Updated on 16 October, 2021
While the superheroes of today certainly have a strong presence in the public consciousness, there was a time when no one in America ever imagined that there might be any black superheroes. There are some who consider themselves to be super heroes, but this is usually because they have powers that make up for their lack of ability to fight crime or stop bad guys from committing crimes. These heroes almost always have some sort of super power. While some can be considered super heroes simply by having the physical attributes of a superhero, these characters usually have more to offer than just fighting ability.
One of the most interesting and powerful black comic book characters ever introduced was War Machine. He was a Canadian hero who served as a soldier in World War II. However, instead of fighting villains he served as an experimental super soldier who could repel bullets fired at him by machine guns and other high tech weaponry. This was actually the very first appearance of a self-made bullet proof vest!
As these first black comic book heroes started to gain popularity, other super heroes started to appear. Most of them were from different genres. Action, fiction and drama were among the most popular. But none of these characters was quite as popular as War Machine. Because of his connection to the military and his eventual affiliation with the devil, War Machine became a very intriguing character to follow in his own comic series.
One of the first characters that appeared was Black Canary. She was an African American female who was a founding member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She was also part of the Justice League. Black Canary's adventures took place in many different versions throughout the ages. In fact, she was one of the first African American comic books to be published!
Another character that was popular during the beginning was the classic black panther. He was often seen as an ally of the heroes. Many early black comic book characters such as Black Canary and Black Lightning were featured in the Justice League. The classic black panther was often introduced in the "Funeral for Foe" segment of comics where the surviving members of a deceased superhero's family would see their departed loved ones returning from the afterlife.
After the introduction of more modern day black comic book characters such as Spiderman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, the comic book industry once again turned to write and illustrate black comic book characters. The Black Orchid and Black Widow cameos were popular. The advent of female super heroines such as Wonder Woman, Bat Girl and Hawkgirl created new interest in the comic book industry. The ultimate super villain of the late nineteen seventies was the evil villainess Doctor Psycho. She was a secret agent for evil which had been created by another brilliant black comic book character, Harley Quinn.
Today we see more black characters in comics. Most of the popular superheroes of today are black characters. In fact, you can even find numerous superheros that are part of the Justice League and the Avengers. There have even been some spin off titles where some of the old black comic book characters have joined the new black heroes in the comic books.
The majority of modern day superheroes are black characters. With the many different styles of these superheros it is interesting to see how much variation has happened over the years. Even though many superheroes of today are dark skinned, there have been many versions of superheros that have been light skinned and have been enhanced through the use of technology. Black superheroes in comic books have always been a part of the world's greatest comic books.