Native American Superheroes
By Steven Phelps
“What popped into my head was Predator ,” he says. “There was a Native character—Billy—and he’s a lot of people’s favorite from that movie.” Cherokee and Seminole actor Sonny Landham famously played Billy alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the cult classic. Sheyahshe says that although Billy’s place in Predator’s ensemble cast of ethnicities is not original—it has its roots in the World War II comic Sgt. Rock—the film differs in that the Native character is not just a magical way to resolve the story.
“That particular character in that movie is one of the toughest, the one to take on death, the unknown force. Even though in some circles that reinforces the stereotype, that’s still a favorite character for a lot of people,” he says.
Sheyahshe also comments on "The Evolution of Three Great Native Superheroes." More like two mediocre Native superheroes and one good one, but never mind. His capsule comments:
American Eagle’s character is “a significant improvement” for not having powers with an ethnic origin (such as tribal ancestor magic or powers from the Great Spirit).
Also notable in the recent relaunch, says Sheyahshe, is “a newfound sense of humor that was missing from the 1980s version … and remains absent in most mainstream media representations.”
[S]he is a strong female presence in a medium where many women characters are relegated to the sidelines.
For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.