“Nasaan Ka Na, Mara-bini?”: Francisco V. Coching’s Centenial Exhibition at CCP
January 29 @ 10:00 am - April 7 @ 6:00 pm
In 1935, the comic book novelist and illustrator Francisco V. Coching created Mara-bini, what Professor John Lent referred to as “an Amazon-like warrior” whose adventures pre-date those of Darna and Wonder Woman. Shortened from “Marahas na Binibini,” which directly translates in English to “fierce maiden,” the name does not only evoke images of a woman as a warrior, but draws attention to perceived contradictions of being both brash and graceful, intimidating, yet lovely.
In the komiks, Mara-bini lifts a lost stranger from the muck, her serene face a portrait of both compassion and strength. That Coching could conceive of this character is radical and ahead of its time. That the series in which she appeared, first published in 1941 in Bahaghari, was discontinued due to the Second World War begs bigger questions about what could have been, had Coching’s readers grown up with more heroes just like Mara-bini. (Alice Sarmiento)
– from the website of the Cultural Center of the Philippines