With Black Panther’s recent and massive success, it’s the perfect time to shed some light on some of the melanin superheroes out here saving the world and doing it for The Culture.
Repping Kenya, Cairo and Harlem, a true definition of beauty and grace, Ororo Munroe is both one of the most popular and most powerful women in comics. Her powers are her ability to control the weather and flying. She is considered by many to be the Wonder Woman of Marvel and during a crossover event between the two comic book companies they were pit against each other one-on-one with Storm coming out on top! Smart, compassionate and a leader, she has an air of regal-ness to her that demands respect from everyone she crosses paths with.
King. Genius. Expert fighter. Richest man in the Marvel Universe (take that Tony Stark), and owner of one of the biggest movies of all-time. He sets the bar for superheroes of any color. He also married Storm. Need I really say more?
Though she’s just a kid, Lunella Lafayette is the smartest person on Earth. Not one of, but THE smartest. She is part human and part (ancient race) Inhuman and along with her vast intelligence she’s a top-notch inventor. One of the gadgets she creates opens a portal to Dinosaur World and she winds up becoming best friends with the monstrous Devil Dinosaur who aids her in her adventures. How cool is that? Plus she stays rocking an afro-puff for The Culture.
Half man, half vampire, all boss. Blade is just dope. He looks cool when he fights and even though he is a man of few words, he’s always either darkly poignant or darkly humorous. He had a nice run in the late 90’s early 00’s as arguably the most famous black superhero thanks to his movie trilogy starring Wesley Snipes. Fun fact: Blade is also technically the father of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his debut film was the first good Marvel movie. Respect.
What happened when Marvel was looking to replace their iconic Peter Parker as Spiderman? In one of the most shocking comic book developments of all-time, they came up with a half black, half Spanish teenager named Miles Morales. Miles was meet with much skepticism in the beginning but thanks to his wit, intelligence, and commitment to doing what’s right he quickly won over his naysayers and gave The Culture a face and voice through one of the most famous comic book characters of all-time.
Created in 1993 by black-owned comic book company Milestone Comics, Static is a teenager with (as his name would imply) electromagnetic powers. Real name Vigil Hawkins (named after a black man denied entrance into the Univ. of Florida law school in 1949) Static is a bit nerdy and a little awkward but once he assumes his super identity, he’s confident, witty, and just plain cool. Plus he gets around on a dope flying disk. As an creation from the 90’s, having an cult hit carton series, and being one of the few “mainstream” black superheroes actually created by a group of African-Americans, Static has a special place in the hearts of many a blerd.
Didn’t know Harriet Tubman was a superhero? Of course she is! Both in real life and in a new comic book series Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer. The historical figure Harriet Tubman is turned into a mix of Django and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. In the comic she’s a formidable ninja warrior so renowned and feared by slave owners they call on the help of vampires, werewolves, witches, and even demons to try and stop her from leading a family of slaves to freedom. This ingenious idea was started by young African-American writer through Kickstater and issue #1 released to rave reviews in the Spring of 2017.
Riri is a 15-year-old genius MIT engineering student who working alone, designs a suit of armor similar to the Iron Man armor that is so impressive Tony Stark himself has to see it for himself and immediately co-signs her as the new superhero Ironheart. She has persevered through several family tragedies using her will/drive and intelligence to accomplish great things at a young age. She is relatively new to the Marvel Universe but she is already a fan favorite serving as a great role model for young girls of color and has the potential to be a megastar superhero. Fun fact: Riri’s original character design is based on the real-life actress Skai Jackson.
Highly intelligent as well (notice a pattern here?), Victor Stone aka Cyborg is a slept on character that certainly deserves more props. He’s part-man, part robot (a cyborg) who was saved by his father and turned into this cyborg which gives rise to his conflicting emotions about his father and what he himself has become that all add to the depth and complexity of his character. And then he can do all kinds of crazy things like transform his limbs into giant sonic cannons or use his internal computer systems to interface with virtually any computer in the world. A Teen Titan turned full-fledged member of the Justice League, Cyborg has been a part of many of the biggest events in DC comics and always holds his own.
Luke Cage/Misty Knight
This may technically be cheating but hey you know what’s better than 10 great black superheroes? 11 great black superheroes! Luke Cage and Misty Knight run the same streets of New York fighting corruption for The Culture. Cage was the first black superhero to be featured as the protagonist and title character of a comic book. He evolved from a Blaxploitation type character into a social justice warrior. He has super strength and impenetrable skin and his mission is to protect his neighborhood and do what’s right. Misty is no joke either. A cop, turned private investigator with a proud afro and a bionic arm courtesy of Ironman himself. If she’s on your case, you’re in serious trouble. Together they are two of the most down to earth and relatable superheroes in all of comics.
Written by @TalentedMrFord