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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Characters of Colour in superhero comics - the men (part two)

Continuing our series , we will now look at some of Marvel comics' male characters of colour.
You can read previous entries on women (part one), women (part two), men (part one)men (part three), the X (wo)men, non superhero comics, men (part four), men part five and finally women (part three) and a Spider-man.

The Black Panther -There are two characters with the Black Panther title.  T'Challa, created in the 1960s and his sister, Shuri, created more recently. T'Challa is the king of a fictional African nation called Wakanda. The local god is the Panther Spirit, the king as the champion of the people is considered the living avatar of the Panther God on Earth hence the ceremonial Black Panther identity. He is married to Storm of the X-Men (of whom, you can read here) and recently renounced the Panther identity, passing the monarchy and identity to his sister Shuri.

Marvel are using this change of identity to send T'Challa on a hero's journey storyline in the pages of Black Panther: The Man Without Fear with him taking over the protection of Hell's Kitchen from the recently disgraced Daredevil. The first collection of the series, Urban Jungle, will be published in July.

You can read T'Challa as Black Panther in Who is the Black Panther, Black Panther: Bad Mutha, Black Panther: The Bride, Black Panther: Civil War, Black Panther: Four the Hard Way, Black Panther: Little Green Men, Black Panther: Back to Africa and Black Panther: Secret Invasion (this last trade ties in to the Marvel event named Secret Invasion so probably isn't a good place to start).  You can read about Shuri as Black Panther in Black Panther: Deadliest of the Species (this comes after the previous listed books).

The name Black Panther is nothing to do with the political movement.
EDITED 3/01/2013 to add - I have now read a couple of Black Panther trades and it's a really powerful story.  Wakanda is a nation that has never been conquered.  The subjects live wealthy, healthy lives and are technologically far more advanced than a lot of other nations.  They retain their traditional customs and dress whilst being better than every other nation.  This is a really powerful and positive message.
War Machine, or James Rhodes as his mother calls him, is Iron Man's best friend, African-American and an air force liaison for Stark Industries.  You might have seen him in the second Iron Man film.  He was introduced as a supporting character but has worked as Iron Man a few times, when Tony Stark has been incapacitated by alcoholism or death.  A few of his notable story arcs have been collected, they are as follows:

Iron Man: War Machine, Secret Invasion: War Machine (like the Black Panther book mentioned above, this ties into Marvel's big Secret Invasion event so may not be the best place to start), War Machine Vol. 1: Iron Heart and War Machine Vol. 2: Dark Reign.

Amadeus Cho is Korean-American. He's a boy genius sort, introduced by Greg Pak and Fred van Lente to work as the brain to Hercules brawn in The Incredible Hercules, according to our reviewer James, one of the best series Marvel has put out in recent years. Recommendations for him are Incredible Hercules: The Mighty Thorcules in which he has a solo storyline running alongside an extremely silly Hercules storyline; Incredible Hercules: Love And War in which he is captured and used by some Amazons to try and take over the world by locating Atlas; and Incredible Hercules: The New Prince Of Power in which he finds himself thrust into the position of succeeding Hercules. 

Patriot, Eli Bradley, is African-American.  He takes the Captain America role in the Young Avengers series and is the grandson of the only surviving member of the black platoon experimented on in Captain America: The Truth.  This was a background series for Captain America published during Marvel's great risk taking phase in the 2000s. It posited that before the super soldier process was used on blond-haired blue-eyed Steve Rogers it was used experimentally on a platoon of black soldiers. It was an allegorical indictment of real life incidents recently discovered, concerning experiments carried out on black soldiers in the years before the US armed forces were de-segregated.  You can read about Patriot in Young Avengers Presents and Young Avengers Ultimate Collection (this one is a bit more pricey).


  1. I really like the Black Panther in general.
    Loved the arc from Priest in the 90s when the villain Killmonger became the BP for a while.

    But my favorite's easily Shuri^__^
    I just love her!
    Probably because she has that "learning curve", trying to become a hero/deal with problems overall arc. Like, say, Spider-man and other classic superheroes.

  2. oh how i wish you had included Bronze Tiger in this posting:


  3. one more thing i saw your posting about black women heroes part 1 and i'm delighted to see you included Amanda Waller & Vixen. there was so much controversy about Angela Basset playing Waller in the Green Lantern movie. if you want to see my take on that after i saw the movie you can go here: http://suicidesquadtaskforcex.blogspot.com/

  4. @ David: Have no fear, there are more posts in this series coming up! Bronze Tiger will be included.
    It was a delight to see Amanda Waller on the big screen.