Pinoy Superheroes: Captain Barbell

Real Name: Enteng

Identity/Class: Human transformed by magic

Occupation: School boy

Affiliations: Darna, Lastikman

Enemies: Lagablab, Freezy, Dagampatay, Lobo

Known Relatives: Belen (mother); Arnaldo (Lagablab, possible father)

Aliases: Kaptain Barbell; Teng-Teng (nickname)

Base of Operations: The Philippines

First Appearance: Pinoy Komiks #5 (1963)

Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength and resistance to damage. He is also able to fly.

History: Captain Barbell is a young boy able to transform into a incredibly strong super hero when he lifts a magical golden barbell that was given to him by a strange hermit.

Growing up in the U.S. I always saw superheroes as being only White or Black. I’ve decided to start a new segment on Filipino superheroes because I recently recalled an event in my childhood that changed the way looked at myself and superheroes in  the U.S. When I was in 1st grade I dressed up as Superman for Halloween and one of my classmates at the predominantly white elementary school I attended told me, “Chinks can’t be Superman!” Everyone knows that kids can be mean but the ones I was surrounded by were really racist. As I got a little older I was exposed to more Filipino superheroes like Captain Barbell created by Mars Ravelo. Captain Barbell first appeared in Pinoy Komiks #5 (1963).

Character Development & History

Enteng, a poor, wimpy and skinny but kindhearted boy always gets bullied by other people because he is undersized and easy to pick on. He tries to practice weight training and exercise to improve his physique, but his poor status prevents him to do it properly. He ends up buying (or finding in other versions) an old, secondhand and rusty barbell for him to practice on. He later discovers that the Barbell contains hidden powers, when he lifts it in one hand and shouts the name “Captain Barbell”, he transforms to Captain Barbell, a superhero possessing invurnerability, super strength, x-ray vision, incredible speed and the power of flight. With his newfound powers, he fights evil forces and protects the weak and helpless. In the 2006 TV series which was an obvious rip-off of Smallville, Captain Barbell is shown to have a weakness to the element Askobar.

Captain Barbell was originally depicted as shirtless because during the more whimsical comics age in the Philippines that occurred in the 1960s, Mars Ravelo based Captain Barbell’s look on circus strongmen with the addition of a mask. Since the original Enteng’s look was a really thin guy in a tank top (emphasizing his bony features), it was decided that Captain Barbell’s “shirtless circus strongman” look could provide a much more dramatic contrast to his mortal persona. Recent comics depicted him wearing a long-sleeved yellow shirt instead of being shirtless.

Sources:
CaptainBarbell.org
International Hero entry on Captain Barbell

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  • http://mylivefriendspacebookster.com J.R. LeMar

    Cool. We definitely need more non-White mainstream superheroes.