Chadwick Boseman tells actor Logan Lerman about his upcoming role as Black Panther in Marvel’s “Avengers” movies at Variety’s Actors on Actors.
Chadwick Boseman tells actor Logan Lerman about his upcoming role as Black Panther in Marvel’s “Avengers” movies at Variety’s Actors on Actors.
Something’s happening in comics. Change.
Publishers have been answering the dreams, prayers, wishes and/or longings of fans seeking better representation.
Captain America is Black. Thor is a woman. And Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American teenager.
Now, Power Girl has gone from being a blond Kryptonian who constantly deals with getting noticed for her completely unnecessary cleavage, instead of her super-strength, to a natural-haired, Black teenager.
Tanya Spears, a 16-year-old genius with access to wealth from an inherited income, interned at Starr Industries under the former Power Girl, Karen Starr, and helped send her back home to Earth-2. After being knocked unconscious, Spears woke up to realize that she could lift up to three tons at a time and is conceivably invincible.
Come next month, we’ll get to see her make a hard decision about which side she falls on within the infighting of the Teen Titans.
It’s about gahdamn damn time!
For all of the arguments about the overly sexualized portrayal of female characters in comic books, I always thought about Power Girl as a prime example. Now, I would never hold anything against the character. She’s a woman who’s proud of her body and I absolutely love that. I blame whoever it was that thought it was a good idea to put a window to her cleavage on her costume, then have everyone point it out like she didn’t know it was there. Just in my reading of the Harley Quinn series, Power Girl can’t go five pages without someone saying “…. you know you have those, right?” The writers of the series do all they can to be tasteful about it, but they can only do so much.
Tanya Spears costume is actually respectable. (If it weren’t I’d be disappointed. She’s 16, bruh.) I’m super geeked to see her throw people through buildings and show people how smart she is.
If she can fly?!?! Do you know how aerodynamic Afro puffs are?
Let’s all take a moment and commend DC for making the right decision and righting a wrong.
Source: Keith Reid-Cleveland at Black Nerd Problems
Real Name: Rosabelle Mendez
Publisher: DC Comics
First Appearance: “New Titans #73” (February 1991)
Affiliation: Teen Titans
Superpower: Enhanced agility and strength, razor-sharp claws, cat’s-eye vision, skilled fighter, escape artist, healing, super hearing, super sight, super smell and super speed
Pantha was a student at NYU (New York University) who studied to become a veterinarian. She was kidnapped by Maxwell Lord and sold to the Wildebeest Society. Rosabelle was used for research and experimented on and as a result was created as a hybrid feline by the Wildebeest. Several experiments were conducted including X-24. When Rosabelle escaped, she decided to plot her revenge against the individuals who performed experiments on her. According to Comic Vine, Pantha was created by Marv Wolfman and Tom Grummett. She appeared first in “The New Titans #73” as a shadow and fully in “The New Titans #74.”
During her plot for revenge, she was at odds with Deathstroke many times. Deathstroke has become more familiar with many of us as a popular villain on the hit CW series Arrow. Under the codename Pantha, she later joined the Teen Titans, but at many times was at odds with her teammates. According to Wikipedia, she later teams up with her old allies when Cyborg, now with an entirely new level of power, threatens the entire Earth. The Justice League of America showed up also and a series of mistakes led to the entire team fighting. Pantha took on Catwoman, but neither side won as they were interrupted by blasts from Orion. Baby Wildebeest himself was subdued by Superman.
When the “Infinite Crisis” occurs, she joins another team of Titans in addition to Doom Patrol and Justice Society of America. JSA includes a previous comic girl featured in this spotlight by the name of Crimson Avenger. Pantha has feline-like strength that possesses super human strength, agility, speed, reflexes, and leaping. She also has razor sharp claws on her hands and feet that are able to cut through steel and used to crush into stone walls. She also has a slight healing factor that allows her to recover from minor injuries almost immediately.
During the “Infinite Crisis,” an altercation takes place between Pantha and Superboy Prime. In the battle, Superboy accidentally kills Pantha and he also slaughtered Baby Wildebeest.
In the “Blackest Night,” which was a Titans crossover story, Pantha is resurrected as a member of the Black Lantern and ready for battle once again with the Titans. Sadly, her body is destroyed and permanently disintegrated. Fans of the Teen Titans TV show may remember Pantha’s stint as a wrestler and wears a wrestling mask. Her debut was on the episode Calling All Titans.
Source: Jamie Broadnax at Black Girl Nerds
‘It’s Not About Race’
Not only do these arguments always turn out to be implicitly racist, but they usually directly contradict themselves. In the midst of trying to defend not wanting any of their favorite superheroes to be depicted as Black, some people claim that the argument has nothing to do with race – a claim that’s impossible because the conversation in and of itself is indeed about race. One comment on a message board said, “I’m not for changing Spiderman to a black dude. This isn’t about race and it wouldn’t matter if Spiderman wasn’t such an iconic character. Change Daredevil to a black guy, no one would care …. Spiderman is the second most popular superhero of all time trailing ONLY Superman in his awesomeness.” So there you have it, it’s just the awesome characters who can’t be changed to Black characters — but it has nothing to with race and everything to do with how awesome one race is allowed to be portrayed.
The X-Men are incredibly popular, and one of the most popular superheroes on the team is Storm, whose real name is Ororo Munroe. She’s been a fixture in the X-Men team and transcended the comic into cartoons, video games and movies. She has her own ongoing series, but it’s in danger of being canceled after only five issues. So, to help raise awareness, here are some cool facts you probably didn’t know about everyone’s favorite Black female superhero. This list is courtesy of Maurice and Nigel from thegeektwins.com
Back in the 1970s, Marvel editor Roy Thomas was trying to develop an international team of mutants to appeal to foreign markets. Originally, the Black female of the team was supposed to be called “Black Cat,” who could turn into a humanoid cat. She had a similar costume as Storm but without the cape and a “cat-like haircut with tufts for ears.” Unfortunately, artist Dave Cockrum discovered several other female cat characters had been developed like Tigra, The Cat and Pantha. The team suggested he use his idea for a male character who could control weather, called “Typhoon,” and turn him into a woman.
Storm Is the First Black Female Superhero
Storm first appeared in “Giant-Size X-Men #1” (1975), which was written by Len Wein and penciled by Dave Cockrum. She was one of the first Black comic book characters and is the first Black female in mainstream comics.
Tombstone is an albino man who serves as a hitman and enforcer in the Marvel universe. He has mainly been a Spider-Man villain.
She is a Wolverine villain in an alternate reality.
She is a Batwing villain who controls a crime syndicate in South Africa.
One of Aquaman’s greatest rivals, Black Manta, fights the King of Atlantis because Aquaman killed Black Manta’s father by accident for attacking Aquaman’s father.
If you’re like me, then you were a Black nerd (“Blerd”) who came of age during the 1980s. You were probably a socially awkward kid who loved not-yet-cool stuff, like comic books, science fiction, fantasy, computer games, and Dungeons and Dragons. It’s also likely that you had a physical appearance that could best be described as “in progress.” Making friends wasn’t your strong suit, and your parents didn’t know what to do with you since you weren’t involved in athletics, but stayed out of trouble. Finding people who understood you was difficult, but there was one outlet you could turn to for self-actualization: cartoons.
There were two features that made the cartoons of the 1980s better than previous decades. First, the art was better. The growing popularity of anime (“Japanimation”) provided a style that cartoon creators tried to import or emulate. Second, there was a focus on diversity. Quick, name a Black character in “The Flintstones?” How about in “The Jetsons?” If you’re struggling, that’s because most of those pre-1980s cartoons had all white casts. However, the ’80s provided a wealth of diverse casts with strong Black characters. And, somewhat surprisingly, many of them were Blerds.
Here’s a roundup of five cartoon Blerds from the 1980s and the lessons they provided for Blerds of today. The first four are examples of great Blerd role models, but the last one is a cautionary tale.
1. Walter “Doc” Hartford
Series: The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers (1986 – 1989)
Description: Mixing Star Wars with the American Western genre, this series was set in the future when interstellar space travel became possible. The cartoon followed the story of four “rangers” who could unlock superhuman powers by touching their badges and unlocking their Series 5 implants. The four rangers were Zachary Foxx, Shane “Goose” Gooseman, Niko, and, of course, Walter “Doc” Hartford.
Blerd Bonafides: Doc was a master technologist who was responsible for most of the technology used by the team. His Series 5 implant augmented his already immense mastery of computers. Doc’s mobile computer also carried six pet programs (called “tweakers”) that looked like flying sparks of light and helped him understand and control almost any type of technology.
What Doc Taught Us: Being a master of computers doesn’t mean you can’t be cool. Always remaining calm and maintaining an impeccable set of manners can get you far in life. Also, a sense of humor makes you more attractive in both platonic and romantic relationships. However, being mannerly doesn’t make you a punk. Draw your weapons with the quickness when necessary. Finally, before fixing a technology problem, confidently saying out loud, “The doctor will now operate,” increases your chance of success to almost 100 percent.
2. J.D. ‘IQ’ Bennett
Series: Bionic Six (1987 – 1989)
Description: Set in the near future, this show followed a family of bionically enhanced superheroes. They included Bionic-1 (the father), Mother-1 (the mother), Sport-1 (their biological son), Rock-1 (their biological daughter), Karate-1 (their adopted Japanese son), and, the Blerd of the family, IQ (their adopted Black son).
Blerd Bonafides: While IQ is the strongest member of the team, his bionics provided him with super-human intelligence. He is often tasked with providing technological solutions to problems faced by the family or come up with smart solutions to difficult problems.
What IQ Taught Us: You can have a quiet personality and still be an effective team member. While others (sometimes including family members) may try to claim the spotlight with their oversized egos, an introspective nature provides the ability to find innovative answers that they will overlook. Being consistently good is better than momentary flashes of greatness.
3. Baldwin P. ‘Bulletproof’ Vess
Series: COPS (1988 – 1989)
Description: This cartoon was set in the year 2020 and followed a special group of law enforcement agents called COPS (Central Organization of Police Specialists). Their members came from all over the United States and represented various types of law enforcement personnel including vice, K-9, motorcycle patrol, helicopter patrol, and others. They were led by Bulletproof who was given a cybernetic torso after being critically injured during a fight with the main antagonist of the show.
Blerd Bonafides: While rarely using technology, Bulletproof was living technology. His torso consisted of an android replacement that, in keeping with his nickname, made him impervious to gunfire. He also had a computer port in his bionic torso that he could use to attach a cable to machines and control them. His torso also had storage areas that held disks. He could attach these disks to machines that would short-circuit or destroy them.
What Bulletproof Taught Us: Your intimacy with technology can sometimes result in distance between you and others, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a great team leader. In fact, your ability to be objective is an invaluable asset when mediating conflicts between team members. Also, while you may not immediately share it with everyone, always have a plan.
4. Edward ‘Turbo’ Hayes
Series: Rambo: The Force of Freedom (1986)
Description: Capitalizing off the tremendous success of the Rambo movies of the early 1980s, this cartoon portrayed a toned- down Rambo, who is the leader of a special operations group called the Force of Freedom. His team included Katherine Ann Taylor (an Asian master of disguise), White Dragon (also Asian), T.D. Jones, Chief (Native American), and the Blerd of the team, Edward “Turbo” Hayes, a mechanical engineer, pilot, and race car driver.
Blerd Bonafides: Turbo provided the technology tools used by the team and usually handled their transportation needs, whether it was a plane or vehicle. He was always called upon to fix any electrical or mechanical problem.
What Turbo Taught Us: While most of the cartoons of the 1980s focused on the team concept, this one always reinforced Rambo’s superiority. This meant that Rambo often had to “save the day” when the actions of his team mates were portrayed as ineffective.
You may work in an environment with one or more Rambo-type, who excels at emphasizing their accomplishments and making it seem like your contribution is not as important. If that’s the case, you should stay calm, play your position and focus on flawless delivery of your own work. That’s the best way to position yourself for the next opportunity.
5. Black Vulcan
Series: Super Friends (1980 – 1985)
Description: If you were a kid in the 1980s, then you definitely remember the Super Friends cartoons. What you may not remember is that there were several incarnations of the show including The All-New Super Friends Hour and Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. The cartoon featured popular DC Comics heroes such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but the creators introduced three characters that did not exist in the comics at the time. They were Apache Chief (Native American), Samurai (Asian), and Black Vulcan (African-American).
Blerd Bonafides: Black Vulcan was a master of electricity with the ability to fire lightning bolts from his hands and fly by transforming his lower torso into electricity. He could also use his powers to fix circuit boards by soldering them, which hints at some level of expertise in electrical engineering.
What Black Vulcan Taught Us: Black Vulcan was an unfortunate example of how to not be a Blerd. He demonstrated that even being an electrical wizard is no replacement for an identity. Everyone else on the Super Friends had a real name, but Black Vulcan was always just Black Vulcan. He also had no back story that explained how he got his powers. You have to let people know that you’re a person with a history outside of work or you risk being treated as an inferior.
If Batman ever runs late for a meeting, then his team mates can say, “Hey, he’s billionaire Bruce Wayne so we’ll cut him some slack.” Or, if Superman ever drops the ball, then it’s understood that he’s reporter Clark Kent so he has to maintain his journalism gig. But, Black Vulcan? He has no excuse.
So, get your work done, but let everyone know you have a personality as well as a personal life. Otherwise, you risk being painted with stereotypes and discarded during times of stress (e.g., layoffs, recessions, etc.)
Anjuan Simmons has worked in the technology industry for over two decades. He is also the author of “Minority Tech: Journaling Through Blackness and Technology” (http://www.MinorityTech.com). You can find out more about him at http://www.AnjuanSimmons.com.