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Author Topic: Non-white superheroes in the USA  (Read 12377 times)
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nightwing
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2005, 01:50:29 PM »

Well, your question was who's most famous today?  Assuming he passes all the tests for a super-hero (he does have enhanced abilities and started life in a comic book) I'd have to say "Blade," who's carried a successful film franchise with three installments to date.  After that, I'd have to say Green Lantern John Stewart as portrayed in the Justice League cartoons.  Kids love him, and thanks to that show he may now be the most heavily merchandised black hero in comics history.

I'm caucasian, so I won't technically qualify as a "minority" for another decade or so  :lol: , but I can answer your second question from the other side: I seldom took to minority heroes in comics because, at least in the era I grew up in, they were usually jive-talkin' hipsters engineered to fill a quota and/or save face at companies with otherwise all-white line-ups.  There are few things more embarassing than reading dialog assigned to an "angry young black man" by a middle-aged white male writer.  :oops:

A notable exeption was the Black Panther, who was handled well more often than not (maybe because he's a foreigner and thus under no compunction to display "street smarts").  I also have to confess to a fondness for the Falcon and Black Lightning, who had two of the most eye-catching costumes in the biz.  And as a kid I was really intrigued by a 1970s JLA story that had John Stewart filling in as Green Lantern when Hal Jordan slipped and hit his head in the bathtub. (!!!)  I remember thinking it wouldn't be such a bad thing if he took over full time. (Looking back, John's biggest appeal is that he was chosen for his abilities regardless of his race, whereas with most other black characters race was the biggest issue in their lives, 24/7...always a dull read).
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ShinDangaioh
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2005, 02:40:08 PM »

True, the Superfriends are not the best example of non-white heroes, but they are famous.  Or infamous in this case.  Smiley


Moivng to another black superhero who had a comic book, appeared on the Superman cartoon, and even had a movie:

Steel

A black super-hero from a cartoon is Kid Comet from the Teen Force
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Richard S! Preston
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2005, 09:07:35 PM »

Kelly recently introduced to the JLA Manitou Raven, a shaman in the true sense (not in the 'X-Man' sense). Don't know much about him, other than he has the mandatory (for all superheroes, at least) hot wife.

Does J'onn Jonzz count? After all, he is a minority of one  Cheesy
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Fidelio
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2005, 01:45:07 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
Well, your question was who's most famous today?  Assuming he passes all the tests for a super-hero (he does have enhanced abilities and started life in a comic book) I'd have to say "Blade," who's carried a successful film franchise with three installments to date.


Did Blade ever mention something about him being black? I have the impression (just saw the first movie, never read any of the comics) that racial issues are never dealt with here.
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2005, 04:00:59 PM »

Quote from: "Fidelio"
Quote from: "nightwing"
Well, your question was who's most famous today?  Assuming he passes all the tests for a super-hero (he does have enhanced abilities and started life in a comic book) I'd have to say "Blade," who's carried a successful film franchise with three installments to date.


Did Blade ever mention something about him being black? I have the impression (just saw the first movie, never read any of the comics) that racial issues are never dealt with here.


No they weren't, good thing too! Race shouldn't matter, and he didn't play a stereotype in that film. But, he was always black in the comics. So it's not like they just made him black for no reason like they do with many other comic characters when films of made of them. AKA the characters are white in the comics but are not in the movie.

Classic Blade comic covers [click on the links to view them]

http://www.comics.org/graphics/covers/1940/400/1940_4_24.jpg
http://www.comics.org/graphics/covers/2063/400/2063_4_28.jpg
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VRLowKey
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2005, 05:44:41 AM »

Most famous? Non-white? Superman.
"Lois, you can't be serious! My skin's not even human skin! It's alien!"

Oh, you're serious. OK.
Spawn.
 Mr McFarlane once wrote, when he was doing Spiderman, "You don't know what colour I am under this mask!"  It's true if we'd all forgotten that Spawn's human form, Col. Al Simmons

  I think that's what attracts people of all colours to superheroes even when they are so white they disappear in a snowstorm.  The hero is, in a lot of ways, anonymous.  He could care less that his foe is Zulu, or Islamic, or Jewish.  All of his bad guys are bad cuz they did bad things, by themselves, in their own lifetime.  If you even mention that the hero is a gay Eskimo, instantly the non-gay, non-Eskimo crowd is excluded.

  My son collects Static comics, if that's any help (he's 8)
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nightwing
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2005, 01:48:51 PM »

It may not be a big issue that Blade is black now, but at the time he was introduced it was a deliberate attempt to cash in on the "blaxploitation" craze of the early 70s.  The cool clothes, the attitude and even the monosyllabic (phallic?) name were an obvious tip of the hat to "Shaft."

Does being black really affect his ability to fight vampires, or even come up in conversation?  No.  But would the character even have existed if Marv Wolfman hadn't wanted to cash in on the popularity of black movie heroes?  I seriously doubt it.

So in a very real sense, Blade couldn't exist if he weren't a minority.
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2005, 04:54:33 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
It may not be a big issue that Blade is black now, but at the time he was introduced it was a deliberate attempt to cash in on the "blaxploitation" craze of the early 70s.  The cool clothes, the attitude and even the monosyllabic (phallic?) name were an obvious tip of the hat to "Shaft."

Does being black really affect his ability to fight vampires, or even come up in conversation?  No.  But would the character even have existed if Marv Wolfman hadn't wanted to cash in on the popularity of black movie heroes?  I seriously doubt it.

So in a very real sense, Blade couldn't exist if he weren't a minority.


Very true, however the same can be said with Green Lantern. More important for Marvel at that time was Power Man. That text on the title is a swipe at DC's Green Lantern, BTW.  

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