Much like life the, comic world is constantly pushing for new and more diverse ideas, viewpoints, and above all characters. Many times, social issue took center stage first. Such issues as drug addiction , or war, has made it to the forefront of various comic publications, but not a full fledged introduction of an abundant amount of ethnically diverse comic heroes!
With their introduction of “Street Journal,” it very well might have been the first comic entity to do it across the board on a MAS scale(no pun intended), where more than 95% of the overall cast of the first publication were minorities and all members of the primary cast were either of African American or of Puerto Rican decent. This also includes many of Jonathan’s Comics, where more than 90% of their overall characters are minorities, ranging from a group of weapon wielding assassins, to a war-torn, half symbiotic ex, military, special ops commander.
Now, within the main MAIN STREAM, comic companies, this is changing!
But to understand why such a surge in minority based super beginnings is occurring, we must first take an in-depth look into the history of comic book publication itself.
The Black Panther was introduced in Fantastic Four #52, published in 1966 and is recorded to be the first back superhero to be placed in comic mainstream publication.
Falcon soon followed with his first appearance in Captain america #117,(Sept 1966).
Three years later, Luge Cage aka, Power Man made his debut in the Marvel Universe, in 1973, in Luke Cage: Heros’ For hire, a solo appearance way before the introduction of Iron Fist.
A year later, Blade was first introduced in Tomb of Dracula # 10 in 1973.
And only two years later Storm was introduced and became Marvels 2nd African american, featured FEMALE, superhero. she was first introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1,(1975).
Interestingly enough Storm followed on the coat tails of Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau who was, at one time a black women! Her first appearance was in Avengers:Unplugged #5, which came out June of 1996. She later became Captain Marvel and was one of the first leaders of the Avengers!
DC Comics soon followed suit, introducing their first black, mainstream character, Black lighting (real name Jefferson Pierce), in 1977, in the comic, Black Lightning # 1.
Today, DC has more minority characters that are center stage:
Such as: Cyborg, who also has his own title and stars as one of the main headliners in the a famed JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.
Second: Includes Dead-shot of the legendary villain group, Suicide Squad. And third is The New Robin,who was originally the main character in a older series entitled, WE ARE ROBIN.
Now, there are various other minority characters in both the Marvel and DC world since, such as Blue Beetle and The Septer(Both DC), but there has not been as much as a surge as the comic world has created within the last five to ten years.
Note: Both Black Panther and Blade received their own titles,although Blades’ title was rather short lived in comparison to other characters that became before and and since.
Today, there are at least 12, (that’s right, count, them my friends), 12 minority characters in the Marvel Universe alone who appear as main characters throughout various story arcs and at least 4 of which have their own titles.
Such characters include:
Ms. Marvel: (who is of Middle Easter descent, originally born in Pakistan),
Lunella Aka Moon Girl: (African American),
Mosaic (African American),
Miles Moralis: or the Spider man from the Ultimate Universe-whose father is African-American and his mother is Puerto Rican, a Heavy hitter in the Marvel Universe),
Kiki Williams: African American-(The new Iron Man AKA Iron Heart),
The Reemergence of Cage: (African american-from Power man and Iron fist)
Red Wolf: (whose Native American),
Prowler: (African American),
The New Venom: (South or Central American Decent),
Robbie Reyes Aka The New Ghost Rider: (Mexican),
A New Captain America-Misty Knight: (African American),
….etc…etc.. and this is just to name a few, as there are a ton more emerging and in existence already.
But the greatest leap into shattering this racial juxtaposition has to be the creation thsat came from the legendary, revolutionary minds in comic history, the one who I coin as “the Micheal Jordon of Comic art and industry,” Todd Mcfarlane.
With his introduction of SPAWN, he blew the lid off of what was considered “traditional comic making, art and characterization!!
Spawn, the comic book literally did what many thought to be the impossible, and many say is still impossible to re-do today. Not only did it sell the highest number of copies of any first issue release in comic history, (as fans ran to the stands to not only get one copy, but, in many instances, four and five), but Spawn was, and still is the highest selling African American, super being character to have his own title and still sell at unprecedented levels to date!
In all truth, MAS and Jonathan Syphax saw this as the future of comics on a large scale for quite some time.
This was foreshadowed by the graphic novel, “Street Journal”, which was created as far back as 1995. The story takes place in that time, in the heart of the South Bronx on 145th and Third ave and introduced the independent worlds two a vast array of minority based characters and five primary characters that are also of African american and Puerto Rican. The cast are Tyreke, Fuzz, Trish, Sonia, Melody and Travis. Russ 5377(Jorge Medina first publication) has four characters of African American decent, Russ, Keeno, Bancheee and Raquel. Anibal Arroyo’s, Lil Steve Closet stars Lil Steve, a young man of Puerto Rican Decent.
FutureScope comics, under Jonathan Syphax ownership has a entire world of ethnically based characters.
FutureScopes characters include:
Zion 3(Ra, Lady Havoc and Wraith), Dutch and Bloodlust from the upcoming title(Lords of Nevada-LON), Ray “The Miracle Kid” Ruiz(Puerto Rican), and a host of others yet to be announced.
In essence, there is and has always been a market in exploring diverse cultures, races, religions and genders. This is a essential part of what makes stories intriguing and keeps us glued to the comic pages. It is more than just something fashionable, but rather, it is the essence of what defines the very culture and soul of our world.
“Stories are made most intrigued not by what we think know of others, but by what we learn of the differences of others through the characters we create,” I truly believe.
This is what makes us who we are!
So the next time you flip through a comic book and you see a super being or overall character who has very human, physical differences, also look inside of that characters story arch to see what that character is really about.
Who knows what you might find.
This is Jon sighing off. Until then, enjoy and see ya soon.