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#1 Posted by Orpheus09 (4 posts) - - Show Bio

There was something legit about the Falcon. Cyborg, too, I’ll admit--but both are apositives to the points I’m about to make. For now let’s focus on the former; amongst a sea of half-baked, fill-a-need negro heroes, the Falcon as Marvel’s first African-American (1969) was not portrayed as stiltedly "funky" or "soulful." Although often put up as a sidekick, he was not “Uncle Tom-ed” in any way; laboring with grim vigor alongside legendary white-breads like Captain America and Moon Knight, his detective work was insight-driven and could easily have stolen top billing from lesser mainstays.

The idea of needing to incorporate “soul,” funkiness, a love of voodoo or an outright stamp of the word “black” as all-around moniker prefix is at best apologist and at worst sardonic. Either way it smells—of fear. You don’t hear Yellow Sunfire, Yellow Psylocke, Captain Shinto or Mistress Zen.

DC Comics seems to have the greatest antebellum tendencies, populating their fields with Black Lightening, Black Racer, Black Spider, Black Vulcan, Blackwing, Black Thunder, Black Eagle, Pantha, Muhammad X, Harlem Hammer—ad infinitum. Marvel, Image and the rest of the lads follow trend with offerings such as Black Samson, Black Goliath, Black Panther, Midnight Sun, Night Thrasher, Nightwatch, Blacklight, Nighthawk, Black Badge, Black Rapier; Darkhorse’s… crack urban justice squad the Homeboys (led by Sistah’ Voodoo) is where things seem to get obviously debasive.

Creators seem to run into the same conundrum ad infinitum. Too much funk/soul or too little power and it comes as a slag—a short-dreaded, weak-willed hippity-hoppin’ Static is always getting smashed. Too much mojo and it’s rejected by readers as unrealistic—imagine a black Superman or Captain Marvel. No… Black Adam is… white.

I don’t think creators are ready to quit trying, and I know balanced characters are out there. My question to you is: Who are they? Who are the African super heroes who don’t come off stylistically ridiculous and whose powers seem credible. Which are likeable and which will endure? Which are paying lip-service to the man and which are marking the path for their own legends?

xoxoO

Orpheus Nine von Megakrieger.

#2 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

black panther and john stewart, cyborg & storm.

#3 Posted by ratman19 (525 posts) - - Show Bio

i hate how alot of black superheroes have "black" in their name.

#4 Posted by Funrush (1369 posts) - - Show Bio

@ratman19 said:

i hate how alot of black superheroes have "black" in their name.

Yeah, it's different for heroes like Black Panther, where he's a black panther and Black Lightning, which has Black for no reason.

#5 Edited by Twentyfive (2405 posts) - - Show Bio

Luke Cage is the worst kind of black superhero there is imo. I don't like him that much.

Whereas other heroes would save the day for nothing more than a "Thanks", Luke Cage adopted the moniker of "Hero for Hire". Meaning "I won't save you, the neighborhood, or the world unless you pay me". For goodness' sake, there was a storyline where Luke Cage went to Latveria to get $200 that was owed to him by Doctor Doom.

But he was created during the blaxploitation era. How Hollywood execs thought they saw black people.

I think Luke Cage has gotten better since then, but still, I don't like the history behind the character.

#6 Posted by Strafe Prower (11572 posts) - - Show Bio

@Funrush: Actually, Black Lightning has actually shot black electricity, so that is one explanation.

#7 Edited by TheBigRedCheese (372 posts) - - Show Bio

I guess someone imagined a world with a black Superman and a black Captain Marvel.

I'm guessing if you want a black character done right get a black person to do it.

Black Lightning and Vixen are my favorite black superheroes, but I'll probably go with Spawn. I know folks who don't even read comics talk about how awesome Al Simmons is.

#8 Posted by Twentyfive (2405 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheBigRedCheese: A great idea. They did get a black guy to do Mr. Terrific, but it was a random person who never wrote for comics before. We know what happened there. DC should get Christopher Priest, or someone with a history in comics or literature.

There is even a book over at image called Vescell, written by a black guy, and stars a black guy. It was his first comic in the industry, but it has been great. DC should have chosen someone who was in the industry.

Also, I am sad to say that it is more likely to see a book featuring all the Robins in one team before we see another solo black-led book. DC officially acquired the entire Milestone line some years ago, and has no clue what to do with it. Shame...

#9 Posted by mettlekm (417 posts) - - Show Bio

a better question might be who are the African American creators/writers/artists?

#10 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1777 posts) - - Show Bio

@mettlekm said:

a better question might be who are the African American creators/writers/artists?

This. I can't think of any black creators in the industry... if anyone knows of any, I'd be interested in learning about them.

#11 Posted by TheBigRedCheese (372 posts) - - Show Bio

@Twentyfive: This is just my opinion, but I think DC seems to have a lot of trouble with most characters they acquire. The Watchmen seem to be more popular than the Charlton character's they were based off of, the Marvel family haven't quite been themselves and I can't remember the last time I seen Plastic Man.

#12 Posted by Twentyfive (2405 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheBigRedCheese:Aww man. Plastic man... A real shame.

@Imagine_Man15 said:

@mettlekm said:

a better question might be who are the African American creators/writers/artists?

This. I can't think of any black creators in the industry... if anyone knows of any, I'd be interested in learning about them.

There are certainly more artists than there are writers. Writers include Christopher Priest, Reggie Hudlin, both of which wrote for Black Panther, and Enrique Carrion. Carrion wrote Vescell for image pretty recently, and it's great, and funny.

The artist for Valiant's Harbinger is black. A black artist worked on "The Darkness" for a good while. Another artist is Denys Cowan who was in the industry for a long time, and he's still around. And Jamal Igle who worked with DC comics, and is releasing a book for all-ages soon.

#13 Posted by Vance Astro (90726 posts) - - Show Bio
@mettlekm said:

a better question might be who are the African American creators/writers/artists?

You can actually just google that and get the answer.
Moderator
#14 Posted by mettlekm (417 posts) - - Show Bio

@Twentyfive: Thank you for the knowledge. I will give Vescell a try.

#15 Posted by daredevil21134 (9033 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheBigRedCheese said:

I guess someone imagined a world with a black Superman and a black Captain Marvel.

I'm guessing if you want a black character done right get a black person to do it.

Black Lightning and Vixen are my favorite black superheroes, but I'll probably go with Spawn. I know folks who don't even read comics talk about how awesome Al Simmons is.

Spawn is awsome.But i'll go with Blade

#16 Posted by Blood1991 (8098 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Storm has done the best job of overcoming the race barrier in comics, but her ethnicity was never mentioned she was a mutant not a black woman. Her skin color was just there it was never a defining aspect of her character. However, several black superheroes are popular and sucessful and have earned their place in their respective universes.

#17 Posted by TheBigRedCheese (372 posts) - - Show Bio

@daredevil21134: What are some good Blade comics? I've read his MAX series and enjoyed two of the character's films. I wouldn't mind checking out some good Blade comics.

#18 Posted by Vance Astro (90726 posts) - - Show Bio
@TheBigRedCheese said:

@daredevil21134: What are some good Blade comics? I've read his MAX series and enjoyed two of the character's films. I wouldn't mind checking out some good Blade comics.

Good and Blade comics don't belong in the same sentence. Blade comics are garbage. Just a bunch of wasted potential. 
 
@Blood1991 said:

I think Storm has done the best job of overcoming the race barrier in comics, but her ethnicity was never mentioned she was a mutant not a black woman. Her skin color was just there it was never a defining aspect of her character. However, several black superheroes are popular and sucessful and have earned their place in their respective universes.

I agree with this. Also with whomever said Spawn.
Moderator
#19 Posted by NlGHTCRAWLER (2887 posts) - - Show Bio

Mother's Milk.

#20 Posted by daredevil21134 (9033 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheBigRedCheese said:

@daredevil21134: What are some good Blade comics? I've read his MAX series and enjoyed two of the character's films. I wouldn't mind checking out some good Blade comics.

Read some of his appearances in MI 13 its good stuff.He dosen't have very good solo stuff

#21 Posted by TheBigRedCheese (372 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro: I mentioned Spawn earlier. No good Blade comics, that's disappointing.

#22 Posted by daredevil21134 (9033 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheBigRedCheese said:

@Vance Astro: I mentioned Spawn earlier. No good Blade comics, that's disappointing.

Unfortunately,but his appearances in MI 13 are good

#23 Posted by TheBigRedCheese (372 posts) - - Show Bio

@daredevil21134: I'm surprised to hear Blade doesn't have much going for him outside a couple of films.

#24 Posted by daredevil21134 (9033 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheBigRedCheese said:

@daredevil21134: I'm surprised to hear Blade doesn't have much going for him outside a couple of films.

Marvel dosen't seem to care about him much.I would love for him to get a series with a writer who cares about him.

#25 Posted by TheBigRedCheese (372 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, I think the same thing when it comes to DC and a couple of their characters. I'd like to see Nomak in a comic. He reminds me of Count Orlok for some reason.

#26 Edited by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

i like aqualad from young justice he pretty cool and badass.

#27 Posted by daredevil21134 (9033 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheBigRedCheese said:

Yeah, I think the same thing when it comes to DC and a couple of their characters. I'd like to see Nomak in a comic. He reminds me of Count Orlok for some reason.

Nomack was cool

#28 Posted by fodigg (6094 posts) - - Show Bio

I think of:

I was never a big fan of characters like Black Lightning, Shilo Norman, or Jakeem Thunder--and Icon and Hardware seem like straight knockoffs--but I do have to say I like what the Young Justice cartoon has done with Rocket and Aqualad, and I'm also a big fan of the new 52 Batwing title. Sure, some of the names I mention above had some blaxsploitation elements to them, especially in their earlier appearances, but I think they've all grown into fantastic characters.

#29 Posted by Orpheus09 (4 posts) - - Show Bio

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Storm is not African American. Black, yes, but she has what somehow seems to serve as an ennobling point to her back story in that she, like T'Challa/Black Panther, is originally from Africa. She's not forced to deal with the "typical" race boundaries or questions of how she came up. It seems creators feel that if some "overcome" or "triumph over adversary" element is lacking in an African American hero's backstory that it is somehow a cop out. This is not UNIVERSALLY true, but in-the-main, yes. Can anyone name a AA character who came from a wealthy/affluent/Bruce Wayne background? Black Panther was a king, Storm a minor goddess... but if you're born in America? What? It has to be the tough lessons of the streets a la Luke Cage?

#30 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

Orpheus09 has avery valid point about minorties superheroes origin. i guess it hard to creating a believable and interesting backstory for a character.

#31 Posted by Mutant God (2998 posts) - - Show Bio

War Machine, Mr. Terrific, Oya, Movie Catwoman (they could something with her in comics), Patriot

#32 Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7 (1005 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

I think of:

I was never a big fan of characters like Black Lightning, Shilo Norman, or Jakeem Thunder--and Icon and Hardware seem like straight knockoffs--but I do have to say I like what the Young Justice cartoon has done with Rocket and Aqualad, and I'm also a big fan of the new 52 Batwing title. Sure, some of the names I mention above had some blaxsploitation elements to them, especially in their earlier appearances, but I think they've all grown into fantastic characters.

This is a real good list. Completely agree.

@Orpheus09 said:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Storm is not African American. Black, yes, but she has what somehow seems to serve as an ennobling point to her back story in that she, like T'Challa/Black Panther, is originally from Africa. She's not forced to deal with the "typical" race boundaries or questions of how she came up. It seems creators feel that if some "overcome" or "triumph over adversary" element is lacking in an African American hero's backstory that it is somehow a cop out. This is not UNIVERSALLY true, but in-the-main, yes. Can anyone name a AA character who came from a wealthy/affluent/Bruce Wayne background? Black Panther was a king, Storm a minor goddess... but if you're born in America? What? It has to be the tough lessons of the streets a la Luke Cage?

Good point. I really can't name a AA character that is similar to Bruce Wayne. I think this is sometimes a problem with minorities in fiction. Writers tend to try to make characters relatable, or sometimes a vehicle for their political opinions, that they tend to forget that a big reason why people gravitate to fiction is for escapism.

#33 Edited by Twentyfive (2405 posts) - - Show Bio

First of all, I think this is another good opportunity to thank author Judd Winick for his stellar first arc of Batwing. I honestly do believe that it is in the same calibre of storytelling as the Batman series is, and maybe that's just me. His book also challenged an entire medium, which fails time and again to cater to a broader demographic by highlighting heroes that look like them. Batwing's first arc took place in Africa, and just that setting alone helped to provide an amount of emotion I hardly read in comics these days. If you look at all the problems on that continent, and sprinkle some superheroes in the mix, you will see that there are truly compelling stories that can be told with African/Black characters. I encourage anyone to pick it up, and see what I'm talking about.

Now....The problem with the comic industry is not that we don't have many black characters. I think that the main problem is that comic readers are afraid of embracing the characters because it is not what they're used to seeing. As a side effect of failure to gain the interest of readership, the books are canceled, and good characters like Static will remain in comic book hell. Also, the failure of black books can also be traced to a larger gripe I have with the comic book industry, and that is among the superhero subgenre, nobody wants the stories, and the characters to progress.

People will always expect Hal Jordan to be THE Green Lantern because that is who they are used to seeing, because again, the people don't want to see anyone but him. It is a perpetuating cycle that will end up destroying the validity of the industry. People don't want to see Cyborg elevate to the status of "Big 7" because they want the lineup they grew up with. The black Invincible enraged fans when he was first unveiled, If you go scouring around, you will see that these issues aren't mere coincidences, and they actually indeed transcend the race topic. Whenever there is a major change in comics, the readers go up in arms, and demand things go back to the way they were, and worse than that, the publishers conform to such stupid demands. The problem with that is that 50, 60 years from now, kids are going to be reading Green Lantern stories (new stories, may I add) about the Origin of Hal Jordan. People in the year 2070 will be reading again about how Peter Parker got bitten by a spider, and lost his girlfriend to the Green Goblin.

The people who hold down the comic industry are indeed the very people that the industry is catering to, and that must come to a stop. But judging by the comments I see on this and other websites, that may never happen.

#34 Posted by laflux (11020 posts) - - Show Bio

Not trying to be racist but isn't rage just an angry big black man.

P.S I'm black myself.

#35 Posted by Enosisik (1153 posts) - - Show Bio

Falcon actually started out as a reformed pimp lmao he was pretty funky at the time. They did a good job making him into a legit hero over time tho..

#36 Posted by Video_Martian (5631 posts) - - Show Bio

Luke Cage and Cyborg are awesome...

#37 Posted by ratman19 (525 posts) - - Show Bio

i think john stewart green lantern should be the green lantern thats in the justice league because nobody like Hal Jordan

#38 Posted by fodigg (6094 posts) - - Show Bio

@JoseDRiveraTCR7 said:

@Orpheus09 said:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Storm is not African American. Black, yes, but she has what somehow seems to serve as an ennobling point to her back story in that she, like T'Challa/Black Panther, is originally from Africa. She's not forced to deal with the "typical" race boundaries or questions of how she came up. It seems creators feel that if some "overcome" or "triumph over adversary" element is lacking in an African American hero's backstory that it is somehow a cop out. This is not UNIVERSALLY true, but in-the-main, yes. Can anyone name a AA character who came from a wealthy/affluent/Bruce Wayne background? Black Panther was a king, Storm a minor goddess... but if you're born in America? What? It has to be the tough lessons of the streets a la Luke Cage?

Good point. I really can't name a AA character that is similar to Bruce Wayne. I think this is sometimes a problem with minorities in fiction. Writers tend to try to make characters relatable, or sometimes a vehicle for their political opinions, that they tend to forget that a big reason why people gravitate to fiction is for escapism.

Well, the mentor character in Batwing came from an affluent family..albeit a criminal one. What were Michael Holt's origins? He's introduced as an industrialist but I don't know what his parents work. Same thing for Steel come to think of it.

#39 Posted by fodigg (6094 posts) - - Show Bio

@Enosisik said:

Falcon actually started out as a reformed pimp lmao he was pretty funky at the time. They did a good job making him into a legit hero over time tho..

I was never much into Falcon. He seemed kinda lame to me. He's got a glider and he can talk to birds? Hooray.

That said, I'm excited to see what they do with him in the upcoming Avengers film. I'm kind of hoping that they'll go the "shield agent" route and make him the new Coulson. Although some might argue Maria Hill is the new Coulson.

#40 Posted by BatWatch (2332 posts) - - Show Bio

(slow claps whole article)

I do have one exception to your points. Though DC does throw "Black" in front of a lot of their heroes, it bears consideration that DC throws colors into their names a lot. Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Red Robin, Green Arrow...need I continue? Also, saying Yellow Jubilee is not the same things as saying Black Lightning because Black is not inherently derogatory. Black is often used with non-racist overtones, but I don't know many Asians that call themselves yellow. However, I agree with the essence of your article.

How about Alex Wilder as good, non-stereotypical villain?

#41 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

@Twentyfive said:

First of all, I think this is another good opportunity to thank author Judd Winick for his stellar first arc of Batwing. I honestly do believe that it is in the same calibre of storytelling as the Batman series is, and maybe that's just me. His book also challenged an entire medium, which fails time and again to cater to a broader demographic by highlighting heroes that look like them. Batwing's first arc took place in Africa, and just that setting alone helped to provide an amount of emotion I hardly read in comics these days. If you look at all the problems on that continent, and sprinkle some superheroes in the mix, you will see that there are truly compelling stories that can be told with African/Black characters. I encourage anyone to pick it up, and see what I'm talking about.

Now....The problem with the comic industry is not that we don't have many black characters. I think that the main problem is that comic readers are afraid of embracing the characters because it is not what they're used to seeing. As a side effect of failure to gain the interest of readership, the books are canceled, and good characters like Static will remain in comic book hell. Also, the failure of black books can also be traced to a larger gripe I have with the comic book industry, and that is among the superhero subgenre, nobody wants the stories, and the characters to progress.

People will always expect Hal Jordan to be THE Green Lantern because that is who they are used to seeing, because again, the people don't want to see anyone but him. It is a perpetuating cycle that will end up destroying the validity of the industry. People don't want to see Cyborg elevate to the status of "Big 7" because they want the lineup they grew up with. The black Invincible enraged fans when he was first unveiled, If you go scouring around, you will see that these issues aren't mere coincidences, and they actually indeed transcend the race topic. Whenever there is a major change in comics, the readers go up in arms, and demand things go back to the way they were, and worse than that, the publishers conform to such stupid demands. The problem with that is that 50, 60 years from now, kids are going to be reading Green Lantern stories (new stories, may I add) about the Origin of Hal Jordan. People in the year 2070 will be reading again about how Peter Parker got bitten by a spider, and lost his girlfriend to the Green Goblin.

The people who hold down the comic industry are indeed the very people that the industry is catering to, and that must come to a stop. But judging by the comments I see on this and other websites, that may never happen.

quoted for truth

#42 Posted by gravitypress (2069 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked:

Photon ( She led the Avengers for a while.)

Bishop (He was cool.)

Storm ( She is African and lived in America.)

Falcon ( I like Falcon. But I might be alone.)

#43 Posted by Enosisik (1153 posts) - - Show Bio

@http://www.comicvine.com/myvine/fodigg/ ... Lol yeah Falcon has never been the most popular of heroes but I grew up as a big Cap fan so Falcon just automatically gets onto my list of characters that I like. I agree he doesn't stand out or have anything special going on for him and I really wish he would have been given a bigger push as a Cap replacement .

#44 Posted by Twentyfive (2405 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mega_spidey01: I am glad that you read my whole comment. I know that other people may dismiss it as a rant, but I am glad that at least you took the time to go through it, and understand my problems. Much appreciated.

#45 Posted by Queso6p4 (1411 posts) - - Show Bio

Bookmarked this thread. This is a very good topic to bring up and I like everyone's input thus far.

#46 Posted by Queso6p4 (1411 posts) - - Show Bio

Bookmarked this thread. This is a very good topic to bring up and I like everyone's input thus far.

@Twentyfive said:

First of all, I think this is another good opportunity to thank author Judd Winick for his stellar first arc of Batwing. I honestly do believe that it is in the same calibre of storytelling as the Batman series is, and maybe that's just me. His book also challenged an entire medium, which fails time and again to cater to a broader demographic by highlighting heroes that look like them. Batwing's first arc took place in Africa, and just that setting alone helped to provide an amount of emotion I hardly read in comics these days. If you look at all the problems on that continent, and sprinkle some superheroes in the mix, you will see that there are truly compelling stories that can be told with African/Black characters. I encourage anyone to pick it up, and see what I'm talking about.

Now....The problem with the comic industry is not that we don't have many black characters. I think that the main problem is that comic readers are afraid of embracing the characters because it is not what they're used to seeing. As a side effect of failure to gain the interest of readership, the books are canceled, and good characters like Static will remain in comic book hell. Also, the failure of black books can also be traced to a larger gripe I have with the comic book industry, and that is among the superhero subgenre, nobody wants the stories, and the characters to progress.

People will always expect Hal Jordan to be THE Green Lantern because that is who they are used to seeing, because again, the people don't want to see anyone but him. It is a perpetuating cycle that will end up destroying the validity of the industry. People don't want to see Cyborg elevate to the status of "Big 7" because they want the lineup they grew up with. The black Invincible enraged fans when he was first unveiled, If you go scouring around, you will see that these issues aren't mere coincidences, and they actually indeed transcend the race topic. Whenever there is a major change in comics, the readers go up in arms, and demand things go back to the way they were, and worse than that, the publishers conform to such stupid demands. The problem with that is that 50, 60 years from now, kids are going to be reading Green Lantern stories (new stories, may I add) about the Origin of Hal Jordan. People in the year 2070 will be reading again about how Peter Parker got bitten by a spider, and lost his girlfriend to the Green Goblin.

The people who hold down the comic industry are indeed the very people that the industry is catering to, and that must come to a stop. But judging by the comments I see on this and other websites, that may never happen.

Hear, hear! Unfortunately, as you've pointed out, given the overall nature of the comic audience (inability to deal with/accept change), the necessary changes that would propel the industry into greater things and help it evolve aren't going to happen. Perhaps never, and that's just sad given how rich of a history the hobby has.

#47 Posted by Twentyfive (2405 posts) - - Show Bio

@Queso6p4: Thank you very much for reading and understanding my comment. I thought it would be too long to generate anyone's interest. Sometimes, the sheer bulk of a comment can turn someone off, but I am very glad that you read it.

#48 Posted by Crom-Cruach (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mega_spidey01 said:

Orpheus09 has avery valid point about minorties superheroes origin. i guess it hard to creating a believable and interesting backstory for a character.

It's not that hard, as long as race is not the focal point of the character unless you are writing about racism.

#49 Posted by Swagger462 (354 posts) - - Show Bio

I've actually been thinking about making a comic just for fun about this exact topic. Too bad I can't write or draw. Haha.

#50 Posted by Enosisik (1153 posts) - - Show Bio

It's not just black characters that are treated with stereotypes . Almost every Asian is a Kung Fu artist , almost every native american is a shaman or Warpath type . It's just that stereotypes are expected . I see nothing wrong with using them as long as it's in good taste .