DAR Comics: The Top 10 Black Superheroes Of All Time

By @kingvaughnjr720 (Vaughn Resper Jr)

Lately, there has been a renaissance of Black Superheroes. With the impact of Black Panther in "Captain America: Civil War" as well as the success of the show "Luke Cage" on Netflix, there has been  noticeably a greater rise of prominence for black heroes. Originally, black heroes were not taken as seriously. However, we have seen steady progress with the creation of a black Spider-Man (Miles Morales) as well as a black female teenager taking over the Ironman Armor (Riri Williams). This is a smart and creative move on Marvel's behalf to establish diversity among two of their most iconic figureheads, while still keeping the originals (Peter Parker, Tony Stark) in the mix.

With all of that said, it is time to pay homage to the greatest and most significant black superheroes in comic book History. These are the heroes that left the biggest mark on the comic book world. Here is my list of the top 10 black superheroes of all-time:

10. Bishop:
Comic World: Marvel
Real Name: Lucas "Luke" Bishop
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #282 (November 1991)

Energy Absorption
Beyond peak human strength that becomes near superhuman with absorption
Time Travel
Agility, Stamina, Intelligence
High Tech Gadgets
Weapon Mastery

Lucas Bishop is a mutant from Earth's future, where he grew up in a time when mutants were persecuted. This was a time where the Sentinels took over control of North America. Bishop's grandmother raised him and his sister Shard as she told them stories of the X-Men heroes of the past. Lucas grew up in an Apocalyptic Age where he was blasted back to the time of the same X-Men that he heard stories about. Bishop would join those same X-Men after finding out who they were. He is considered by many to not only be the "last X-Men", but one of the strongest X-Men of all-time thanks to his ability to absorb energy. The first time that Bishop received any kind of focus was when he appeared in the X-Men Animated series, during the Days of Future Past storyline. Bishop was also featured in the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie in 2015.

9. Falcon: 
Comic World: Marvel
Real Name: Sam Wilson
First Appearance: Captain America #117 (September 1969)

Telepathic link with birds. 
He is able to command birds telepathically and verbally.
Master Martial Artist
Master Aerialist
Master Acrobat
Weapons Master

Special Suit: Falcon's suit is a Wakandan creation that consists of jet powered glider wings. They are charged by sunlight and linked to Sam's brain to enhance the speed and ease of the functionality. It also has talons that can capture enemies, along with a mask that enhances his vision to 360-degree range. The suit also has infrared and superhuman capabilities.

Falcon is the very first African-American comic book hero in history, as well as the second Black superhero of all-time (Black Panther is from Africa). He has been important to the Marvel Universe since he became Captain America's sidekick to fight side by side with the SHIELD. Sam Wilson was rescued by Captain America from the mind control of Red Skull. Since then, Sam has become one of Steve's greatest allies. Falcon has received greater exposure with his portrayal in the Captain America movies.

8. Static Shock
Comic World: DC
Real Name: Virgil Hawkins
First Appearance: Static Shock #1 (June 1993)

Electromagnetic phenomena generation
Super-conduction manipulation
Electrical manipulation
Magnetism manipulation
Telepathic resistance
Wireless communication interaction
Expert scientist, inventor, and strategist

Virgil Hawkins was a sharp-tongued honor roll student in high school before his superhero career began. Virgil was bullied so much that he joined the gang wars of Dakota. The wars escalated to a showdown at the Dakota docks. Though Hawkins was not a threat, his presence was critical at the event. This became known as the "Big Bang" because when the police arrived, they fired shots at gas canisters that detonated and killed 90% of the people in the area. Virgil survived, but the gas from the "Big Bang" charged his body with electricity, giving him electrical powers. This is where Static Shock was born. Virgil's daily struggles with teen bullying can resonate with fans, similar to how Peter Parker's (Spider-Man) story gives fans something to identify with. Static Shock makes this list, because of his cultural and generational impact especially among black comic book fans. He is someone that we can connect with and understand.

7. War Machine: 
Comic World: Marvel
Real Name: James Rhodes
First Appearance: Iron Man #118 (January 1979)

Superhuman Strength
Superhuman Speed
Variety of offensive & defensive weapons (missiles & lasers)
Experienced soldier trained in armed & unarmed combat

Colonel James Rhodes was a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, where he did tours of duty in Southeast Asia. James Rhodes helped Tony Stark shut down the base of a Viet Cong rocket fire. As a display of gratitude, Tony offered James a job as his personal pilot. After the Vietnam War was over, Rhodes took different career paths including mercenary work before accepting Stark's offer. Col. Rhodes would also become the chief aviation engineer for Stark Enterprises and one of Tony's closest friends. War Machine is seen as the Scottie Pippen to Iron Man's Michael Jordan. Just like Pippen, War Machine is a very valuable sidekick to have by your side. Before he would receive his own armor, Rhodes took over the role of Iron Man when Stark fell into his relapse of alcoholism. As the new Iron Man, Rhodey defeated Magma. To combat Justin Hammer's Masters of Silence Army, Stark designed a "Variable Threat Response Battle Suit" also known as "War Machine" (Model XVI, Mark I), a more heavily armed version of the Iron Man armor. War Machine's contributions have been vital to not only Iron Man himself, but the Avengers as a collective unit.

6. Blade:
Comic World: Marvel
Real Name: Eric Brooks
First Appearance: The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973)

Superhuman Strength (1 ton), Stamina, Speed, Agility, Durability and Reflexes
Regenerative Healing Factor
Ability to sense undead or Supernatural creatures
Skilled swordsman, martial artist, and marksman

Blade's mother Tara Brooks was a prostitute that lived in a brothel in England in 1929. When Brooks was pregnant, she experienced severe labor complication. Dr. Deacon Frost (a vampire in disguise), was called to help Tara. Instead, Frost fed on Tara until she died. When the brothel residents discovered the details of her murder, they chased him off. However, the baby was still delivered. The child's name was Eric Brooks. As a result of a transfer of enzymes between his mother and the vampire, Eric was born half human and half vampire. While training under the tutelage of vampire hunter Jamal Afari, Blade developed his fighting skill by routinely dispatching young, less powerful fighters. Blade also developed excellent weapon prowess as that is how he earned his nickname. Blade's supreme excellence with swords and weapons earned him a reputation that caused him to be feared both by vampires and vampire hunters. Thanks to his vampire DNA, Blade has many vampire abilities from strength, speed, and prolonged life. However, he has not inherited vampire weaknesses such as not being able to stand in the sun. Blade would also have encounters with the ultimate vampire, Dracula himself. In the late 90's, Blade's popularity exploded from his cameo in the Spider-Man animated series to the successful movies where he is portrayed by Wesley Snipes.

5. Cyborg:
Comic World: DC
Real Name: Victor Stone
First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980)

Superhuman strength, durability, and highly skilled in hand to hand combat
Genius-level intellect
Supersonic Flight
Advanced Weaponry and Technology
Instant Weaponry
Control over Technology
Computer Hacking

Victor Stone is the son of two STAR labs Scientists who wanted to use their research to advance mankind. However, Victor resented his parents because it seemed that they preferred their science work over him. Victor's parents used him as a subject for an experiment to increase his intelligence to genius level. The experiment was a success but he chose to excel in sports as a star football player. Victor's life would forever be changed one day when his parents were conducting an inter-dimensional experiment. Unfortunately, this experiment went wrong as a protoplasmic creature got loose in the lab and killed Victor's mother and critically injured him. Victor's father, Silas Stone was able to send the creature back and save his son's life by using untested cybernetic enhancements to rebuild him. Victor was enraged about what his father did to him because he could not fit into society with other human beings. From this point, he became known as "Cyborg" which is short for Cybernetic-Organism. Cyborg would become friends with the Teen Titans, especially with Beast Boy. As a member of the New Teen Titans, Cyborg's impact as one of the leaders helped their popularity reach new heights with the classic original Teen Titans Cartoon along with the current Teen Titans Go. Cyborg was instrumental in the Titans many battles with the likes of Deathstroke and others. Cyborg's success with the Teen Titans led to his promotion to the Justice League. He would replace Martian Manhunter as the team's Technology and Information expert. He is now part of the New 52 Lineup of the Justice League, most notably making an appearance in the Video Game Injustice: Gods Among Us along with Flashpoint Paradox, Batman vs. Superman, along with other adaptations. Cyborg has had a profound generational impact when it comes to the audience of black comic book fans. He has grown to become an exceptional character in his own right and one of the strongest and most popular black superheroes of all-time. Cyborg's legacy speaks for itself as it continues to grow with the Justice League movie and other projects. Booyah!!

4. Luke Cage:
Comic World: Marvel
Real Name: Carl Lucas
First Appearance: Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972)

Superhuman Strength (25 tons), durability and stamina
Invincible skin highly impervious to temperature and damage (bulletproof)
Accelerated healing factor
Extraordinary street fighting skills in hand to hand combat

Growing up in Harlem, Carl Lucas had a troubled childhood in a street gang called the Rivals. He was known for his fighting skills and ability to handle weapons and blades. When Lucas became disinterested in gangs, he decided to turn his life around and join the police force even though his friend Stryker rose in the crime world. Meanwhile, Lucas and Stryker remained friends. However, their friendship would become fractured when Stryker's girlfriend dumped him for Lucas. Stryker set Carl up by planting drugs in his home to frame him as he called the police. Carl would also have to deal with jealousy and betrayal from his brother James, Jr. while in prison. This angered him even more. Desperate to escape prison, Lucas accepted a deal to be a part of Dr. Noah Burstein's experiment that would reduce his jail time. The experiment was for experimental cell regeneration based on a variant of a Super-soldier procedure that Burstein used to empower Warhawk. Lucas was left unattended in an electrical field to start the experimentation. Meanwhile, a racist prison guard named Albert "Billy Bob" Rackham altered the experiment's controls in an attempt to maim or kill Lucas. Rackham pushed the intensity of the experiment beyond what it was intended to be. Instead, this left Lucas with super strength and durability. Lucas would use his newly acquired powers to break out of prison and return to New York City. From that point moving forward, Carl Lucas changed his name to Luke Cage and became a hero for hire. Eventually, Luke's innocence was restored and he opened a Hero-for-Hire office in Times Square, Manhattan. Known for his partnership with Iron Fist, Luke Cage's popularity has increased as he has become more of a fixture in the Marvel Universe over the years. Luke Cage's show on Netflix did record numbers as it became the most-watched show in Netflix History. His show absolutely broke the Internet as it became the top trend on Twitter at one point. As we live in the Era of the Black Lives Matter Movement, the concept of Luke Cage is intriguing. Luke is a bullet-proof, Black Superhero with superhuman strength who wears a hoodie. That concept brings empowerment as well as a form of intimidation to certain groups of people. Luke Cage has also picked up momentum being featured in the New Avengers and as a principle character in the Avengers comics and Marvel video games. In Marvel's series of Variant Hip Hop Covers, they paid homage to rap icon LL Cool J's BAD Album from 1987 by having Luke Cage stand on top of the car just like LL himself. LL even posted the cover on his Instagram page. Luke Cage and Black Panther are leading the way as Marvel's top black super-heroes when it comes to ideas for movies, cartoons, and TV series. What Luke is doing for television, Marvel expects Black Panther to do on the movie side.

3. Green Lantern (John Stewart):
Comic World: DC
Real Name: John Stewart
First Appearance: Green Lantern/Green Arrow vol. 2 #87 (December 1971/January 1972)

Wields the ring of the Green Lantern Corps that enables flight at various speeds, invulnerability, generates force fields, and the use of solid green energy to create projectile attacks, as well as defend or grab objects according to the imagination and will of the ring wearer. 
Translates nearly all languages
Communicates to ring wielders, regardless of distance apart
Creation and emission of certain types of radiation with kryptonite
Accelerated healing of wounds

John Stewart holds a very significant part in the history of black superheroes because of his story. Stewart is not only the first black hero that DC has ever had, but he was also a breath of fresh air for the Green Lantern franchise. For years, the Green Lantern was portrayed by white characters from Allan Scott to Hal Jordan to later on Guy Gardner. DC itself had a track record of lily-white characters who were the face of their brand, which is what caused them to become stagnant as Marvel started to implement diversity with the emergence of Black Panther and Falcon to shake things up. Marvel was just a more relatable brand that fans could connect with in general because they tackled real issues and diversity. Marvel started taking more risks, which left DC in the dust. In response, DC pulled the trigger by changing the face of one of their central characters. DC made a move that would be a game changer for them as they would replace Hal Jordan with John Stewart as the Leader and face of the Green Lantern Corps. Artist Neal Adams and Editor Julius Schwartz had a conversation and decided to make this change given the racial makeup of the world's population. According to Adams, he and Schwartz made this choice "we ought to have a black Green Lantern, not because we're liberals, but because it makes sense". It was a move that would show fans that DC knew about the state of our society in regards to race. Even though Hal Jordan was one of the founding members of the Justice League, the staff at DC Comics wanted to go into a new direction because they had enough white characters. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and others were the faces of the Justice League. DC felt that Hal Jordan wasn't as sustainable as the other characters so he was the most expendable. This was an investment that turned out to be a great decision in the long run because Stewart became the most popular and successful Green Lantern in the current era of comics. This is due in large part to his role in the Justice League Unlimited series and the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game. John Stewart's story is similar to James Rhodes "War Machine". Both were in the U.S. Marine Corps and were the black counterparts to legendary figures in comic book history. Stewart was also an architect from Detroit Michigan. John was chosen by the Guardians of the Universe to be Hal Jordan's replacement after acting Lantern Guy Gardner was injured. Originally, Jordan was hesitant but Stewart's intuitiveness won him over. A great sign of Stewart's boldness took place when he refused to save a racist politician from an assassination attempt. Hal Jordan was infuriated that he didn't save him, but John had to tell him the truth. John Stewart won the fans over with his discipline, integrity, and leadership. His experience in the Marine Corps was a huge advantage that helped him as a member of the Lantern Corps. Hal Jordan's perception has taken a huge blow with the flop of the Green Lantern movie, as well as his inability to connect with the modern fans. Stewart's presence is pivotal for both the Green Lantern franchise and the Justice League because he resonates in ways that Jordan does not. John Stewart has broken the color barrier for the Lantern Corps as he has produced a much-needed change. Stewart has gone from obscurity from the mainstream to total recognition and critical acclaim.

2. Storm:
Comic World: Marvel
Real Name: Ororo Munroe
First Appearance: Giant-Sized X-Men #1 (May 1975)

Control of weather, temperature, lightning, rain, mist, and the wind
Resistance to extremely hot or cold temperatures
Connection to the biosphere and other life forces
Telepathic immunity
Energy vision that enables her to see all things around her in light or complete darkness
Very skilled in martial arts, hand-to-hand combat, fencing and piloting

What else is there to say about her that hasn't already been said? Storm is a groundbreaker because she is the first black female superhero in comic book history with her debut in the Giant-Sized X-Men issue #1 in May 1975. Her debut helped to not only open more doors for diversity within Marvel, but it brought new life to the X-Men franchise. That all-star lineup that featured her, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Banshee saved a once stagnant franchise and brought it to new heights. Marvel was already ahead of the curve when it came to diversity in comparison to their counterpart, DC Comics. With the addition of Storm, they continued to solidify themselves as a brand that relates to everyone. Storm represents the empowerment of not just women, but black women especially. That is why it is so fitting to present her as a queen type of character. Many times, Storm has been positioned as the leader and for good reason. Storm rules with an iron fist and commands respect with the way that she carries herself. Even Wolverine himself knows how to give Storm her respect. Originally, Storm was born in Manhattan but moved to Egypt, which is where she grew up. Living in Cairo, Storm's parents were killed in an airplane bombing, leaving her as an orphan at six years old. Later on in her youth, Storm bonded with Prince T'Challa also known as the Black Panther. Young Ororo (Storm) saved T'Challa from a dangerous situation, leading to a brief romance. However, they would go their separate ways as T'Challa would avenge his father's death and fulfill his destiny as the future King of Wakanda. They would meet later down the road, as they would marry each other. One day, young Ororo would meet Professor Charles Xavier, who explained that she was a mutant and that he could help her understand and master her abilities. Storm would agree to assist Xavier and begin her evolution as one of the chief members of the legendary X-Men. Storm is considered to be one of the most powerful X-Men of all time and is often placed in a leadership position. She can control the weather by generating intense winds, hurricanes, tornadoes as well as hurl lightning. Her body temperature often changes because of the way that she can adapt to the environment, making her immune to all extreme conditions of cold or heat. Storm's will is one of the strongest in the Marvel Universe because she cannot be manipulated or tracked telepathically. Even when Storm is not flying or wielding her supernatural power, she can hold her own in hand-to-hand combat. Her popularity exploded with the X-Men Animated series in the 90's, cameos in the Spiderman Animated series, the Marvel vs. Capcom Franchise and the X-Men movie franchise with her role played by Halle Berry. There is no question that Storm is the quintessential black female superhero with an amazing legacy in comic book history.

1. Black Panther:
Comic World: Marvel
Real Name: T'Challa
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #52-53 (July/August 1966)

Olympic level strength (750 lbs), speed, agility, reflexes and stamina
Superhuman senses: sight, smell, and hearing
Genius level intelligence, inventor, scientist and strategist
Hand-to-hand combat master
Trained gymnast and acrobat
Vibranium enhanced suit and Vibranium claws that could rip through any metal
Bulletproof Vibranium suit

This is the definition of black excellence. Black Panther became the very first black mainstream superhero with his debut in Fantastic Four #52-53 in the Summer of 1966. His debut was vital at a time where there needed to be diversity within comics because of the climate that our society was in during the 1960's. Black Panther's debut happened to fall in the same year that the Black Panther Party made their debut. How fitting? Don't you just love irony? This was also the time where Muhammad Ali refused to enter the Vietnam War. We were still recovering from the loss of Malcolm X, when little did we know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would meet his demise just two years later. So, Black Panther's arrival came at a crucial time in history, particularly black history. This was Marvel's biggest power play at that time when it came to addressing diversity. They had touched on it to a degree with the theme of the X-Men story and their connection to MLK and Malcolm X's fight against discrimination. This time, they ripped the envelope open when they introduced T'Challa. He is the leader of the Panther tribe and king of a fictional African Kingdom called Wakanda. Black Panther is also an affiliate of the Avengers. This is an advanced country in Africa that keeps itself secluded from the rest of the world. Wakanda protects an extremely valuable alien metal known as Vibranium. This is the same metal that Captain America's shield is made out of. Vibranium has kept Wakanda's technologically superior to outside forces that threaten to take its resources. The value of Vibranium in Wakanda is equivalent to how we value oil, gold, and diamonds in other countries. Vibranium is the driving force of their wealth, much like the technology of Apple is a driving force of wealth in America. Son of T'Chaka, T'Challa was born into the royal lineage of the Black Panther. Sadly, T'Challa's biological mother died while giving birth. Although T'Challa was the heir to the throne, he was too young and had to fulfill his rite of passage. Once T'Challa accomplished this mission, he was ready to become the King of Wakanda. Black Panther would eventually marry Ororo Monroe, better known as Storm from the X-Men. They are the definition of a black power couple in comics. King T'Chaka was the Black Panther that was assassinated by Ulysses Klaw. As T'Challa witnessed the killing, he used Klaw's weapon against him by injuring him severely and drove him off. T'Challa is a scientific genius and inventor, as his prowess as a scientist rivals that of even Tony Stark himself aka Iron Man. In fact, Black Panther is the wealthiest superhero of all time, as he is worth $500 Billion. That is right. A Multi-Billionaire. Black Panther has more money than Iron Man ($100 Billion) and Batman ($80 Billion) combined. It also helps when you are the ruler of an entire country that is ahead of the curve in technology. Black Panther is an incredible hand-to-hand fighter as he is considered one of the masters of combat in all of the Comic Universe from Marvel to DC. He is also an incredible athlete with Olympian level strength, speed, stamina, and agility. The Black Panther suit is also bulletproof and can even withstand hits from the Incredible Hulk. Like Tony Stark, T'Challa has also built his own Hulkbuster Armor, along with other forms of armor. T'Challa also carries weapons such as his "energy dagger' as well as the Ebony Blade, which can slice through adamantium (watch out Wolverine). Black Panther became the star and MVP of the movie "Captain America: Civil War". His appearance in that movie has elevated his stock to levels unlike any other time in the history of the Black Panther franchise. Now the pieces are being put together for the launch of the highly anticipated Black Panther movie, which is expected to shatter box office records and draw enormous numbers. Black Panther is without question the face of Black superheroes because he is the measuring stick that other black characters are measured by. Black Panther is simply the greatest black hero of all time.

Always remember that as Black Lives Matter, Black Superheroes also matter.



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