February 22, 2007

The changing face of comics

Comic book exhibit at FSUMinorities had an even tougher path to superhero status [than women]. Aside from some truly silly stereotypes, the first black hero was an African prince named Black Panther in the mid-’60s—nearly a full generation after women became heroic.

He was followed by The Falcon and then Red Wolf, who was the first Native American superhero.

Perhaps the most public evolution of a minority character came when DC Comics re-introduced the Green Lantern as a black man.


Anonymous said...

John Stewart was always one of my favorite comic book characters. I'm glad they chose him to be the Green Lantern in the animated "Justice League" series on the Cartoon Network a couple of years ago.

His short-lived "Mosaic" series was quite enjoyable too.

Gargantuan Van said...

Yes, it's true that female superheroes debuted before minorities, but sexualized figures parading for an audience of twelve-year-old boys isn't exactly a victory for feminism.

(of course, I haven't much looked into the subject...hopefully I'm wrong and there was a lesser-known female character who was more than merely breasts and legs...)

Rob said...

You raise an interesting challenge, Gargantuan Van. So many female superheroes are "sexualized figures" that it's hard to think of exceptions. Who was the first female superhero who wasn't a sexualized figure?


Many of the Legion of Super-Heroes girls were practically asexual, even though they wore mini-skirts or one-piece bathing suits. How about Saturn Girl (c. 1960)? Her costume didn't reveal any skin, her personality was sometimes described as icy, and she was an acknowledged team leader.