense, published by Marvel Comics in 1963.
“Iron Man: The Movie” starring Robert Downey, Jr was released in 2008 .
“Captain Barbell Kontra Captain Bakal” (obviously, “Captain Bakal” was the Iron Man of the Philippines) starring Willie Sotelo as “Captain Barbell” and Carlos Padilla, Jr. as “Dario” was shown in 1965…
…43 years before Downey’s blockbuster film.
2. “LITTLE MERMAID” or “DYESEBEL”?!
“Little Mermaid” is an original Hans Christian Anderson tale published in 1837 .
There have been a lot of versions in both films and TV shows. The most famous today is, of course, the Disney cartoon “Little Mermaid” which was shown in 1989.
The Philippine movie version starred Jaime Dela Rosa and Edna Luna as “Dyesebel”, a dead-on copy of the Little Mermaid. It was shown in 1953…
…a full 36 years prior to the famed Disney version.
3. “BATMAN” or “ALYAS BATMAN AT ROBIN”?!
After the success of Adam West’s “Batman” TV series, they turned it into a full-length film creatively called… “Batman”, and was released in 1966.
The movie follow-up came a bit late via Tim Burton’s … hold your breath…“Batman”, starring Michael Keaton in 1989.
The Philippines had its own movie version featuring Bob Soler and Lou Salvador, Jr. in “Alyas Batman at Robin” and was released in 1965…
…one year before the Adam West-movie and
…24 years before Tim Burton’s.
“Holy cajoney, Batman!”
4. “CATWOMAN” or “PUSSYCAT”?!
Speaking of Batman, one of his arch nemesis or ex-girl friends (depending on which storyline you believe) had a solo production in “Catwoman” with the scorching Halle Berry playing the . But as hot as Halle was, the critics and audiences gave it the cold shoulder and it flopped back in 2004.
Not so with its Philippine version titled “Pussycat”. It starred the equally hot Divina Valencia (of the classic “Divina Valencia, Estella Suarez, nagbu-burles.. song) and was released in 1969…
…35 years before Halle’s unimpressive movie. “Pussy-cat” was a certified hit in ’69 right on that memorable summer of free love and free pussy, if you know what I mean.
5. MR. FANTASTIC in the “FANTASTIC FOUR” or “LASTIKMAN”?!
Marvel superhero Reed Richards (a.k.a “Mr. Fantastic”) of the Fantastic Four is an exact copy of DC Comic’s “Plastic Man”. Why do I say this? Well, just look:
The thing is Plastic Man came out in the comics on August 1941, while Marvel’s version called Mr. Fantastic appeared 20 years after on November 1961.
Anyway, Mr. Fantastic was brought to the movie screens only in 2005 in “Fantastic Four” played by Ioan Gruffudd. Maybe because the technology to show Mr. Fantastic’s power to extend various parts of his body (hmmm…?) were not available yet, the Hollywood version was a bit late.
Movie special effects were not a problem in the Philippines back in 1965 when Von Serna (Snooky’s dad!) appeared as “Lastik Man”—Yes! pLastic Man, without the “P”– 40 years before Hollywood’s Mr. Fantastic.
Anak ng P , talaga!
If you think that was strange, how about this mash-up:
6. “THE SPIRIT” + THE QUESTION + MR. A
+ ROSARCH of the “Watchmen” + “SPIDERMAN”
= “CAPTAIN GAGAMBA”?!
The Spirit created by the great Will Eisner first appeared as a newspaper insert in 1940.
Hollywood turned it into a movie in 2008, written and directed by another great artist: Frank Miller (300 and Sin City).
The Question (below) and Mr. A (below The Question) appeared in 1967 although in different comicbooks: The Question in Blue Beetle #1 while Mr. A in Witzend # 3.
These comic book heroes, both created by Steve Ditko, clearly play up the Q and A reference: “Question and Answer”. Get it?
Alan Moore created Rorschach (below) for the comic book series The Watchmen in 1986 and admittedly says that Rorschach was based on Ditko’s The Question.
The Watchmen was shown in 2009 to rave reviews (there’s Rorschach in the middle).
Spiderman was the creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (again!) and was first seen on Amazing Fantasy # 15 in August 1962.
Then in 2002, Sam Raimi directed the movie“Spider-Man” starring Tobey Maguire.
And then it got weird-err:
Just a year after Spider-Man’s comic book debut, out comes the movie “Bakas Ng Gagamba”! It featured Bernard Bonnin (Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach’s father) in 1963.
This Pinoy superhero is an obvious combination of The Spirit, The Question, Mr. A (note: the fedora hat) and yes, Spider-Man (place Spidey’s chest on Gagamba’s face and you’ll get the picture).
Now if the US version starring Tobey Maguire had sequels, the Philippine version had more:
Part 2: “PALOS KONTRA GAGAMBA” (1963)
Part 3: “ANG LIHIM NG GAGAMBA” (1963)
Part 4: “GAGAMBA AT SI SCORPIO” (1969)
Spider-Man 4, also known as “Spider-Man Reboot” will be out in theaters on 2012—almost 50 years after “Gagamba at si Scorpio”.
7. “PHANTOM” or “ALYAS PHANTOM”?!
While writing this part, I suddenly noticed the frequent use of the words “Alyas” and “Captain” in most of these old Filipino films. I guess the words “Alyas” and “Captain” it makes it seem like it’s the original without claiming to be the original. Pretty smart, huh?
Anyway, here’s another Alyas-movie– “Alyas Phantom”!
The comic book character the Phantom was created by Lee Falk in 1936.
“Alyas Phantom”, the Filipino film was shown in 1966, a mere 30 years after, starring Bob Soler and Nova Villa (the comedienne) as his leading lady.
It was such a hit, another version came out in 1974 where the Phantom became a transvestite of some sort, with gay icon Vilma Santos as its star called “Phantom Lady”.
The Hollywood version came early this time (thank goodness!) in 1943 with a 15-part movie-serial starring Tom Tyler and Jeanne Bates. But the Phantom-movie everyone remembers today was the one starring Billy Zane in 1996 called “The Phantom”.
You do remember Billy, right?
Stop shaking your head.
8. “SUPERGIRL” or “SUPERGIRL”?!
First of all, Supergirl has never been Superman’s girl friend. She’s actually his cousin. In 1959 Kara Zor-El appeared in Action Comics #252 wearing the same Superman costume after crashing on earth from Planet Krypton.
Fourteen years later, by some Kryptonian miracle, Supergirl appeared in the Philippines as the actress Pinky Montilla in a movie with the same title: “Supergirl” in 1973.
In 1984, 11 years after the Philippine version, Hollywood came up with “Supergirl” starring Helen Slater. According to Wikipedia “It failed to impress critics and audiences”.
Both movies were not as super as they expected.
9. “SUPERMAN the Movie” or “ZOOM, ZOOM, SUPERMAN”?!
The most famous Superman movie version was, of course, the 1978 film “Superman” starring Christopher Reeve. This movie came out 40 years after Superman first appeared inside the pages of Action Comics # 1 created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938!
If you think Hollywood had one over the quick Filipino filmmakers of the ‘70s, think again.
In 1973, a full five years before Chris Reeve donned the red cape as “Superman” , a Filipino version called “Zoom, Zoom, Superman!” broke all Philippine box-office records existing at that time.
It starred Ariel Ureta (I guess, the top matinee idol that time?) and he had the best directors of Philippine cinema directing this three-in-one Ariel Ureta treat (like, one was not enough): Elwood Perez, Joey Gosiengfiao and National Artist for Cinema Ishmael Bernal.
Can Brian Singer beat Ishma, the National Artist? Guess not.
10. “POPEYE” or “POPEYE ATBP”?!
Proof that Ariel Ureta was quite a box-office draw in the ‘70s, the same producers quickly came up with a follow-up just months after in 1973 called “Popeye Atbp”, directed by the same directors. Talk about striking while the iron is hot.
Popeye is the world’s most famous sailor-man, created by E.C. Segar as a newspaper comic strip in 1919. So, the Philippine movie version was late by about 54 years.
How late was Hollywood this time? About 61 years late!
In 1980, Robert Altman directed Robin Williams in the live-action-sing-along-film Popeye. It was Robin’s first movie and Popeye’s last.
Hollywood didn’t even attempt a sequel.