Yesterday we covered 10 super heroic individuals of color that inhabit the big two of the comics world; DC Comics, and Marvel Comics. Today we continue on the same path. To make something abundantly clear, I chose 40 superheroes of color. Not supporting non-essential characters who sit back and do nothing, not villains who hold up stereotypes for the betterment of caucasian heroes. Super. Heroes. Of. Color.
Though you would never guess from her purple cystalline diamond hard skin, Roxanne Washington is black. The daughter of two famous rappers in the Marvel universe, Bling chose to leave the life of fame behind for one of education. She happily enrolled in the Xavier institute of higher learning and has since been a mainstay supporting character throughout several X-Men books since her inception. Created by Peter Milligan, and Salvador Larocca, Bling initially appeared in the pages of X-Men Vol. 2 lusting after Foxx(who would later be revealed to be mystique.) Bling is one of the rare cases of an out lesbian teen character in comics. She continues to appear in the pages of X-Men books to this day assisting the X-men however she can.
Required Reading: X-Men Vol. 2, X-Men: Legacy, X-Men Vol. 4
This entire list is really an education for Michelle Rodriguez. So I try to include a character that she could portray on the big screen, or television, or a web-series(She’s got options, ya know?) And while Miss America Chavez is an ideal super powered hero, Renee Montoya is exactly what Michelle Rodriguez needs in her career right now. Initially created for Batman: The Animated Series, Renee Montoya is a cop in the Gotham City Police Department. Bruce Timm felt that the audience needed a positive female character to fight on the side of the angels. It just so happened she’s Dominican-American. Renee made her comics debut in Batman #475 as a member of the GCPD. She eventually leaves the force after being disgusted with the corruption amongst the department in Gotham City. Eventually she is trained by, and takes up the mantle of The Question. In comics her history is much more sordid than her animated counterpart. I’ll keep it short by saying she’s Batwoman’s ex, and she’s got a bit of a drinking problem. If you decide to do research Michelle, I’d start here. This too could be yours. Latina. Lesbian. Right up your alley.
Required Reading: Batman: Shadow Of The Bat, Crime Central, 52, Crime Bible: Five Lessons Of Blood
Mr. Young, Black, and Gifted himself, David Alleyne is Prodigy. Created by Nunzio DeFillippis, Cristina Weir and Keron Grant, Prodigy appeared in New Mutants Vol. 2 as a new recruit for the Xavier Institute of Higher Learning. From there he got a substantial storyline as the leader of the new New Mutants in New X-Men: Academy X. His powers allowed him to subconsciously absorb any information or skills from the people around him via telepathy, however once person left his presence, the information and skills were lost to David. Because he could not control his power and retain any of the information he would absorb, David worked twice as hard at the Xavier Institute of show that he was not only an excellent student, but had the makings of a first class X-man. Like many mutants, David lost his x-gene from the fallout of the House of M storyline. However due to a gracious trio of psychics, all of the information he has ever absorbed is now unlocked in his mind. Somehow this also unlocked his sexuality and he now identifies as bisexual( ask Kieron Gillen how that works.) He now stands amongst the Young Avengers, and pops up in X-books from time to time to tell off Cyclops.
Required Reading: New Mutants Vol. 2, New X-Men: Academy X, New X-Men: Childhood’s End, Young Avengers
Batman Beyond introduced a future version of the Justice League named the Justice League Unlimited. This team comprised of Big Barda, Warhawk, Superman, Aquagirl, and Green Lantern Kai-Ro. Kai-Ro’s history has never been fleshed out, even in his transition from animated character to comics book character, his history is still unknown. However what is known about him is that he is wise beyond his years, he was raised by buddhist monks, and believes violence is necessary when a situation absolutely demands it.
Required Reading: Batman Beyond Vol. 3, Justice League Beyond Vol. 1 , Batman Beyond Unlimited
Rictor is the creation of legendary X-Men scribes Walt and Louise Simonson. From early in his inception Julio Esteban Richter has battled off and on with depression. It’s a rarity to see that layer added to a comic book character but it often rears itself with Rictor. As a mutant, Rictor has a connection with the earth similar to Storm, however he is able to manipulate seismic energy to cause tremors and earthquakes. He’s even able to use the energy to effect inorganic material. After the House of M storyline Rictor, like many other mutants, lost his x-gene and his powers. He attempted to take his own life, but was drafted into X-Factor Investigations by Jamie Madrox. Going back into crimefighting, as well as his romance with longtime friend Shatterstar finally coming into fruition, gave Rictor the will to live again.
Required Reading: X-Factor, X-Force Vol. 1,
The amount of female comic book characters who have had careers as “models” is so large it’s hilarious. It’s no different for Beatriz Da Costa, a.k.a. Green Fury, a.k.a. Green Flame, a.k.a. Fire! In addition to being a model, Fire has been a showgirl, a secret agent, and most commonly, a superhero. Brought to life in DC Comics Presents as a member of the international super team, The Global Guardians, Fire has been kicking butt since 1982. Since leaving the Global Guardians, Fire has held memberships in The Justice League(International), The Super Buddies, and The Justice League Task Force. Outside of comics, Fire has appeared on television in The Justice League Of America, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman: The Brave And The Bold. Most often the Brazilian beauty is featured alongside her longtime crimefighting partner, Tora Olfasdotter, better known as Ice.
Required Reading: Justice League International Vol. 1, Checkmate, Justice League: Generation Lost, Justice League Europe
It’s a shame that Nico Minoru doesn’t use her codename all that often whenever she appears in comics. It’s quite appropriate; Sister Grimm. Writer Brian K. Vaughn created Nico Minoru during his run on the book Runaways, which ended up being quite the hit for Marvel Comics. Nico, and most of her fellow Runaways, were the children of a Supervillian crime ring known as The Pride. Her parents were dark wizards who, like the other members of The Pride, kept secret their child’s legacy. After discovering her parents true alliances, she and the Runaways choose to become vigilantes to redeem their family names. Nico in particularly learns about her magical heritage, and comes into her ability as a leader. The Japanese-American Nico has since become a vigilante, fighting crime on her own, and sometimes with the Avengers, or Runways. She’ll also be appearing in the upcoming A-Force, apart of the larger Secret Wars event from Marvel Comics.
Required Reading: Runaways, Avengers Arena, Avengers Undercover
Batman Inc. introduced a world wide network of crime fighters operating under Batman in Gotham City. One of these was the first black man join the Bat family; David Zavimbe, Batwing. Batwing fought crime throughout the continent of Africa, but mainly worked out of Tinashe, a fictional city within the Democratic Republic of The Congo. David was a Congolese cop operating out of Tinasha, a fictional city in The Congo. He was one of the first recruits for Batman’s new worldwive initiative and has worked not only with Batman, but with the Justice League. Eventually David relinquishes the mantle of Batwing, and Batman decides to pass the responsibility to the son of Lucius Fox, making Lucas Fox the second Batwing, and the first black american to carry the name.
Required Reading: Batwing, Batman Inc, Batman Eternal,
As we move onto Xi’an Coy Manh it appears that the theme for today’s list is LGBT characters of colors. Maybe not the entire theme, Karma makes this list, half LGBT characters as well. Do you see Michelle Rodriguez? All types are represented in printed media, you just have to read more. Karma was one of the first mainstream lesbians in comic books to appear in any book by the two major houses. But her sexuality is such a small part of her history that we’re going to gloss over it entirely. Xi’an was apart of the New Mutants team from the very beginning, in fact she was their first leader. Imagine that, a Vietnamese immigrant lesbian leader. I’d follow her. Karma’s psychic powers allow her a unique method of mind control and possession. She’s appeared in and out of New Mutant titles since it’s creation, as well as a plethora of other X-Books. She juggles the roles of teacher, superhero, guardian to two of her siblings, and now billionaire. Her biggest development in recent years has been the loss of her leg during the Second Coming story arc that affected the X-Men titles in 2010
Required Reading: New Mutants, New X-men: Academy X, Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3
Samurai is a Super Friend. However bad that sounds, he was created as a bit character who has been given substantial growth and reinterpretation since his creation. Japanese schoolteacher Toshio Eto was struck by a beam a light from the New Gods of New Genesis which granted him superpowers. Samurai, along with Black Lighting, Apache Chief, and El Dorado, were created exclusively for the Super Friends to promote diversity amongst their viewers. A noble effort, but the character eventually grew into a promiment member of the SuperFriends team. The character has appeared as Wind Dragon in Justice League Unlimited, and as a young Japanese speaking girl in Young Justice named Asami.
Required Viewing: Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice
I hope you did learn something today Miss Rodriguez. Please arrive promptly to fanbros.com tomorrow at 11am for tomorrow’s lesson. Twenty heroes down, twenty to go.