#1 Edited by Captain13 (3262 posts) - - Show Bio

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about "How to Make Cyborg as Popular as Power Girl or Green Arrow", with the intention of showing anyone who would read it the potential that Cyborg could have in the DC universe. It seems that someone at DC paid attention, and it seems that some of my ideas will be put into use.

Now it's Marvel's turn. Marvel already has a Black popularity powerhouse in Storm, who is now on both the Avengers and the X-Men, but there's always been some sort of demand for a popular Black male hero, and in many ways Marvel has tried to capitalize on it. But I don't think that they've done it in the right way.

So what's wrong with the Black male heroes that Marvel has tried to push so far? Let's take a look:

Luke Cage

Luke Cage has seen a surge in popularity in recent years mostly due to Brian Michael Bendis's love for the character. He's been developed very well, but he'll never be an A-lister like Captain America for a few reasons. His origin is too tied to his time in jail, which racially charges the character. He's born of a blaxploitation stereotype, which make him hard for some people to accept. It also make him difficult to adapt to other forms of media. There's a reason Marvel Studios doesn't seem to be trying to include him on the Avengers franchise and why he was left off the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes series.

Miles Morales

Miles is growing into a personal favorite of mine, but experience has taught me not to get too attached. He will eventually suffer from John Stewart/War Machine-itis. Spin-off characters are always eclipsed. He'll always be in the shadow of a more popular character with a longer history. He's lucky in that he's the only Spider-Man of his universe and that, but I don't see him getting the kind of movie/cartoon push that Peter Parker or other Marvel characters have gotten unfortunately. Plus 616 is and will remain more relevant the 1610 for years to come. No one is buying 2099 books or A-Next books or AoA books anymore, are they? I'll still be buying his stories and hoping that I'm wrong though!

Black Panther

Black Panther has plenty of strengths and weaknesses as evidenced by his stream of cancelled solo books. He has a rich history. He's the only Black character who can pull off having the word "black" in his name. And his power level is just about where is should be for a team player in the Marvel Universe. He has wide name recognition across multiple media platforms, and he's got interesting abilities. His issue is in his heritage. Characters of different genders, races, and sexual orientations are created to either further a story or to appeal to a non-traditional audience. Black Panther is an American comic book character created to appeal to Blacks--mostly. But he's got qualities that make him difficult to relate to. Instead of being just African, her should have been African American like the people he was probably created to relate to. I don't think too many Africans are reading American comics in Africa. Even if they were, they couldn't relate to his highly fictionalized version of Africa. The next issue is that he's a prince. Not just a wealthy person, but also a prince. That type of thing only works if you're working with a fantasy character like Thor or Hercules. Again--not relate-able.

Falcon

The Black character with the most potential but the most obvious problems. Seriously, this situation is worse than Aquaman, but it can be redeemed! Personality-wise he's a perfect fit for the Avengers or some other super team. He's very like-able and many writers can write him well. His hurdles are his powers and costume. He can fly and communicate with birds. Really? There are so many more useful fliers and bird-talking is the complete opposite of interesting. Plus, his costume is atrocious. What he has working for him is both his hero and secret identities are well known to Marvel fans, he's like-able, he's got espionage and hand-to-hand skills, and he's a mature character. Falcon was retconned to have a criminal record but that can be ignored and it mostly has been.

So now the question is: how do we make the Falcon an A-list character?

The answer is that you don't. You make Sam Wilson an A-list character. Marvel characters trade and change identities all the time, but it doesn't make them any less popular. Look at Clint Barton (Hawkeye, Goliath, Ronin, etc.), Hank Pym (Giant-Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, etc.), and Danny Rand (Iron Fist, Daredevil). The first step is giving Sam an identity with more name recognition. I'm thinking Black Panther. This make the Black Panther more relevant and more use-able for team books. Sam has the training to take up the identity. If he's part of the Avengers, you have to find a way to further differentiate him from Captain America (the skilled fighter), Daredevil (the skilled tracker), and Hawkeye (the skilled marksmen). The answer to this is to make him the stealth guy by giving him the power to turn invisible the way he does in the 1610 universe or the way that Miles Morales can. This would open up plenty of possibilities for the Marvel Universe and the Avengers.

#2 Posted by ReVamp (22863 posts) - - Show Bio

Not Black Panther, that f**king horrible, but yes. I agree.

#3 Edited by Vance Astro (91120 posts) - - Show Bio

Black characters in the Marvel Universe aside from Black Panther kind of become popular and get recognition by association to other characters or by a well know writer taking interest.Storm is very popular but she's appeared in some of the most popular media outside of comics involving her team. Luke Cage caught the interest of the writer writing most of Marvel's most popular books and events,Miles Morales took the place of Marvel's most popular male hero and flagship character,and Marvel just simply refuses to let Black Panther fail because otherwise they have no premier black hero. His book is the longest running black series in comics save for Spawn.Not many writers seem to have any interest in Falcon and I have to admit he's kind of dry. He's not a useless character but I don't see them wasting a spot on the Avengers for him.Marvel clearly has no interest in growing any characters popularity using the Avengers..accept maybe Quake & Noh-Varr, most other characters on the team are already popular.Also if Falcon becomes Black Panther I will purposely avoid the book.

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#4 Edited by Captain13 (3262 posts) - - Show Bio

@ReVamp said:

Not Black Panther, that f**king horrible, but yes. I agree.

@Vance Astro said:

Black characters in the Marvel Universe aside from Black Panther kind of become popular and get recognition by association to other characters or by a well know writer taking interest.Storm is very popular but she's appeared in some of the most popular media outside of comics involving her team. Luke Cage caught the interest of the writer writing most of Marvel's most popular books and events,Miles Morales took the place of Marvel's most popular male hero and flagship character,and Marvel just simply refuses to let Black Panther fail because otherwise they have no premier black hero. His book is the longest running black series in comics save for Spawn.Not many writers seem to have any interest in Falcon and I have to admit he's kind of dry. He's not a useless character but I don't see them wasting a spot on the Avengers for him.Marvel clearly has no interest in growing any characters popularity using the Avengers..accept maybe Quake & Noh-Varr, most other characters on the team are already popular.Also if Falcon becomes Black Panther I will purposely avoid the book.

What about if he took about another new identity like Ronin or something?

#5 Posted by ReVamp (22863 posts) - - Show Bio

I would be fine with that, but he has to reinvent himself.

#6 Posted by CATPANEXE (9368 posts) - - Show Bio

Really he just needs to be both taken seriously and kept in a book. Brubaker was doing a fine job with him when Bucky was Cap. If a character isn't seen on a regular basis, no one knows who they are, and people who do get tired with having the character they took interest in abandoned off and on and just give up. He needs to at least be on a team book and shown doing something in almost every issue and having life drama with the other characters, again, this worked in Cap. The taking seriously part is that his Falcon motif is actually fine and workable, but they rarely work with it. Falcon for one should be an ornithologist, and this should be shown frequently. If he's going to have the bird communication power than he should use it and in expanded unique ways. His wings should be cool, unique and diverse in function and shown as such and written intelligently. Vulture is taken seriously, and more so Archangel, but in both cases the writer had to evolve and expand their abilities and make great use of them. Popular as the Hulk? Well, I would think they would have to first start climbing the hill before worrying about reaching the top in any case, and definitely stop given up and walking back down it. Jericho Drum can attest to this (sadly as he's one of my favs and they were doing great by him).

#7 Posted by ntb1124 (949 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool topic, I like the idea that you do not elevate Falcon, but instead Sam.....it could work, and after his brief run filling in as one of the other character's maye you could lead some of those fans back to a Falcon title...

#8 Posted by Vance Astro (91120 posts) - - Show Bio
@Captain13 said:

@ReVamp said:

Not Black Panther, that f**king horrible, but yes. I agree.

@Vance Astro said:

Black characters in the Marvel Universe aside from Black Panther kind of become popular and get recognition by association to other characters or by a well know writer taking interest.Storm is very popular but she's appeared in some of the most popular media outside of comics involving her team. Luke Cage caught the interest of the writer writing most of Marvel's most popular books and events,Miles Morales took the place of Marvel's most popular male hero and flagship character,and Marvel just simply refuses to let Black Panther fail because otherwise they have no premier black hero. His book is the longest running black series in comics save for Spawn.Not many writers seem to have any interest in Falcon and I have to admit he's kind of dry. He's not a useless character but I don't see them wasting a spot on the Avengers for him.Marvel clearly has no interest in growing any characters popularity using the Avengers..accept maybe Quake & Noh-Varr, most other characters on the team are already popular.Also if Falcon becomes Black Panther I will purposely avoid the book.

What about if he took about another new identity like Ronin or something?

Maybe they should just give him some actual powers.All he can do is fly.His combat skills are really mediocre too.
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#9 Posted by Grim (2079 posts) - - Show Bio

i agree that making Sam the hero is a better idea. Making him an espionage hero with a random obscure power would work. He would immediately be allot scarier, and he would only pull out the wings to get places and not as a fighting maneuver. They would be a thing in his arsenal, and not his major costume point.

Codename:Falcon. That would be awesome.

#10 Posted by Video_Martian (5645 posts) - - Show Bio

I've always liked Luke Cage. And I would def like to see more of Falcon.

#11 Posted by progenitor (7532 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Blue Marvel?

#12 Posted by Deadcool (6809 posts) - - Show Bio

616 Falcon has a HORRIBLE SUIT, that is all they need to change on him, because I love Ultimate Falcon, currently he is back with the Ultimates =)

#13 Posted by coolbeans (253 posts) - - Show Bio

I just can't see the Falcon being taken seriously by readers. He's just not that cool and even with a new identity it would take years of integration into Avengers books to change people's perspective of him. I honestly don't think Marvel is doing too bad with Luke Cage. He's not the greatest hero on the planet, but he stays involved within the Marvel Universe and has decent leadership qualities.

#14 Edited by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

I was reading Falcon from in the story ark X-Men fall of the mutants which happened during the late 80's and read the recent issues where cable battles the avengers. Falcon has stayed the some for years now. . He's powers aren't nearly as interesting as Archangel nor isn't he very popular.

They need to develop him more, give him a buff please.

#15 Posted by A-Strondinaire (370 posts) - - Show Bio

@coolbeans:I agree, I just don't see Falcon as salvageable as Luke Cage was. The only way I could see anybody take him seriously would be if he took over Cap's mantle, get better powers, or see him take down (or at least wear down) Thor, Hulk, Thing or Juggernaut 1-on-1 then maybe, but until then he won't be anymore cooler then Ken the Eagle for more on that reference seek Tatsunoko V.s Capcom and play as him...

#16 Posted by Zhakaraz (81 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't agree that Miles will always be under Peters shadow.

#17 Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg (2213 posts) - - Show Bio

@captain13: I'm pretty sure Falcon is going to get a major popularity boost after Captain America 2 comes out.

#18 Edited by JediXMan (29589 posts) - - Show Bio

He might become popular after Captain America 2, but let's face it: he's still pretty boring.

#19 Posted by Experio (14200 posts) - - Show Bio

He has cool powers, but his personality makes him uninteresting.

#20 Posted by RogueShadow (9956 posts) - - Show Bio
#21 Posted by Guardiandevil83 (5290 posts) - - Show Bio

Its simple. Have him actually show us why Cap believes in him. He has some poses where he looks badass. Make him be badass.

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#22 Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg (2213 posts) - - Show Bio
#23 Posted by Yung ANcient One (4601 posts) - - Show Bio

Luke Cage

There's a reason Marvel Studios doesn't seem to be trying to include him on the Avengers franchise and why he was left off the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes series.

Miles Morales

Miles is growing into a personal favorite of mine, but experience has taught me not to get too attached. He will eventually suffer from John Stewart/War Machine-itis. Spin-off characters are always eclipsed. He'll always be in the shadow of a more popular character with a longer history. He's lucky in that he's the only Spider-Man of his universe and that, but I don't see him getting the kind of movie/cartoon push that Peter Parker or other Marvel characters have gotten unfortunately. Plus 616 is and will remain more relevant the 1610 for years to come. No one is buying 2099 books or A-Next books or AoA books anymore, are they? I'll still be buying his stories and hoping that I'm wrong though!

Black Panther

His issue is in his heritage. Characters of different genders, races, and sexual orientations are created to either further a story or to appeal to a non-traditional audience. Black Panther is an American comic book character created to appeal to Blacks--mostly. But he's got qualities that make him difficult to relate to. Instead of being just African, her should have been African American like the people he was probably created to relate to. I don't think too many Africans are reading American comics in Africa. Even if they were, they couldn't relate to his highly fictionalized version of Africa. The next issue is that he's a prince. Not just a wealthy person, but also a prince. That type of thing only works if you're working with a fantasy character like Thor or Hercules. Again--not relate-able.

Falcon

The Black character with the most potential but the most obvious problems. Seriously, this situation is worse than Aquaman, but it can be redeemed! Personality-wise he's a perfect fit for the Avengers or some other super team. He's very like-able and many writers can write him well. His hurdles are his powers and costume. He can fly and communicate with birds. Really? There are so many more useful fliers and bird-talking is the complete opposite of interesting. Plus, his costume is atrocious. What he has working for him is both his hero and secret identities are well known to Marvel fans, he's like-able, he's got espionage and hand-to-hand skills, and he's a mature character. Falcon was retconned to have a criminal record but that can be ignored and it mostly has been.

So now the question is: how do we make the Falcon an A-list character?

The answer is that you don't. You make Sam Wilson an A-list character. Marvel characters trade and change identities all the time, but it doesn't make them any less popular. Look at Clint Barton (Hawkeye, Goliath, Ronin, etc.), Hank Pym (Giant-Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, etc.), and Danny Rand (Iron Fist, Daredevil). The first step is giving Sam an identity with more name recognition. I'm thinking Black Panther. This make the Black Panther more relevant and more use-able for team books. Sam has the training to take up the identity. If he's part of the Avengers, you have to find a way to further differentiate him from Captain America (the skilled fighter), Daredevil (the skilled tracker), and Hawkeye (the skilled marksmen). The answer to this is to make him the stealth guy by giving him the power to turn invisible the way he does in the 1610 universe or the way that Miles Morales can. This would open up plenty of possibilities for the Marvel Universe and the Avengers.

I. Luke Cage was in Avengers EMH's. And, he is getting his own Netflix series.

II. I believe Morales can become a top tier hero. The same way you said Sam Wilson should change his identity, Morales needs to change his identity. Grass Spider, Cross Spider, Insert Color Spider, Water Spider, Cave Spider, something... He may always come short compared to Parker but that doesn't mean he can't beat Thor, Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, and etc.

III. I don't believe Black Panther's heritage will diminish the characters chance of popularity. I fail to see how only characters like Thor and Herc can pull off being princes but not T'Challa. T'Challa needs to be promoted as a Leader of a Nation and not so much the title he holds. They should promote how hard of a worker he is and not the title he holds. A dedicated worker having a strong sense of heritage, who has genuine love for his community can be relatable. They need to promote that aspect of T'Challa rather than the title he holds.

IV. Falcon can be popular with his Falcon identity he doesn't need to take away Black Panthers title. Plus, it would destroy the history of the title Black Panther to give it to Sam Wilson. The title of Black Panther is very important to the Wakanda nation and outsiders have been forbidden for years. If you want Falcon to change his identity he can be Black Tiger, Black Spider, Black Bison, Black Hawk, but not Black Panther.

(+)

#24 Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg (2213 posts) - - Show Bio

@captain13: Looking at your list, I don't think Black Panther's biggest problem is heritage. People are able to accept movies like Life of Pi or Hotel Rwanda which features aspects of other cultures in it. Black Panther's biggest problem is his name, which is also associated with the Black Panther Party. Ignorant moviegoers won't know if they are related or not. I can even picture Fox News ranting over it.

#25 Posted by jwalser3 (4796 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't see how him being in a movie will make him any cooler. He's just a boring character.

#26 Posted by jwalser3 (4796 posts) - - Show Bio