Wednesday, October 18, 2006

in brightest day, in blackest night


I hope y'all can forgive the mildly juvenile, but still culturally relevant diversion: I had stopped regularly reading comic books by the time that John Stewart's Green Lantern appeared. But in a lot of ways I think he is the most refreshingly universal black science-fiction superhero. In most of sci-fi, whiteness is framed as universal, and blackness is framed as provincial and local. The advanced being from the next galaxy over is generally the authoritative-sounding white man with silly putty on his face. Most black characters, on the other hand, will sound and act as if they were from 125th and Lennox Ave (give or take a light year).

In contrast to the more "ghetto-centric" blaxploitation era superheroes like Black Lighting (and variations like Black Vulcan, Soul Power, Static and Juice) or Power Man, and even in contrast to the more Afrocentric heroes like Storm or Black Panther, John Stewart is on a whole other level. (A few others in the same ballpark, which come to mind from the world outside of comic books are Mace Windu and Benjamin Sisko).

Wikipedia: Green Lantern (John Stewart)
Book of Oa: The Unofficial John Stewart Biography
Wikipedia: List of Black Superheroes
Wikipedia: History of Black Superheroes
Wikipedia: African characters in comics

Grenada's past:
race and dc comics
black comic books
birth of a nation: a comic novel
"'x-men' is not a cleverly named documentary about the nation of islam..."
on the serious tip...
aaron mcgrudder
afrofuturism/rebirth of a nation



DA said...

Nick Fury in the new Marvel "ultimate" universe has been re-created as a black man, and I've actually found them to do a pretty good job of writing him. The Wasp is Asian in this universe too, and The Falcon is still black but less of a bad stereotype than he has been in Marvel at points. The ultimates have actualy been really good so far in general; it's a slightly more realistic less fantastic universe, it shows world policy and social factors at work in a way comics traditionally have missed, and the characters are more shades of grey human instead of straight up super good or super evil.

Sorry, I'm a comics geek.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Yeah, I browsed through some of the Ultimate titles in bookstores or comic bookstores but at this point there is too much stuff to keep track of. ALthough I have liked what I've seen.

I think I have a low attention span, so I've been looking at more one shot deals. I really liked Marvel 1602 (the marvel heroes reset in the 1600's) and also Red Son (what would happen to Superman if Kal El's ship landed in the Ukraine and he grew up in the Soviet Union). Actually Red Son does a good job of setting up shades of gray.

In terms of the original subject, Spawn would be another Black superhero who was "universal" but in a more supernatural way as opposed to a more science-fictiony way.

cy said...

insightful page. peace and continuity. xoxo Cy

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Thanks for stopping by : )

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