Quantcast
Latest Stories

The return of Zsazsa Zaturnnah

By

Hold on to your magical stones, Zsazsa Zaturnnah’s back and she’s turning 10. It’s amazing when you think about it, but this year marks a decade since comics creator Carlo Vergara introduced his superstar creation, Zsazsa Zaturnnah in the two-issue series “Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah in 2002, later collected in a trade paperback by Visual Print Enterprises. The series received critical acclaim but, more significantly, tickled the public imagination. In a masterful story that he both wrote and illustrated, Vergara shows how the small town beauty parlor owner Ada found—after it fell from the sky—a rather large magical stone that, when he swallows, transforms Ada into the impossibly statuesque super-heroine Zsazsa Zaturnnah. More than just a fantastic comic book, “Zsazsa Zaturnnah” was a clever and hilarious take on gay culture as well as Filipino komiks traditions, and far more resonant than a mere Darna parody where a gay man actually becomes a powerful woman.

“Zsazsa Zaturnnah” was so successful, it inspired a long-running Tanghalang Pilipino musical called, aptly enough, “Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Ze Muzikal,” running on and off from 2006 to 2011. It also led to a motion picture adaptation, “Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Ze Moveeh” in 2006. It can easily be said that “Zsazsa Zaturnnah” redefined what a Filipino comic book character could do on both an entertainment and intellectual level.

Yet in many ways, Zsazsa Zaturnnah the character is most powerful in her original form, as a comic book character. As good as the stage and screen iterations of “Zsazsa” were, it is on the printed page that Zsazsa truly shines because it is also here that Vergara gets to exploit his considerable creative powers—and so does Zsazsa by extension. Here, in these pages, they can do anything they want.

So the arrival of “Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila” Part One (Visual Print Enterprises, 2012, Pasay City, 86 pages) is an arrival as welcome as that of a magical stone from the solar system. The new three-issue series continues where the original series left off. After willingly giving up the magical stone, Ada finds himself moving to Metro Manila with his boyfriend Dodong in what amounts to a fresh start. But not everything goes the way Ada expects as his city friend, the cynical gay talent contestant Gwyneth, isn’t exactly crazy about Dodong’s appearance—and an unknown new menace festers just off the page. Despite having given up his superhuman alter ego, Ada discovers that the world still needs Zsazsa Zaturnnah.

“Kalakhang Maynila” displays Vergara’s clean, strong black-and-white lines even better than before, with his detailed characters now jumping off the page with their solidity and yet some of the book’s best moments come when Vergara contrasts the realistic figures with some really funny comic faces. There is an unmistakable energy present even as Vergara fills each frame with as many details as he can. Check out those cramped backgrounds, each loaded with a plethora of catch-me-if-you-can humor. Relocating the story to Manila gives him a new, expansive panorama to play with.

While skewering parts of our popular culture, Vergara tackles the intricacies of a relationship turned serious, giving the issue some really poignant, thoughtful moments, even as he completely changes the direction of the Zsazsa legend by introducing a new, important character. There might not be a giant frog or an army of zombies in this issue, but you’ll get a threat that, to many, is equally as terrifying. (Hint: they’re scarier when they fly—and are giant-sized). It’s all done in pitch-perfect Filipino and gay slang, a nonstop showcase of asides as well as over-the-top exposition—just remember the series is still for mature readers only as it’s sharp and funny but not for kids. It’s more than enough to make readers wait for the next installment, hopefully out later this year.

For those who have yet to discover the Zsazsa magic, this is the perfect point to jump on, and for those already familiar with this wacky and witty comic book masterpiece, it’s a truly happy homecoming. If there’s one thing that the first issue of “Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila” proves, it’s that Carlo Vergara has never been more adept at the trickiest circus act of balancing all its multifarious elements, as Zsazsa Zaturnnah’s long-anticipated return to comic book form is everything all at once, squarely both parody and adventure, both romp and critique, and certainly both haha and wow.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Other Stories:

No related posts found!


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: comics creator Carlo Vergara , Zsazsa Zaturnnah , “Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila” Part One



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. This is not just a farm
  5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  6. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  7. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  8. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  9. Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  10. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  9. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Traffic from provinces to Manila light on Black Saturday
  • Sub search for missing plane to be done in week
  • Gloomy weather on Black Saturday–Pagasa
  • Mixed feelings for Gabriel Garcia Marquez in hometown
  • Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  • Sports

  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
    Marketplace