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Blacks In Comics
By Dan Corbett



Steel (John Henry Irons)

1st Appearance: SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL #22, 1993:

Irons is a scientific genius who took the “Death of Superman” as a personal call to arms. Indebted to Superman for saving and changing his life, Irons tried to fill gapping hole that Superman’s absence left in Metropolis. After Superman’s return, he became the JLA’s resident inventor and technological miracle worker. His fondness for gadgets is only surpassed by his love of his family and his devotion to his duties. And he’s finally living his American dream as the true Man of Steel.

Green Lantern (John Stewart) 

1st Appearance: GREEN LANTERN #87, 1977:

A true fighting spirit. He began his career as Hal Jordan’s backup, but soon became a respected Green Lantern and was even put in charge of Oa, the Corps home planet. He would later lead the Darkstars in a failed attempt to replace the decimated GL Corps that would leave him close to death. Though paralyzed from the waist down, John remains a strong voice of reason and supportive mentor for the current Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. He is currently seen on Cartoon Network's Justice League.

War Machine (James Rhodes)

1st Appearance: IRON MAN #281, 1993:

Jim Rhodes is one of the only men in the Marvel Universe to wear the Iron Man armor, and he wore it quite successfully, too. One of Tony Stark’s oldest friends, Jim filled in while Tony was recuperating from his alcoholism and other personal problem and made the armor his own. When Stark returned to resume the role, it created a rift in their friendship and made Jim even more determined to make his mark as a superhero. Heavily armed and with a no-nonsense approach, he definitely embodies his namesake, but has recently faded from public eye.

Article continued below advertisement

Brian Jacks' Addition

Sgt. Rob Little

1st Appearance: THE 'NAM #1, 1986:

Rob Little was a regular man who was thrust into an extraordinary situation, born out of service to his country. Throughout his experiences in Vietnam, we watched Rob and his platoon grow from young adults into old men, and the horrors that true war brings. Epitomized through Mike Golden's incredible artwork, we witnessed children blowing themselves up, point-blank executions, American and Vietnamese soldiers being slaughtered, and the daily cycles of violence. The racism that was so prevalent at home was washed away by the camaraderie of brothers-in-arms. Rob was at the forefront throughout, and was also profiled in an amazing issue set at present time showing Rob visiting the gravesite of his brother who was killed in Vietnam. Rob Little may not have been born with superpowers, but he and the rest of the 4/23 Mechanized Infantry certainly developed them along the way.


Ed Mathews' Addition

Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce)

1st Appearance: BLACK LIGHTNING #1, 1977:

Tony Isabella, comic veteran and writer of Tony's Tips in CBG, created DC Comics' first black superhero, Black Lightning, a man with powerful electrical/lightning powers. Black Lightning has the secret identity of Jefferson Pierce, high school teacher who is currently on President Lex Luthor's cabinet as Secretary of Education. Issue #1 debuted in 1977 for a cover price of 30 cents. Black Lightning is one of the few characters from that period where the creator had some stake in his character. This caused some tension when Hanna-Barberra created the character of Black Vulcan, managing to avoid paying royalties on the character of Black Lightning for the cartoon version of the JLA known as the Superfriends. Black Lightning has been a team member of Batman and the Outsiders and showed up on Saturday Night Live during a skit where everyone was attending Superman's funeral. He was played by Sinbad. Go, you. 


Related Links:
Museum of Black Superheroes

Stop Trying to Eliminate Ethnic Legends

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