Honoring Black Superheroes for Black History Month
(character images courtesy of DC Comics and Marvel Comics)
How can we hope to honor black American history in a single blog post? African-American history is so thoroughly enriching and enlightening to dive into. There’s so much to cover and so much to discover. We wanted to honor a small piece of that history that helped inspire our brand name, ORORO, and others like her.
“We are survivors! That is our nature.”
We’re talking, of course, about the iconic superhero and legendary X-Man, Storm. Some of you may not have realized that our brand name was inspired by Ororo Munroe, a Marvel Comics mutant with the ability to control the weather and the atmosphere. She is, quite literally, one of the most powerful heroes to exist. Storm was the first black female superhero in comics history and is regarded by many as The Greatest Black Superhero of All Time.
(X-Men 1992 #1, Marvel Comics)
Storm is one of the most steadfast and capable leaders of the X-Men and is an inspiration to many people, but especially black girls. Storm was created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, debuting in 1975. Did you know the original concept for Storm was to be a man? That obviously changed and we’re glad for that! Ororo Munroe descends from a long line of powerful African witch priestesses and has the potential for magic, in addition to her already impressive weather-based skills. She is, without a doubt, the coolest superhero. Pun absolutely intended. 😎
A Little History Lesson
She’s not the only exalted or renowned black superhero, or even the only weather/nature-based one either! There’s the young Aqualad aka Jackson Hyde (debuted in 2010), who has many abilities but the coolest one is hydrokinesis. Then you have the entire Pierce family, papa Jefferson (debuted in 1977, becoming DC Comics’ third black superhero) and daughters Anissa and Jennifer, also known as Black Lightning, Lightning and Thunder, respectively. And like their names suggest, they have the unique capabilities of electrical energy absorption, manipulation, invulnerability, among many other abilities. Jason Rusch as Firestorm has the unique ability to rearrange the molecular structure of almost anything and also COOL FIRE POWERS.
(Pierce family, Firestorm and Aqualad; panels courtesy of DC Comics, DC Universe)
The First Black Superheroes
But there are more iconic black superheroes outside of elemental/nature-based powers that exist. I’m sure you’ve all heard of King T’Challa aka the Black Panther, the FIRST black superhero to exist in mainstream comics, joining Marvel Comics line-up during the Silver Age in 1966. He heralded in an era of other legendary black heroes like Falcon (1969), Luke Cage (1972), Blade (1973) and Green Lantern John Stewart (1971). This also coincided with the boom of the Blaxploitation era that included prominent characters like Shaft, Blacula, Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones and more.
(Black Panther smacking Tony Stark; Avengers vs X-Men #7, Marvel Comics)
There are so many black superheroes that have helped shape our pop culture landscape, from Vixen to Misty Knight to XS to our favorite Spider-Man, Miles Morales, it’s impossible to do them all justice but you would do well to look into them yourselves!
Comic book superheroes will continue to be a huge part of our cultural existence and with more and more of them making the leap to live action, they inspire real life heroes every day. A wonderful thing to see for kids who aren’t used to having their heroes look like them.