The first black female superheroes were trendsetters and mold-breakers. Strong, intelligent, and fierce women who literally changed the face of an industry. Check out the first 5 black female superheroes, many of which are still going strong to this day!
5. Vixen (1981)
Mari McCabe aka Vixen is an African born model by day, superhero by night. She debuted in Action Comics #521 from DC Comics in July of 1981. Vixen is able to use an ancient African artifact (the Tantu Totem) that allows her to harness the spirit of any animal and use their abilities. She was originally intended to be DC’s first African female hero to star in her own series. Unfortunately industry politics stopped that from happening. Instead she has featured in multiple books as part of the Justice League and the Suicide Squad.
4. Bumblebee (1976)
Bumble debuted as her alter ego Karen Beecher, love interest to DC Comic’s first black superhero, The Herald (aka Mal Duncan). She first appeared in Teen Titans #45 in December of 1976 before showing off her superhero talents three issues later. A certified genius, she created her own supersuit which allows her to fly, shoot sonic blasts, and even shrink. She eventually married Herald making them comic’s first official black super-couple.
3. Misty Knight (1975)
Mercedes “Misty” Knight is a former NYPD detective turned private eye who first appeared in Marvel Premiere #21 in March of 1975. A martial arts master with a bionic arm, Misty was inspired by blaxploitation heroines like Pam Grier and is most famously known for her action packed adventures with Luke Cage and Iron Fist. She has also co-starred in her own series Daughters of the Dragon with her PI partner Colleen Wing. #FunFact: Her first bioninc arm was created by Tony Stark (Iron Man) and she later received an Vibranium updated version from T’Challa (Black Panther).
2. Storm (1975)
Arguably the most famous black superhero period. Ororo Munroe has been worshiped as a literal African Goddess. She appeared in the first issue of X-Men (Giant-Size X-Men #1) in May of 1975. Storm has the ability to fly and control the weather. She is also considered one of the most powerful characters in all of Marvel. Storm was even pitted against DC’s top female heroine Wonder Woman and emerged victorious winning the fan poll that determined the winner. She may not be the first but Storm is as important a black superhero (male or female) that has ever been created.
HONORABLE MENTION – Eartha Kitt as Catwoman
Before we reveal the first black female superhero ever, we have to give a special shoutout. In 1967, before any black female graced a comic book page, Eartha Kitt donned the skintight suit and mask of one of the most iconic female characters of all-time, Catwoman. Kitt, one of the most dynmaic and talented actresses of her time, was perfect to play the infamous Selina Kyle. And despite appearing only in the 3rd and final season of the Batman TV series, her portrayal has had a lasting impact on the Batman franchise (allowing several more black actresses to play the character) and countless other superhero projects.
1. Nubia (1973)
The first black female heroine to appear in comics was the long-lost twin sister of the oiginal female superhero, Wonder Woman. Nubia was created in January of 1973 (Wonder Woman #204) and has had an ever shifting and evolving role in the DC Comic universe. She has been portrayed as a parallel-universe version of Wonder Woman and an inheritor of the Wonder Woman mantle. Most recently, she has been rebranded Nu’Bia, a non-sibling Amazon contemporary of Wonder Woman, and successor to Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta as queen of the Amazon nation of Themyscira. She has recently had stories written by black female writers including Stephanie Williams and L.L. McKinney.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the first black female superheroes. Check out more of our black superhero content:
- Black Panther #CULTURECLASSIC
- The First Black Women to Write for Marvel Comics
- INTERVIEW: Kwanza Osajyefo
Written by @TalentedMrFord