THE BLACKENING: A Universal Search For Diverse Heroes
KA-POW! PING! BOOM! LET THE NERDGASM BEGIN
2016 has been amazing for superhero blockbusters ( Batman V. Superman does not exist to me) and with the premiere trailers at Comic Con this past weekend the future looks bright. The all-time highlight has to be Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, King of Wakanda and most reviews agree. My only issue with the Comic-verse is “The Blackening“. It irritates not just the adult me, but kid me as well— kid Tony is pissed.
HOLY BEEZUS BATMAN! THEY’RE CHANGING COLORS
Nick Fury= Black, Johnny Storm= Black, Spiderman= Black & Mexican (separate individuals not biracial). Basically, to silence the screams for racial diversity, studios have answered with “The Blackening” ; swapping the race of a popular character to appeal to the masses.
These race swaps are unnecessary and ridiculous. Not to protest against the rise of African American actors gaining the mantle of a hero; thus earning better role, its more of a challenge to the creativity behind these projects.
The Comic-verse is vast and filled with a multitude of hero’s and villains of races why not explore those options to include into these franchise; rather than shading in the blanks, or better yet, create new characters. There have been films that created their own character i.e. The Darkman trilogies and Damon Wayan’s Blankman.
And since mainstream media has been having such a tough time of remembering their colorful heroes. I figured I could help them out. Here are:
5 Ethnically Diverse Heroes In The Comic-Verse
1. Static Shock
The late great Dwayne McDuffie was the lead writer on the project about the electric high school hero Virgil Hawkins, who gained his ability after being exposed to a mutagen gas explosion known as “The Big Bang”.
Originally making his comic debut in 1993 as part of Milestone Comics, an imprint of DC comics, until the closing of Milestone in 1997. Four years later, the comic was revived into the much loved animated series Static Shock on the WB which lead to the comic book miniseries Static Shock: The Rebirth of the Cool and Static’s official induction into DC comics as part of Teen Titans.
Milestone Comics was one of the few successful African American owned publishing companies.
Fun Fact: Virgil Hawkins is the name of a black college student who was denied entrance to the University of Florida’s Law school in 1949 and the original Static Shock wore a black hat with X on it
As Static Shock, Virgil battled super powered villains known as “Meta-Humans” (people with powers), bullying and social issues that related to his community, i.e. crime, drugs, and saving one of his friends from gay bashing. Static possessed a similarity to Spiderman’s witty banter while dueling his enemies with his knowledge of science and pop culture.
2. Blue Beetle
Jaime Reyes, the Hispanic hero from El Paso, Texas, is the third person to assume the mantle of The Blue Beetle but the first to unlock the secret of “The Blue Beetle Scarab”. The Scarab’s transforms the wearer into the ultimate infiltrator for an ancient alien race known as “The Reach”, who seeks to conquer distant planets.
Once activated the Scarab becomes a symbiotic battle suit with immense power and flying capabilities. Jaime’s scarab was damaged when it arrived to Earth, instead of taking over his mind completely, it simply became his sidekick aiding Jaime with intel during battles and strategic solutions.
3. Jimmy Woo
The super spy organization known as S.H.I.E.LD. employs some of the most dangerous and craftiest agents in the Marvel Universe and that comes to no exception with Asian espionage hero Jimmy Woo.
Created in 1956, Jimmy has all the badass-ness of Nick Fury with the suave of James Bond originating as a member of the FBI before becoming a high ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
QUICK THOUGHT: How cool would it be if they revived this character and added him to ABC’s Agent of Shield?
Jimmy Woo is the leader of Agents of Atlas, who later become instrumental in the resistance against the invasion of Earth by shapeshifting aliens called The Skrull. His team even manages to battle The Avengers, The X-Men.
I did some digging, not because I couldn’t find an Indian hero in the DC/Marvel Universe but to have an example outside of the norm. Doga was brought to life by Indian publisher RAJ COMICS in 1992 created by Tarun kumar Wahi and Indian superhero pioneer Sanjay Gupta.
Doga is a mercenary a lot like Frank Castle who after tragically losing his family in gang violence, snaps and becomes a vigilante bent on keeping evil down. Doga doesn’t have any super powers with the exception of being able to communicate with dog but what he lacks in super ability he makes up in total badass-ness ( yea I used that word again, I sort of like it)
5. Silver Fox
This deadly beauty is not only a member of the Blackfoot Indian tribe but also one of Wolverine’s many femme fatales; so you know she has a whole new level of badass-ness to her (the hat trick). Silver Fox powers are similar to Wolverine’s healing abilities causing her to age just as slow but her true abilities lie in her marksmanship and hand to hand combat.
Silver Fox not only dated Wolverine but was also in the Weapon X experiment that provided Wolverine his adamantium bone structure. After parting ways, Silver Fox went on to become a top ranking official in the notorious terrorist organization, Hydra.
Bottom line, production studios have plenty of options to include diversity in their films without the need of converting the skin color of a hero. If that isn’t an option (due to character rights) then create a hero the masses have yet to see; it worked for Robert Townsend in Meteor Man and Will Smith got to be a black superman in the movie Hancock.
Am I suppose to believe that Hollywood, the land of dreams and stars, can’t create an original black, hispanic, arab superhero? Until next time, Excelsi— Oh wait! that’s copyrighted– probably.