Whether “Hancock” ends up as a fantastic attempt at creating a franchise around an original hero, or just a pure messy product of a big star known for hits like “Wild Wild West” and… ugh… “Men in Black” will be irrelevant in the end. Because even after the receipts have been counted, the message is loud and clear. “Hancock” is a try for a superhero that’s anything other than Caucasian. In a season of comic book movies where all the major men in tights are white, “Hancock” seems to be Will Smith’s own Superman. It’s his superhero.
And that inspired this new list. Our top 10 Minority Superheroes. Most of whom could make for some interesting movies. Oddly enough I had a tough time finding great minority superheroes, wouldn’t you know it? I could have opted for more Asian choices but they’re already quite prominent in comics and pop culture with the same glut of stereotypes, but with much more accessibility. Hispanic and African American Superheroes, though? The pot strains it thin, but I was up for the challenge.
No, not the lame comic book Static, I mean Static Shock, the revamp from television that fixed the mistakes from the cliche character from DC turning him in to someone interesting, complex, and exciting. He was so entertaining to watch in fact, that he eventually became a part of the DC Animated Universe canon. Originally created in the secondary label of DC Comics, “Milestone,” Static was your ordinary superhero who’d occasionally make crossovers with lame knock offs like Steel and Supergirl, but never really had anything to do. Then there was the television series and pretty much all of that changed. In the much needed change, Static is Virgil Hawkins, a young boy whose mother was killed one night on the job as an EMT.
The series explored Virgil’s attempts to grieve her death, all the while being hit with an experimental gas that turns him in to an electrified superhero facing a city who hates his kind of super powered metahuman. The series was so influential is grabbed some great cross overs with the Justice League, Virgil inevitably popped up in an epic storyline of the “Justice League” television series, and ended with one Daytime Emmy. Static Shock was always a very positive and entertaining superhero who faced real world issues like a school shooting, drugs, and questioning the love of his own mother on many occasions, all the while fighting a variety of interesting super villains, all of whom were thankfully minority.
For a long time, Night Thrasher was one of my favorite Superheroes/anti-heroes. He was a part of that entertaining super team “The New Warriors” and hid behind one of the cooler costumes I can fondly remember. A face mask with a grate covering his face, an all black ninja costume, and arm controlled billy clubs that made him a character I always wanted to see more of. You could imagine how happy I was when he grabbed his own mini series from Marvel.
Sure, his origins and every ability he possesses is a rip off of Batman in some sense, but his color scheme matched with his strong leadership abilities of the New Warriors back in the nineties made him as interesting a character with none of the real momentum from Kane’s creation. He was often very quiet, tough, and put up a fight for almost any super villain he and his team confronted in the series, and he’s still a fond memory of my youth where comics were my life.
Have no assumptions when you catch this choice. I was born admiring and reading a white Nick Fury with white sides over his brown hair, and a background that extends in to World War II. I was born with the original Nick Fury, thus I think he should remain the original Nick Fury. But that’s not to say that this revamp of the character isn’t one hell of a great creation. How many prominent African American characters are there in Marvel, really? It’s tough, even if unintentional.
This Nick Fury was born of the revamped Marvel Universe where Fury made appearances in the Ultimate Universe tussling with Spider -Man, The Avengers, even the Incredible Hulk becoming a dominant force in both verses while Mark Millar connected him to the likes of folks such as Wolverine and Iron Man. If you don’t know this already: creator Mark Millar modeled this Fury after actor Samuel L. Jackson with the actual consent of the actor. Which explains his potential leading role in the upcoming Avengers movie, and his cameo in “Iron Man.” This Nick Fury is a Fury for the modern age, and while my loyalties lie with the classic Fury, I have to show some respect to Millar for taking such an important character and giving him a twist that revived him for new readers.
Maybe you know this character, perhaps you don’t, but back when I was trying to invent my own web comic, I happened across Stealth and read the first two issues. We had many options for a slot on this list, but I’m admittedly a fan of this series and felt it warranted some recognition. Then I realized how jealous I was of creator William Satterwhite for imagining such an interesting and compelling homage to Spider-Man with his very own superhero called Stealth.
He’s a little bit of the inner city realism, matched with some damn fine writing that undermines every such stereotype to retain a dignified look at young Allen, a boy who is struck by lightning and survives to discover that he’s been granted mysterious super powers that enhance his strength, intelligence, and healing ability. If you haven’t read it yet, “Stealth” is an entertaining web comic that’s granted some success that’s hardly minor. It continues on with its popular web series, but retains its quality even in light of its notability among many of the other thousand web comics online right now. Try reading the comic sometime, it’s pretty damn cool.
In the nineties, one of my favorite superheroes was also War Machine. I’ve always personally found Iron Man to be a very lame second tier Marvel character who had potential to be entertaining but was much too irritating and boring to read most times. There was War Machine, though. He had some great dark gray armor matched with white armed with almost endless weapons. I remember bringing home the mini-series from the news stand and found James Rhodes to be so much more an interesting character than Tony Stark ever was.
When Stark was apparently killed, War Machine took up the job of fighting his greatest villains and did the job, up until Stark returned from the dead. That’s comics for you, isn’t it? There were seeds of foreshadowing in the “Iron Man” movie as Rhodes contemplated the idea of War Machine in the film, and that should be something. Rhodes has always been the thrilling second hand to Stark who keeps up the military end while trying to knock some sense in to the man on occasions that warrant it. War Machine was always so much cooler than Iron Man. There, I said it.
Such an important character of the Marvel Universe has been sadly misused in the final X-Men movie where she was a Hispanic girl… with Super speed! Ooh! Rather than an important villain of the mythos who had a greater standing beyond arguing with Magneto. Don’t follow that lame reproduction in that sub-par Brett Ratner sequel. In actuality, Callisto is the one eyed leader of the underground mutant group, the Morlocks, a race of mutants who are so ugly or possess powers so debilitating, that they simply can not function in the outside world. Callisto is the ring leader who proceeds to turn her group in to basic terrorists punishing the average citizens who dwell in the subways. Later, she and her brood battled the X -Men and fought for control of the group with Storm. After a heated hand to hand battle, Storm remained victorious and in future incarnations became part of the Mutant movement, atoning for her crimes.
Okay, so I cheated with this character a little bit, but do you know how small the list for great minority characters is? It’s shocking. You can’t find many characters in comics who aren’t stereotypes. Obviously modeled after Halle Berry by creator Mark Millar, The Fox is more of a super villain who is the proud member of the fraternity of Super Villains planning to take on the world after snuffing out all of the existing superheroes on Earth.
The Fox is technically a super villain, sure, but she’s a very heroic and entertaining model of the femme fatale who is granted the task of training Wesley Gibson after his father is assassinated one night. She pops up to force her will on him, and then slaughters a whole restaurant to prove how true to her word she is as being “Untouchable.” As the story progresses and the villains begin to turn on one another, The Fox becomes a saving grace and mentor to Wesley who uses her street smarts and wits to help him during his gun fights, and teaches him that sacrifices must be made if you want to move on to the next part of your life. What a great character. I’d have loved to see Halle Berry playing her.
This dude was yet another of my favorite comic characters from the mid to early nineties. He was a fourth tier Robocop rehash who really had nothing to do even in his own series. Deathlok had so much potential to be an entertaining cyborg anti-hero in the vein of Punisher, but for the very few out there who remember him, he deserved to be more recognized among his fictional peers. Almost like a Nick Fury gone wrong, the Deathlok I remember was Luther Manning, a man who was nearly destroyed physically in war, who is then transferred in to a cybernetic exoskeleton. I mostly remember talking to friends about the way Deathlok looked. A skeletal face, pig noce, and that large half of his face covered by metal and a big red robotic eye. It’s a wonder where the design for Kano from Mortal Kombat came from, isn’t it? Respek.
You know who this guy is, don’t you? He’s the African American vampire hunter whose mother was a vampire, thus born as a half vampire and half human being. He vowed to avenge her death by swearing to hunt down all vampires like the menace they are, and confronted the cream of the crop of vampires in the Marvel Universe. He’s been the nemesis of and allies with Morbius the Living Vampire, and has also taken up swords and fists against Dracula himself!
Marv Wolfman has been credited for many things, but he succeeded in creating a very interesting and complex character like Blade in the mid-seventies who was above the stereotypes and managed to gain pop culture fame in the nineties with his comic book movie franchise that kept Wesley Snipes in the spotlight for a little longer, and became one of the few minority superhero movies we’ve seen in almost two decades. Blade is such a great character, and it showed with his faithful adaptation that expanded in to a larger universe in a trilogy that was mostly hit or miss, and short lived series. As a fan of monster hunters, Blade is one of the best.
As a young lad I always loved my superheroes with edge but with a better sense of person and Spawn was never all that interesting to me then. He was moody, annoying, and often too tedious to justify sitting through an issue. But later on my cousin passed on a few issues from his series, and I found that there was more to Spawn that met the eye. Even in light of his awful movie, Spawn has been one of the more influential comic book characters of all time, with an origin that often left readers wondering if he was on the side of good, or evil. Born out of the deepest pits of hell, Spawn is the haunted demon manifestation of Al Simmons, a CIA Operative murdered and burned alive only to awaken in the underworld where he’s offered the chance to lead the armys of Malebogia in to Earth.
Carrying out the mission and bargaining, Spawn looms in the outskirts of the ghettos living among the homeless while confronting hellish menaces and visiting his family from the past life. “Spawn” was always such a complex and diverse series with a world that stretched in to oblivion chronicling Al’s descent in to the demonic forces, using those powers granted by Malebogia to atone for the sins he committed while alive. Spawn was all the rage when unleashed on news stands and comic book stores, and launched Todd McFarlane to the upper echelon’s of comic fame. Though the movie is awful, the HBO series was wonderful, and Spawn is a horror comic done right.