Pinoy Superheroes “Inspired”
by Popular Heroes
Pop culture is full of awesome, memorable and quirky characters that occupy a special little place in our brain. This includes the world of superheroes. We’ve fantasized about being Batman, the billionaire ass-kicking crime-fighter. We’ve fantasized about being Wolverine, the bonafide badass with his adamantium claws, healing factor, and berserker rage. We’ve fantasized about being Silver Surfer, if only because he can surf the universe and do whatever the hell he wants while being butt-naked.
Goals. Sidenote: is the Thing’s “thing” also made from rock? We digress.
However, finding something that’s truly original today can be pretty difficult. This also includes our beloved superheroes. Sure, we can debate how Quicksilver ripped off the Flash or how the X-Men ripped off Doom Patrol or how Aquaman ripped off Namor the Sub-Mariner. What mattered is that they added a few things that were their own and made an impact in their respective worlds. As Jean Luc-Godard said, “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”
That said, some Pinoys decided to take this idea and run with it, for better or worse. Here are just some Pinoy superheroes inspired by more popular foreign heroes.
8. Alyas Phantom
Via: Pelikula At Iba Pa
Simply put, Alyas Phantom is the Filipino version of Lee Falk’s comic strip hero The Phantom. Actor Bob Soler (who also played the first Captain Barbell) played the titular role in the 1966 movie, and even copied Falk’s costumed creation to a T.
7. Captain Philippines
Judging by the photos alone, Captain Philippines was based on (ripped off) Marvel’s Captain America. He had the word “Captain” in his name, along with having his own shield he used to hit bad guys with. His sidekick Boy Pinoy also looked a lot like Captain America’s buddy, Bucky.
Yep, we don’t see the similarities at all.
6. Kapitan Kidlat
Another Captain on our list, Kapitan Kidlat is the Pinoy version of DC’s Captain Marvel (now known as Shazam), with the origin story to match. While Captain Marvel got his powers from a wizard, Kidlat got his powers from Zeus. Billy Batson utters the phrase “Shazam” to transform into his super powered alter-ego Captain Marvel, while Inocencio Santos needs to speak the words “Kapitan Kidlat Ngayon” to transform into a superhero that kicks criminal ass. And just like the DC hero, Kapitan Kidlat has superhuman strength, the ability to fly, and throw bolts of lightning.
Via: VHS Hit Scans
The Philippines did the whole world a favor when they bestowed upon its inhabitants their versions of the popular sentai hit Bioman. In the 1990 movie, five kids accidentally walk into a mad scientist’s lair. The scientist gives them special pills and upon ingesting, they turn into Red Lion 1, Green Dragon 2, Blue Eagle 3, Yellow Tiger 4, and Pink Panther 5. Together, they form the Biokids, hence the title. We are not making this up. They then go on a crime-fighting adventure and clash head on with Mr. Clown, a villainous clown (duh) who looks a lot like the Joker. Mr. Clown plans to wreak havoc by releasing silver monsters (who look like Jimmy Santos) with a porn-stache that are trapped in Nintendo gaming cartridges. It is up to the Biokids to stop him.
The movie is so bad, it’s good. It has everything you want in a B movie: terrible special effects, horrible production design and lots of tongue-in-cheek gags.
Though loosely based on DC’s Plastic Man, Lastikman is a creation of Philippine Komiks king Mars Ravelo. The hero can stretch, shape, and transform his body into whatever he desires. His origin story tends to vary. In Mars Ravelo’s original 1965 comic, Lastikman is an alien from another planet who got stuck on earth and decides to pursue a career in crime-fighting. In the 2002 movie starring Vic Sotto, a man named Hilario is near a rubber tree when a meteor strikes it. Somehow, he gains powers of elasticity and uses his new skills to do good. In the 2004 movie, a young man gets beaten to death by illegal loggers after he prevented the latter from cutting trees in the forest. He was left for dead underneath a rubber tree, with said tree reviving him and giving him powers. He would then turn into, you guessed it, Lastikman.
3. Kick Fighter
Kick Fighter was popular in the 90s due to the fact that the series drew heavy inspiration from the Street Fighter video game. Check out Biotrog, a Balrog/Vega looking dude:
Though it’s quick to dismiss the characters as rip-offs due to their appearance, the comics’ creators actually gave the characters original backstories to set them apart from the world warriors they were based on. As a plus, most of the characters had their own series and would guest star in each other’s comics. Together, the Kick Fighters join forces against Warlord, whose plan is to turn the world’s population into bloodthirsty warmongers through a mind-control device.
2. Kisig Pinoy
Coming from the success of Kick Fighter, its publisher Infinity Publishing Inc. decided to create a series based on another big craze at the time: professional wrestling.
Enter Kisig Pinoy, who looks a lot like Macho Man Randy Savage and can probably pass off as his less-fabulous and less OHHH YEAAAAAHHH-spouting twin brother.
The man who would be Kisig Pinoy used to be a frail and simple-minded boy. He encounters a mysterious hermit, which is totally normal. The hermit bestows him powers, transforming the former weakling into Kisig Pinoy, a macho elbow-dropping dispenser of justice.
1. Batman (?)
We’ve seen a lot of WTF-inducing versions of superheroes from other countries. There’s the Turkish and Indian Superman. There’s the Japanese Spiderman who rides hovercrafts and fights Japanese monsters. But Pinoys? Pinoys have their own versions of Batman
The first Pinoy Batman movie was Alyas Batman and Robin which was released in 1965. There was also Batman Fights Dracula released in the same year. Yes, it sounds awesome.
In the 70s, we got Fight Batman Fight, starring Victor Wood as Batman and Roderick Paulate as Robin. What’s interesting in that movie is that Batman actually goes to hell to kick Satan’s ass, played by perennial kontrabida Romy Diaz.
We also had another Batman movie in 1991 titled Alyas Batman en Robin. Based on the 1960s TV series starring Adam West, Joey De Leon played Batman while his son Keempee played Robin. Together they went up against Joker and the Penguin, played by Rene Requiestas and Panchito respectively.
In typical 90s Pinoy movie fashion, we were treated to a few song-and-dance numbers in the movie:
We really loved our dance number portions.
How about you? Who are your favorite Pinoy heroes inspired by other characters? Sound off in the Comments Section!