Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Black Female Superheroes

This blog is dedicated to Black Superheroes but I have been reminded of its lack of female representation. Over time I'll be making an effort to correct that. In the meantime I'd like to give credit to a woman who has put some thought and energy into supporting them. Her name is Becca and as we are both fans and she took the time to come by and visit me here I thought I'd return the favor. I don't know her personally but I like what she has to say. Below is a montage she put together celebrating 60 Black Female Superheroes. Enjoy!

60+ Black Female Superheroes! from Becca on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ebony White

You've probably already seen the trailer for the new movie about a superhero called The Spirit. I looks like it might be interesting or so I thought until I did a little digging. In case you don't know, Will Eisner's The Spirit is a noir crime drama about a masked crimefighter of the same name that first showed up in the 1940s. What does that have to do with Black Superheroes?


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008


While he ultimatly became a worthy world reknown Black Superhero, Lothar's initial claim to fame is that he followed around Mandrake the Magician. He gave up the chance to become Prince of a federation of African jungle tribes in order to basically become Mandrake's sidekick. His powers are super strength and maybe some jungle ingenuity. In fact it is claimed that he is the strongest man in the world.


Monday, December 8, 2008


Easily one of my favorite former Teen Titans, Cyborg seems to embody the motto: "Suck it Up and Get to Work". Victor Stone, was an athlete but he was also a test subject for his parents. I'm sure they wanted the best for him as they sought to increase his intelligence. It was one of his father's other experiments gone wrong that allowed an extra-dimensional creature to cross through a portal and mutilate Victor. In order to save him, his father made him a cyborg using even more experimental technology. Poor Victor woke up to find most of his body gone. He wanted to die but ultimately went through therapy, worked hard and learned to control his new body. People looked at him as if he was some kind of monster which was an additional challenge for him to deal with. He ultimately found friends and companionship in the Teen Titans. His first comic book appearance was in 1980 in DC Comics Presents #26.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Luke Cage These Days

Gone is the upside down tiara, chain belt, yellow shirt and the name "Power Man." Today's Luke Cage shows little to hint about his "Black Power" days of the 70's save the attitude. Lately he's more reminiscent of his youthful neighborhood days complete with ongoing profanity and intimidating white people. He's married now to a former superhero and they have a daughter. All of this does little to take the rough edges off Luke's personality and customer service skills. He's still the same lovable bastard.

The fact that he's married a white woman seemed to be very much against his character and I rebelled against it for some time but now I have come to accept it. I even kind of like them together. They compliment each other well.

He's still the consummate street hero. Today's Luke Cage sports no signature costume, no mask, and no code name. He shows up, kicks ass, and moves on. There have been rumors about an upcoming movie with Tyrese Gibson playing the lead for years. If it's ever going to happen, it's definitely on the back burner though it is currently scheduled for 2009.

Luke is currently a member of the Avengers, Marvel Comics' premiere super team. This is definitely a character worth watching. In fact, here are a few pages of the current Avengers comic starring Luke and his family. The dialog is great. What's next for Luke? Check out this interview with the current writer of the New Avengers. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Amazing-Man

The Amazing-Man should be one of my favorite Black Superheroes. The DC Comics character, the original Amazing Man, William Blake Everett, made his debut in comics in 1982. The character's story took place during WWII. He was an Olympic athlete even before he gained is powers though he was unable to find anything more than menial work afterward. It was in his job as a janitor that he was kidnapped and experimented upon by the Super-Villain, the Ultra-Humainte. To protect his family, Will agreed to work for the Ultra-Humanite but not trusting him to keep his word, he ultimately choose to join the side of justice and the superhero group the All-Star Squadron to defeat the villain. Will gained the power to absorb the properties of any inorganic matter he touched. For example, if he touched steel, which he often did, then his body became solid, (yet somehow movable), steel with the strength and properties of that substance. This is similar to the Absorbing Man character in Marvel Comics.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Black / Brown Bomber

Back in the 70's, the world almost saw a super powered character called the Black Bomber. He was supposed to be a white racist that, in times of stress, turned into an African-American superhero. This was due to chemical camouflage experiments he participated in as a Vietnam soldier. In some of the scripts for this character, he was actually appalled after having risked his life to save some Black people and even made racial slurs. The whole idea of this character was absurd and thankfully, the character never actually saw print. What we got instead was the DC Comics character called Black Lightning. You can read more about this here.

Just recently, in the pages of the Justice League comic (#26 dated Dec, 08) the earth went through and out of a quick revision. In that new universe that lasted for half of two issues, a new character appeared called the Brown Bomber. He is apparently a Caucasian that upon shouting the phrase "Black Power!" becomes an African-American (hero?) complete with afro, gold chain, and medallion. He makes a couple of racial remarks and explains that his powers last for only an hour which is not unlike the character Hourman. The writer, Dwayne McDuffie, is himself and African-American, and has had a big role in the creation of African-American superheroes including Static. I have to say it was interesting to see this character in print but I hope not to ever see him again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Super President

Not to make light of those who paved the way but if there is one Black superhero that deserves to be in a comic book, it's Barack Obama. With the power to become President of the United States while still being Black among his many abilities, I for one am looking forward to his continuing adventures. Comic books of late have been straying farther and farther away from the reality of our universe but are now poised to stray back in our direction as our real President Elect will be showing up in the comic books we know and love. Maybe they have also come to realize it's time for a change.

Is he a superhero? Well Barack has already likened himself to Superman. In fact the web is littered with images making the comparison. You gotta love the poses. There is actually an official Barack Obama comic book that contains the President Elect's biography. (There's one for McCain too.) You can get it at among other places. Over in the Marvel comic book universe Obama had to beat out Stephen Colbert to win the Presidency.You may even recall Barack receiving an endorsement from a rather well know superhero earlier this year. They share the cover of issue 137 of the Savage Dragon.

What impact will Barack Obama have over the various comic book universes? He's already got a big mess to clean up over in this one. Only time will tell but until then, at least for the next eight years, make mine Obama!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Falcon

The Falcon (Sam "Snap" Wilson) is a Marvel Comics character that has been pretty much every kind of token African American character needed. He's been the angry Black man, the near powerless street fighter, and the token sidekick. He's been forced onto the Avengers super team because of their lack of minority members. Can anyone say Affirmative Action? He's even worked for the mob and been a pimp but that was all before he met Captain America.

Sam was brainwashed and planted for Captain America to find and befriend by the Red Skull. After that, he took the name Falcon and spent his time between the cleaning up the streets of Harlem and playing attache to Captain America. Through the relationship with Captain America, he went on to playing a bigger role in the heroic community including joining America's premier superteam, the Avengers, and working with S.H.I.E.L.D. on many occasions. Because he was brainwashed into becoming a good guy, the memories of his former life have come to the surface more than once but he remains a hero in good standing.

His abilities are that of an highly trained, gymnastic athlete with two exceptions. He has the ability to mentally communicate with birds, a bond that is strongest with his bird companion Redwing. He also has a complicated retractable flying apparatus that provides him with a variety of aerial combat capabilities besides just flying. The latest set was provided by fellow hero and benefactor, the Black Panther.

This character has little obvious impact on the Marvel Comicbook Universe but he has been around since late 1969. He is trustyworthy, caring, and quite heroic but ultimately uninteresting. His abilities are limited but I guess flight added to the ability to kick ass is enough. Considering the era this character was introduced credit does have to be given to the fact that he has stood the test of time. There are action figures of his likeness out there and he even made it to the Marvel animated universe during the short-lived Avengers: United They Stand animated series. Here's a look:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Black Pantheress?

Be on the lookout for the all-new, female, Black Panther. What happened to the other guy? I have no idea but this new version debuts in February and the story will be written by Reginald Hudlin who's done great work with the Black Panther in the past.  Is the world ready for a female Black Panther? Is this a gimmick? Want to know more? Take a gander at the interview. Maybe the original Black Panther wants to spend more time with his wife and let his sister take a spin in the tights. Time will tell and I'm looking forward to it. The Black Panther is the premier Black Superhero so expanding his portion of the Marvel Comics universe can only be a good thing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Enter: Static

The picture says it all. Static makes his debut in the modern DC Comics Universe and he looks bad-ass! What's it all about? Check out the story here. He looks like a mixture of the old Milestone Comics version and the animated television Static Shock version. Either way, we'll see next month. I can't wait.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Bishop (Lucas Bishop) is the first Black member of the X-Men after Storm which makes him the first Black male member of the X-Men. He joined the team after having traveled back more than 80 years from the then current X-Men's future. He had endured a great deal to become a hero, suffering mutant racism, and poverty. He was actually born in a mutant concentration camp and still wears the genetic brand of a big letter "M" covering half of his face. He proved to be a relatively popular X-Men character though he never achieved the status necessary to maintain his own comic book for more than a miniseries. He appeared in one of the X-Men animated series and even achieved the distinction of being the first Black comic book character on the cover of Wizard magazine.

Bishop's mutant power is the ability to absorb, store, and release many forms of energy. He has been known to use that energy to enhance his strength, endurance, and durability. He has a military background from his training in the future and is trained in multiple forms of combat both with and without weapons. His spotty knowledge of the future has also helped to him to save lives and conquer his opponents. He has always been rough around the edges but definitely a good soldier and field leader.

I'm was never a fan of his flowing, (not dread), locks and was happy to seem him finally sport a more clean look. While he could be seen as an angry Black man, his reasons for being angry seemed to be much more about him being a persecuted mutant than anything else. Bishop always had an agenda he didn't share with anyone else and through all his incarnations the fact that he was Black was always clear though he never really seemed to speak of it. Bishop is deep, conflicted, and complicated, which is a good thing and will likely serve him well as an ongoing character of Marvel Comics.

Monday, October 13, 2008

10 Black Superhero Movies

I'm not the only one with something to say about Black Superheroes. In fact I'm always interested when someone has something to say about the subject, especially when they've done a little research. On the subject of Black Superhero movies, Korey has compiled an interesting list. It's well thought out and funny so I thought I'd share it. Check out his vlog entry:

Find more videos like this on The Movie Community

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Real Static

There is probably no teenage Black superhero with more universal appeal than Static. He's got brains, versatile abilities, a big heart, and a major sense of duty. It's no wonder he was the only superhero from Milestone comics that made it to TV albeit in a different form. Unlike in the Static Shock animated TV series, the original Static had short hair, wore a Malcolm X hat as part of his uniform and it was his Mother he was left with; not his father. Static's abilities were electromagnetic in nature enabling him to mentally manipulate multiple forms of electricity and magnetism. He flew by levitating a manhole cover while standing on it. Static flying
While Static is an original character you could see traits in him that showed up in great heroes of the past. He had an intellect, wit, and sense of duty like Spider-Man. He was able to see the good in people and the overwhelmingly positive effect of his parents was not unlike that of Superman. Like Black Panther, he was a positive role model and exhibited much of the greatness that Black people can and do achieve in their real non-super lives. Look for him in the pages of DC Comics' Teen Titans as this character joins the mainstream comic universe and hopefully, once again, in his own comic.

Monday, September 29, 2008


A promising DC Comics character, Orpheus (Gavin King) started out as a dancer and martial arts expert. He toured the world with a dance troupe and observed much of its evils and unfairness. He tried to help where he could but his passionate responses often nearly got him killed. He was later recruited by a secret organization that trained him and provided him with technology. Believing that Gotham City needed a Black hero, he set up his base of operations there, eventually running into Batman.

It's easy to view Orpheus as a Black version of Batman as their methods were similar though Orpheus lacked Batman's experience. He wore a suit that provided him stealth capabilities and was a formidable martial artist. Orpheus was driven by the injustices of the world and was passionate about being one of its champions. This was an positive and inspirational Black character with a rich past and interesting viewpoint.

Presented in the miniseries (“Orpheus Rising” written by African-American writer Alex Simmons) by DC Comics in 2001, it looked like Orpheus would be around for years to come. I expected he would at least become a powerful element in Batman’s supporting cast. Alas this was not to be. He showed up from time to time in the Batman comics but was never fully brought into the mainstream. Just a few years later (2004), in a different storyline highlighting Gotham’s gang wars, he was killed, his throat cut by one of Batman’s villains by the name of Black Mask. After his death, the character began spiraling into obscurity. He is now all but forgotten.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Superstretch and Microwoman

Back in the late 70's there was a Black crime fighting couple called Superstretch and Microwoman that showed up on Saturday morning TV. He was basically Plastic Man complete with the jokes and somehow her shrinking abilities always seemed to come in handy. I remember watching them during the animated Tarzan show. The episodes were short, a bit silly, and there weren't many of them but as a kid I thought they were great. They both had afros, wore no masks, and often referred to each other by their first names (Chris & Kristy). Their constant companion was a dog named Trouble. As I look back I remember they even used to hug and kiss on screen. Black superheroes showing affection to America's kids? What a precedent! Anyway here's a rough look at part of one of their episodes. In this one they fight their evil dimensional counterparts. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


In Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles, a movie I liked very much, we are introduced to the Superhero Frozone voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. The character is likable right away but the codename bothered me. I understand the play on the word "frozen" since the hero's powers are based on freezing things but "fro"? He has no afro so I have to assume he's called Frozone because he's Black. I suppose it's better than calling him Black Ice, though not by much. I guess we haven't outgrown putting a Black character's color in his name.

Frozone's powers are like that of comic book characters, Iceman, and Ice. In fact he seems to be a combination of the two. As far as his representation of Black people I'd say he's a little better than middle of the road. The character is interesting but not exciting enough to stand in his own movie or comic book. Shooting ice from your fingertips is not a bad power. His character is married and he appears to be faithful except for moonlighting as a superhero. In fact his wife knows about his abilites and alter ego. The hero is clearly Black in look, voice, and attitude but also very non-threatening which enables him to appeal to all ages and people. He was number one on the list of Black Voices dubious list of the Top 25 Black Superheroes.

Disney has done right by the character in terms of marketing and exposure. They gave him a secret identity, (Lucius Best), and bit of a life outside being a Superhero. He has multiple action figures both in and out of costume. He even appears at Disney venues much like Snow White and Mickey Mouse. You can even have your picture taken with Frozone. I look forward to see what becomes of this character.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Verb: That's What's Happenin'!

verbIf it wasn't for Schoolhouse Rock I'd have had a much harder time memorizing my timetables. I still remember the words to many of those songs. In 1974 I got an additional treat as they used a Black Superhero to teach me about verbs. If memory serves, Black people showed up quite frequently in Schoolhouse Rock but the superhero Verb was powerful, cool, and never spoke a word. He only showed up for this one learning opportunity and never appeared anywhere else that I know of. Are you old enough to remember this?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Black Vulcan

There's a lot to be said about this short-lived hero. His first appearance was on the Super Friends cartoon in the 70's as they expanded their lineup to create diversity. Black Vulcan is among those Black Superheroes that has the word Black in his name for no reason other than the color of his skin. When he showed up in the Super Friends many comic book fans cried foul as he was obviously a take off on Black Lightning who actually did exist in the DC Comics Universe. Apparently there were challenges with the creator of Black Lightning (money issues), so Black Vulcan was invented. Other than the color of his skin or the sound of his voice there was little "Black" or even interesting about him. He was never more than the Black token hero who never even raised the bar to the level of stereotype. Basically he was able to produce lightning and fly. His powers, while always lightning based, seemed to change episode to episode defying all logic and common sense as his lightning bolts would turn into whatever he needed, and even allow him to travel through time. His contribution to the Super Friends was minimal yet as a child I watched week to week waiting in vain for him to do something amazing. He never did. The only thing I can say positively about him is that he as a Black Superhero that appeared on TV while I was growing up.
Multiple action figures were made of the character but he never achieved a fan base and he never crossed over into the comics. Black Vulcan continued his career on the Super Friends cartoon until they revamped the show yet again and replaced him with another Black Superhero, Cyborg. The character disappeared into obscurity until 2004 and 2005 when he showed up years later as a parody of himself in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law show. Here's an episode of the Superfriends Black Vulcan wasn't overly terrible in:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Black, Animated, and Not Quite Human

Growing up on comics and TV, most of all the Black Superheroes had the word "Black" in their name. There was Black Panther, Black Lightning, Black Vulcan, Black Goliath, and the original Black Power Ranger to name a few. They made sure you knew who the Black ones were. Then there were these other Superheroes that everybody knew were black but that fact wasn't played up so much, maybe because they weren't exactly human. Remember Panthro from the Thundercats? Yet another Black Panther. He was the technical one. His weapons were the Nunchucks and he never seemed to get angry, preferring to kick your butt politely. No one seemed to be in a hurry to upset him though.
My personal favorite is Hong Kong Phooey. He was voiced by the irreplaceble Scatman Crothers all those years ago and Hong Kong Phooey hasn't spoken another animated word since which is a damn shame. The character wasn't too bright but he always won in the end and the people worshiped him. Even getting run over by him was an honor. Scatman also did the voice of one of the original Transforming Autobots, Jazz. He was among the first to die in the original Transformers animated movie. The character has since been redone over and over again but has always portrayed to be the essence of style and cool. Can you think of any others?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Misty Knight

The Marvel comic book character known as Misty Knight was created in the mid 70's. You could think of her as Pam Grier, with a bionic right arm. She was originally a cop but lost her arm due to a bomb explosion. It was replaced by a cybernetic version from Stark Enterprises. No longer being able to be an officer of the law she often assisted Power Man (Luke Cage) and Iron Fist in their Heroes for Hire business. She fits right in with the Blaxploitation era complete with afro and attitude. Her abilities include markswoman, martial arts, detective skills, and the strength and power of her bionic arm.  She became romantically involved with Iron Fist and has been, pretty much off and on, since the creation of her character. She has been a mercenary, private investigator, and bondswoman, and of course businesswoman, with her company Nightwing Restorations co-owned with her long time business partner and friend, Samurai, Colleen Wing.

Most, Black Superheroines, especially those from the 60's or 70's era sport the Afro, Afro puffs, or Braids. Misty Knight is no exception. She is every bit the stereotypical blacksploitation era kick-ass Black woman. It's easy to imagine that everything she's ever done in comic book could be played in live action by a young Pam Greer. She never made it to her own comic book but she has starred in plenty. She's more than once lead an all woman team as well as other teams consisting of heroes with and without powers. Some of those teams have had their own comic. There is even an action figure of her out there somewhere. Her character has changed very little over the decades. She's still around, still relevant, and still showing up powerfully in the Marvel Universe. And why not? She's smart, foxy, a good leader, ready for action, and has a mean right hook. Her story has all the elements of a good movie or at least a TV show.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ready for a Black Superman?

Icon vs. the JLAWe may soon have a Black President but is the world ready for a Black Superman? With the Milestone comics universe joining the DC family, the latter will be provided with a major Black transfusion. How will fans react? How will the heroes react? The Black character you see holding his own in the image here is named Icon. On his earth he was the closest thing to Superman but he has had to live the African-American experience over multiple generations including slavery. Like Superman, Icon is also an alien. His powers are similar except for his blasts come from his hands and not from his eyes. This character is supposed to be joining the Justice League in the coming months along with other heroes from the Milestone Comics IconUniverse. Yes they're all heroes but is this going to be an easy transition? Actually I hope not. When these heroes become part of the mainstream, the status quo should change, shouldn't it? Their presence should have an impact. I look eagerly forward to reading these new stories and will, of course, keep you posted.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


M.A.N.T.I.S.M.A.N.T.I.S. stands for Mechanically Augmented Neuro Transmitter Interactive System. It was the name of possibly the first live action Black Superhero on TV. (I'm still researching the facts on that.) Carl Lumby played the title role of a paralyzed Black scientist who created an exoskeleton that enabled him, not only to walk, but perform super heroics. The series debuted in 1994 and lasted two seasons. I never missed an episode. The character's name was Dr. Miles Hawkins and he was positive, brilliant, and anything but stereotypical. He lost his ability to walk because he was shot in the spine by a criminal. Subsequently he refused to use guns. With the help of another scientist friend, he used science and technology to fight crime. They had a top secret lab and a hover vehicle called the Chysalid. The show would be a bit cheesy by today's standards but was perfect for the time it was on TV. I don't know why it hasn't made a comeback considering all the times Robocop has which was also live action and even more cheesy. Here's a bit of video from the series pilot:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It's gotta be hard to break into comics and animation even with bucket-loads of talent. It's a good thing that doesn't stop creative people from working hard to achieve their dreams. In my own way I try to support people that create work that interests and moves me. One such work is Blokhedz which is the story of a young rapper who has the power to turn his rhymes into reality. I've heard bits and pieces about it over the last couple of years and have been really looking forward to the animated movie that is apparently now in production. It's an interesting concept and sure to appeal to the Hip Hop community if done well. If the trailer below is any indication then I think we are all in for a treat. If you like what you see then give Blokhedz your support.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Young Black Choices

I like comedy but I especially like comedy when there's a point or a good story behind it. For the record I take the subject of this blog seriously even when it's funny. During my ongoing search through the Internet for all things Black Superhero I find quite a bit of negative feelings from Black men for the lack of them in the comics and on TV. The few that were around usually presented the worst stereotypes so I get the reason for the negative feelings and I believe those feelings are warranted. There's really a lot to cover on this. I could never put all the points into one post and do them justice, hence this blog. The other day I ran into this video and thought it covered quite a bit of the issues that keep coming up in my research so I decided to include it. It's funny too. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Muhammad X

Muhammad XThis character showed up in one comic only but the story had an impact on me. Muhammad X is the name of a DC comics superhero operating out of Harlem. His name is a combination his two heroes who should be obvious. He was introduced in a Superman comic as Superman one day found his way to Harlem. Muhammad X, who apparently had density and possibly gravity powers, was angered by Superman's presence saying that Black people need Black role models and shouldn't depend on White heroes that never come to Harlem anyway. Superman was taken aback by this and went to talk to various people in his support group. After talking to Steel's niece he found out there were quite a few other Black superheroes operating that he had not heard of. (I hadn't heard of them either.) When he finally returned to talk with Muhammad X he tried to explain that he was above the color issue. The story ended with Muhammad X saying something like, "Whatever lets you sleep at night."
Obviously the character was created to make a point and rightfully that point wasn't resolved in the comic book. Whether or not the character had a secret identity we may never know. I'm not too fond of the fact that Muhammad X showed up mostly as an angry Black man but I am happy that the subject matter found its way into a mainstream comic. I have to give some credit to the writers Jeph Loeb & Geoff Johns, neither of whom are Black, for writing this story. When I read it I was more than a little suprised and had to show it to someone.