FFE Magazine

Filipino Superhero Series: Zsazsa Zaturnnah

Do you know what makes Zsazsa Zaturnnah a cut above the rest? At first glance, she reminds you of Darna and Wonder Woman with her physique and costume, but Zsazsa Zaturnnah’s alter- ego is an effeminate homosexual man! Yes, you read that right.

Zsazsa Zaturnnah is a superheroine created by Filipino graphic designer and illustrator Carlo Vergara.  Zsazsa Zaturnnah is relatively young compared to other Pinoy superheroes like Darna and Captain Barbell; she first appeared in a two-part limited release graphic novel Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah in December 2002.

A few months after its release, the novel won the 2003 National Book Award given out by the Manila Critics Circle. The novel was then compiled  into one volume and was released in 2004 to major bookstores in the country, and in 2005, became the 12th most sold Philippine fiction book. It was only in 2012, almost a decade after it was introduced, that Vergara produced Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila, the second installment to the series.

Zsazsa Zaturnnah revolves around Ada, a cynical resident of a small provincial town where he owns a beauty salon. His life changed when a stone falls from the sky, and when ingested, would turn him into a voluptuous and powerful superheroine with red hair. It was Ada’s assistant Didi who gave her the name Zsazsa Zaturnnah. Ada then uses his powers to defend his town from dangerous otherworldly threats.

In the second installment, it picks up right where the first series ends. After defeating the Amazoniztas, Ada moves to the city with his lover Dodong. Ada has to deal with his rocky relationship with Dodong and once again, take up the responsibility of saving his neighborhood from supernatural evils.


Qualities:

  • Strong

  • Brave
  • As Ada- cold and cynical because of rejections from his loved ones, including his father and former lover Lester.

Powers:

  • Invulnerability
  • Super strength
  • Super agility
  • Indestructible chest

 Classic Villains:

  • Amazoniztas from Planet Xxx- Zsazsa Zaturnnah battles them in the first installment.
  • Queen Femina Suarestellar Baroux- the leader of the Amazoniztas from Planet Xxx
  • Giant Frog
  • Zombies
  • Giant Cockroach



The Amazoniztas with Femina in the middle

Friends:

  • Didi- Ada’s assistant in the beauty salon
  • Dodong- the object of Ada’s affection

Zsazsa Zaturnnah was adapted into a movie in 2006. In the movie titled Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Ze Moovie, Ada was played by Rustom Padilla, and his superheroine counterpart was played by Zsa Zsa Padilla.


Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh poster

Watch the movie trailer here:

The novel was adapted into a stage musical by Tangahalang Pilipino and run seven times from 2006 to 2011, with famous actress Eula Valdez playing her at one point.


Eula Valdez in Zsazsa Zaturnnah Musical

Due to Ada’s sexuality, Zsazsa Zaturnnah has also been part of curriculums in gender studies in different universities in the Philippines and became a subject to of various academic essays.

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