One of the things I often hear about among black people is their perception that there aren’t a lot of comic book characters. And while I agree that there could be more, there are more than you’d think. With it being black history month, I figure it’s only right I give you my top 10.
10. Miles Morales
One of the newer entries on this list, Miles Morales is Spider-Man, yes, you read that right. He started off in the now defunct Ultimate Universe for Marvel, replacing Peter Parker, Miles is also serving as the Spider-Man of Earth 616 in the Marvel Universe.
Best known as a member of the Teen Titans, Vic Stone has a long history in comics. Only recently has he been getting his just due as a hero. Not only did he graduate from the Titans to a founding member of the justice League in DC’s 2011 lineup wide reboot, he also recently got his first solo title and the reviews on it are pretty damn good.
The creation of Todd McFarlane, Spawn is the story of a CIA Agent who becomes literal Hell spawn. Spawn’s 1997 movie has the distinction of being the first black superhero adaptation.
7. Black Lightning/Static
I’ll admit I’m kind of cheating here, but Static and Black Lightning are very similar characters. Not only that, but Black Lightning serves as a mentor to Static. Sadly for BL, he is remembered most for his appearances in the Super Friends cartoon. The introduction of Static actually helped to revitalize Black Lightning. Both characters control my favorite element, lightning, and are a pair of bad asses. They have also been green lit for a pilot on CW, making them the first black heroes with a tv show, unfortunately, Tyler Perry is set to write, produce and star as BL….yea.
6. Luke Cage
Bolstered by a recent TV series on Netflix, Luke Cage aka Power Man, is one of the longest tenured black superheroes. While mostly serving as a street level hero with the likes of Iron Fist, Luke Cage is one of the strongest humans in the Marvel Universe. Though he can be a bit corny at times, there no doubt of his impact.
When you say “Blade” in reference to comics, people immediately think of the trilogy starring Wesley Snipes and for good reason. Spawn may have been the first black superhero film, but Blade most certainly had the best. Even with the 3rd film in the trilogy being a dud, the first two were great and have aged well. Blade also makes several cameo appearances in the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon. Blade is personally my first impression of a black superhero.
4. Sam Wilson
Sam Wilson, formerly known as Falcon and the current Captain America, has the distinction of being the very first Black American Superhero to debut in mainstream comics. A long time companion of Steve Rogers, the OG Cap, Sam has finally been given the opportunity to wield the shield and hasn’t looked back since. Even if he’s currently being played by Uncle Tom, Anthony Mackie in the MCU, Sam Wilson is one of the most important characters in comics.
Ororo Munroe aka Storm fka Mrs Black Panther and bka the finest woman in comics, has been a staple of not only the X-Men but also been a member of the Fantastic 4 AND the Queen of the most powerful nation in comics. Storm is just dope all around. She can drown you with a flood (heh) or just fry you with a lightning bolt. Either way, she’s the Queen of black superheroes.
2. Green Lantern
John Stewart may not have been the first Green Lantern, but if you’re a millennial, he is THE Green Lantern. Bolstered by his starring role in the cartoons Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, the former Marine proved he was second to no one as the wielder of the most powerful ring in the universe. All we ask is that DC keeps Tyrese FAR away from this role in their upcoming movie. PLEASE. John Stewart can’t be calling Batman “cuh” while fighting Darkseid.
1. Black Panther
Ok, seriously, who did you think was going to be number 1? T’challa, the king of the most powerful and technologically advanced nation in all of comics. The wealthiest character in all of comics and one of the smartest. Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream comics and his profile was recently bolstered with a kick ass performance by Chadwick Boseman in Civil War and the casting announcements of his upcoming solo film, featuring not only a cast that’s blacker than Wesley Snipes, but filled to the brim with talented actors. T’challa was first then and he’s first now. The King keeps his crown.
Those are just my top 10. There are PLENTY of black characters out there worth your attention in comics (Batwing, Ironheart, Kid Flash) just to name a few. Black comic book characters are important. Blerds may not be a huge part of comic readership, but there’s no reason we can’t change that.