A superhero is a hero, normally appearing in children’s comic books or cartoons and gifted with extraordinary strength and other capabilities including, at times, some magical powers too. Superheroes are normal human figures masked in their typical apparel. With the introduction of Superman in 1938, a new tradition of superheroes came into being which continues progressively till today. DC Comics and Marvel Characters got the word ‘superhero’ registered jointly on August 25, 2009.There had been some old and extremely popular superheroes like Tarzan, and they were mostly whites. However, the superheroes were not exclusively whites, but they had been blacks and coloreds too. Just as a white child feels excited while going through the adventures of a white superhero, a non-white child enjoys the deeds done by the non-white heroes.
1. El Gato Negro
The well-known comic book artist and writer Richard Dominguez created the El Gato Negro character. It was first published as El Gato Negro #1 in October,1993. The title El Gato Negro meaning ‘The Black Cat’ was taken from an abandoned colony near Pharr, Texas. The fictional story is about two warriors, Augstin and Black Cat. After being separated from a Texas battalion, Augstin was lost in a Korean forest where he met an exiled Japanese warrior named Black Cat who was an assassin and an expert in martial arts. They formed an alliance, and Black Cat trained Augstin in martial arts. Returning to Texas he found that crimes were too common and criminals were free to perform their activities. Augstin decided to utilize his skill for the betterment of the community and to fight the criminals. El Gato Negro was so popular that people in Texas believed in its existence.
2. Luke Cage
Archigood Goodwin along with the artist Johan Romita created the fictional African-American superhero Luke Cage also known as Power Man. The comic was published by Marvel Comics as ‘Luke Cage, Hero for Hire # 1.’ In an accident, he acquired great strength and an impervious skin which was as hard as steel. He was imprisoned in the Seagate Prison merely on the basis of false allegations. He succeeded to escape from the prison and offered his services to the needy for nominal or no charges at all. In partnership with the martial arts hero Iron Fist, he established a business. He used his powers only for his living.
3. Black Panther
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the first modern non-white superhero Black Panther. Marvel Comics Universe published it for the first time in July, 1988 as Fantastic Four #52. Black Panther is chief of the advanced African nation Wakanda. Panther is a hereditary title, but it still has to be earned. In the remote past, a meteorite struck Wakanda. This meteorite was made of a vibration-absorbing mineral Vibranium. The meteorite was dug out, and the old chiefs arrived for that. It was an external effort to loot Wakanda’s resources; therefore, they camouflaged their country.
Todd McFarlane created the African-American superhero, Spawn (Al Simmons) who made his first appearance in Malibu Sun #13. It was published by Image Comics and ranked 60th on the Wizard Magazine’s list of ‘Top 200 Comic Characters of All Time’ and 36th on IGN’s ‘Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.’ Albert Francis, Al Simmons, was born in Detroit, Michigan and served in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel. He was assassinated during a mission in Botswana. He was sent again to the world after his death but was weak bodied, with a weak memory, and hell spawn powers. The secret of his newly acquired powers lies in necroplasm, a dense substance which gave him superhuman speed, power, agility, and necromagic enabling him teleportation and giving life to the dead. He worked for hell against heaven.
Storm is perhaps the only or one of the few non-white superheroes or superheroines. The character was created by Len Wein who wrote the comic and Dave Cokrum who illustrated it. As Ororo Monroe, she was born to the Kenyan tribal princess and an American photographer David Munroe in New York City. At the age of six she moved to the Egyptian capital Cairo along with her parents. A fighter plane crashed there by falling onto her home killing both of her parents while she survived. Under the supervision of Lord Achmed el-Gibar and Professor X, she acquires extraordinary capabilities. Storm can control weather, can withstand great pressure, and is gifted with the power of night vision. Her abilities are lost when she is shot by a gun invented for this purpose by Henry Peter Gyrich who falls in love with her while she is unaware of the fact that Henry was the real cause of loss of her powers.
6. Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu
Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu literally means ‘the rising of the spirit’ is a superhero created by Steve Enlehart who wrote it and Jim Starlin who did the artwork. It is a Marvel Comic character and one of the very few non-white Asian superheroes. He has no supernatural or magic powers but is a master of martial arts and can fight both empty-handed as well as with traditional weapons like a nunchaku and a double-edged sword. He was born to Fu Manchu in the Hunan province of the People’s Republic of China. His father had masterminded many attempts to conquer the world. He trained his son and sent him on the mission to avenge his archenemy Sir Denis Nayland. He learned from him that Fu Manchu was evil therefore he rebelled against him.
7. Spider Man 2099
Writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko created the superhero Spider-Man which appeared first in the comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 published by Marvel Comics in August, 1962. Spider-Man is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. He has appeared in various forms of print and electronic media including newspapers, magazines, strip comics, TV shows, and movies. Spider-Man is strong, agile, and capable of clinging to any surface like a spider. His spider sense enables him to react quickly and fight the enemy, almost always to defeat him. He could climb high-rise buildings with the ease of a spider. Parents were often advised to prevent their children from trying to copy the feats of Spider-Man as they could hurt themselves.
8. Black Goliath (Bill Foster)
Stan Lee and Don Heck created the superhero Dr. Bill Foster better known as Black Goliath. He appeared for the first time in The Avengers #32 published in September ,1966. Bill Foster is an African-American superhero. He was born in Watts, Los Angeles, U.S. and worked in the research division at a Baltimore factory as a biochemist. He was hired by Dr. Pym as a laboratory assistant in his biochemical laboratory. Dr. Pym had acquired a height of 10 feet, and Bill foster helped him through his research to resume his original, normal stature. Black Goliath had the capability to grow instantly into a giant over 15 feet tall whenever he desired to. Dr. William Barret Foster, DSC, PhD was a child who, arising from the slum area, achieved the position of director in the most prestigious national laboratory in America.
9. The Falcon
The Falcon is an African-American superhero created by the writer Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan. The fictional character appeared for the first time in Captain America #117, published in September, 1969. IGN rated Falcon as the 96th greatest comic book hero. Falcon is a great trainer of wild birds and has trained Redwing who responded to Falcon’s mental commands and, along with him, fought the enemy. Falcon’s original wings were detachable and made of light metal covered with thin, solar cells. His uniform also included electric fans.
10. Bronze Tiger
Ben Turner, better known as Bronze Tiger, is a fictional superhero created by Dennis O’Neil in his novel Dragon’s Fists. Ben Turner came from an upper, middle-class black neighborhood of the central city. In his early childhood he tried to defend his parents against the attack of a burglar and tried to kill him with a kitchen knife. Later he went to the Far East and learned martial arts along with Richard Dragon. Bronze Tiger was followed by the appearance of Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter.
Comics began with an essentially happy content, but it is not so currently. It is in fact the excellence in any field or fields either possessed by inheritance or gifted by some superior power that is acquired by a focus of learning that makes one a superhero. Superheroes mostly perform in the interests of the public good, and the comics prompt the children to do something good in the interests of the people around them. Comics are, therefore, both entertaining as well as educational reading.
June 28, 2012 12:31 am
Very cool list! The Black Panther was one of my favourites.