Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Black Comic History Series 1: The First Coming of the Black Superhero

Black Comic History Series 1: The First Coming of the Black Superhero

The year was 1966 and between civil rights and the brewing Vietnam War, America was a hotbed of social change. Every headline was a grim reminder of the intensely racially charged atmosphere of the time.  Under the leadership of sociopolitical and religious icons like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the majority of the black community was in lockstep toward the goal of rising from beneath the boot of oppression. The echoing cry for a new breed of black hero was in the air and just as the cry reached a pitch Marvel Comics would answer with the introduction of the Black Panther, the first black superhero to appear in a mainstream comic book.
Up until that time, there had never been a black superhero in mainstream American comics. Although Lobo, a black character that appeared in (1950) is considered the first black man to have his own comic book and Gabriel Jones had a well-established in the popular Sgt. Fury title, Black Panther represented inclusion in the mainstream popular media of that time. The historical record makes it clear that the creators of Black Panther saw opportunity in the fervent racially-charged and war-torn emotional state of the country and capitalized on the absence of color in both the Marvel and DC universes.
By 1969 the Falcon, would appear alongside Marvel’s Captain America in issue #117, which marked the second appearance of a black superhero in mainstream comics and the first African American super hero to do so as panther was a native African.  Still, the floodgates were open and a litany of male and female black superhero characters would be introduced into the comic mainstream throughout the 1970s including:  The Guardian in 1970 and Nu Bia in 1973 from DC and Power Man (Luke Cage) in 1972 and Misty Knight by 1975. At least a dozen more black comic heroes would be introduced throughout the rest of the 70s, which represented the largest influx of black comic characters to date; what many would call the first coming of black superheroes.

To many historians and black superhero fans, this influx of blackness into the comic mainstream was the bi product of the previous decade’s racial and political tensions when considering the real life events that transpired in the previous decade: 
  • Assassination Johns Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1963
  • Signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Onset of the Vietnam War, 1965
  • Desegregation of public schools in the US, 1965
  • Assassination of Malcolm X, 1965
  • Black Panther Party Founded in Oakland, 1966
  • Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968
  • Assassination Robert Kennedy, 1968
As it were, the black community’s appetite for heroes after the brutal assassinations of the 1960s, would be partially addressed in the pages of comic books (as it was with Captain America’s pre WWII story lines) but in real life the burgeoning blaxploitation movement would also rise from the emotional and political ashes of the previous decade. Now, with the rise of black comics paralleled by 1970s blaxploitation cinema, the step-n-fetch it, “sambo-style” “shuckin and jiving” stereotype previously displayed in newspaper comic strips and movies was replaced with the new super bad, afro wearing, butt kicking, “bad mother fu – watch yo mouth” characters that became permanently endeared to the hearts and minds of black America. With such a close correlation between current events of the 60s and early 70s and their use in comic book lore, many ponder the true purpose and timing of the introduction of black super hero characters. Many believe that black comics were merely an extension of the same pre WWII propaganda pioneered in the Captain America comics first released in 1941 while others regard comics as nothing more than harmless entertainment for children. Propaganda or not, a historical view of black comics and the culture surrounding them reveals some interesting facts, correlations and coincidences that would raise even the most ardent fan’s eyebrow.
Visit again soon and read our second installment in Black Comic History Series where we examine black comic book propaganda.

Welcome to the official blog!

Welcome to the official blog! 

Welcome to the, blog where you’ll find an experience reminiscent of first opening an issue of The Falcon and anxiously flipping through the pages to see him fly or ogling over Storm's awesome beauty when she first graced the pages of the Giant Sized X-Men #1. Each time you visit our site we’ll fuel the black comic fanatic within you as we continuously delve ever deeper into black superheroes, black anime and sci-fi universes. We are more than just an online portal because we also supply our visitor with information from every aspect of the black comic book, anime and black sci-fi genres.

Historically speaking, black superheroes have been few along with the numbers of comic book titles as well as featured black anime and film characters. From the appearance of Black Panther the first comic book title starring an black super hero, in 1966 there have been several black superheroes that have made appearances in various mainstream comic books but far less have spawned into titles of their own that specifically featured black heroes.

Racism has come into the debate followed closely by “black exploitation” and outright propaganda most often. However, there are fans that would attribute low representation to lack of access to quality, distribution, ownership and investment opportunities available in the industry. Either way there is no denying the impact of black superheroes and their growth in terms of comics, black cartoons, anime and sci-fi. Whether it’s Blade going from assisting Spiderman to the character’s rise to star in a trilogy of blockbuster films or Luke Cage emerging from Hero for Hire to comic book legend, wants to examine all angles to bring you uncommon perspectives and an uncommonly high quality experience.

With being the web’s largest online portal for black comics, anime, and sci-fi, it is our duty to bring you more than the other guys and represent like the true fans we are!
Here is a preview of what you can expect over the coming weeks and months:

  • The Black Super Heroes First Coming: 1970 – 1980 The Golden Age of Black Comics
The 1970’s witnessed the biggest surge in the creation and introduction of black comic book characters in the history of comics and examines the introduction of the first black superheroes to infiltrate the DV and Marvel Universe.

  • Are black comics propaganda directed at black people?
Could this idea be true? One would wonder partly because the release of several black superhero characters coincides with the receding tide of the civil rights movement and incoming wave of the black power movement. will look deeper at the correlations and into the notion of black comic book propaganda and another form of black exploitation.

  • What makes a good black comic book character: Back-story, social significance or novelty? 
Take Black Panther, leader of the only unconquered African nation on earth; check out Blade born half-vampire after his pregnant mother was bitten; then there’s Spawn double crossed government weapon turned devil’s soldier fighting for good. We want to know what makes the most popular black heroes’ stories so compelling and endearing for fans and if there could be more to a character than meets the eye.

  • Black Comic Creators, Masters and “Newbies”: Whos who in the new black comic universe?
The black comic industry has changed over the years and many have paved the way for others to maintain and continuously create black heroes. At we believe in supporting every aspect of the black comic genre along with everyone and everything involved in it. will offer profiles on the hottest new artists, titles and up and coming players in the black comic industry today.  This will include: exclusive video and interviews, artist features and reviews of some of the hottest new titles, films, and black animation available on the web today.
  • Gimme my black fantasy fix!
We’re and we’re the largest online portal for all of your black superheroes whether they are in anime, comic books or your favorite black science fiction. But, just because we’re based online doesn’t mean we don’t hit the streets. We’ll bring you exclusive previews and coverage of upcoming events, and black comic conventions like Onyxcon coming up in August 2012. We’ll also cue you in to how you can get the most out of your experience with upcoming release dates, online resources and information.
Add us to your favorites, like us on facebook and visit often to stay up on your current news and events related to black comics, anime and sci-fi.