Complexities of the Non-Complex Black Superhero

Essay by sunny09College, Undergraduate November 2007

download word file, 12 pages 5.0

Jean-Pierre � PAGE �11�

Cleo Jean-Pierre

13 November 2007

Kevin Derryberry


Complexities of the Non-Complex Black Superhero

The introduction of Superman in the world of comics and into the United States ushered in the Golden Age of comics. During this time, many of the currently popular superheroes came to be. This may have been the Golden Age of comics for the white patriarchal society that America was, and still is, but a very sad time for race relations in America. It is no secret that America has always and still deals with racial issues. It is also no secret that white America's attitude towards ethnic and racial groups is usually mirrored in the prevalent medium, comic books included. So following race relations through movies, televisions, books, and comics would be advisable if one was curious as to how it has played out in the past. The past the portrayal of minorities , African Americans in particular, in the media have not always been true to life.

These portrayals were powered by stereotypes. Times have changed. To create a minority character based on a stereotype is not quite politically correct today, so attempts at creating more rounded black characters have ensued, attempts that have not been completely successful. This is the case, particularly in comic books. Since the first superhero Superman comic book was released in 1938, black characters in comic books were caricatures. There were no black superheroes; black characters were limited to minor or subservient roles.

Things have come a long way since then. With the introduction of the Black Panther as the first non-caricatured black superhero in 1966, came a time for change. Since then there have been a myriad of black superheroes and black villains. However, many popular black superheroes remain unbelievable characters. Black Superheroes...