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.

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