Where are the powerful black superheroes?

The question was posed “Where are the ‘Omega Class’ superhumans of color in the comic genre? Where is the black Superman? Why isn’t there one?” This was posed in a debate to question why comic book creators have always claimed that black superheroes were not profitable, not desirable, and ultimately creating black heroes with real superpowers who might be the equals of the great white heroes of comics, including Superman, the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, The Silver Surfer, and the Phoenix. The real answer is complex and fraught with politically-correct terms. But the bottom line is this: in a society designed to create profitable divisions amongst peoples, designed to promote a singular point of view, mediated to ensure a secondary state for anyone not of the dominant class ruling this society, THERE WILL BE NO BLACK SUPERMEN!

The very idea goes against every media promoted stereotype of black men to be seen being and remembered as visibly heroic, becoming role models or being defined in any manner that is positive outside of their currently defined roles of minstrels, entertainers (sports, media entertainment) and servants of the Empire promoting the ultimate status quo of white superiority. This is why when you see black men in media, they are playing sports (showing off their only defined attribute, physical prowess), involved in media (making sales for their corporate masters), or protecting or promoting the interests of their owners (corporate or government leaders).

Otherwise, they are shown in handcuffs, shown in homo-erotic videos promoting money and women over good sense, employment or hard work. They are show in acts of violence against other blacks and of course, against defenseless whites, who without the draconian controls of police forces everywhere would run amok, so their slaying can be reconciled as “justifiable homicides”.

Icon – Milestone Comics’ Superman Analogue – he first appeared in Icon #1 (May 1993), and was created by Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan. The only semi-active Omega-class black superhero whose powers are clearly equal (or even perhaps superior to) Superman. After the DC Reboot of 2011, it is unknown if he and the other Milestone heroes will continue to exist.

Omega-class Superheroes
Such an important idea needs a baseline to reference. The term “Omega-class” was initially associated with mutants (beings with extraordinary physical, mental or spiritual abilities beyond the normal range of human beings) in the Marvel Universe (MU). There is no such associated term within the DC Universe (DCU). If a being’s power is being scaled in the DCU, they are usually scaled against one of its strongest active characters, Superman. There has never been an official reference system to classify superheroes in either the DC or Marvel Universe even though both tried to quantify their heroes with very limited success (anyone remember the Handbook to the Marvel Universe or the Definitive Directory to the DC UniverseSeries? Nuff Said).

A quick rule of thumb is a metahuman that can only affect one person at a time, only some of the time or with some other limitation is a Gamma. They are likely unskilled in the use of their powers or their powers are simply too weak to be a deterrent to the current level of technology. Gammas can be brought down in a variety of ways and overall are not considered a threat, except to the unaware.

If a metahuman can affect one person effectively or larger number of things or people intermittently, then they are a Beta. Betas may be more effective, but can usually be counted with a minimum of force. Most Betas who remain untrained will simply use their powers for personal gain because they are aware of their limitations in comparison to any Alphas who may exist. If no Alpha’s exist, a Beta could be a threat if they orchestrated the circumstances of the power use well.

If a metahuman can use his powers all of the time, in a variety of ways, affecting more than one person at a time, for an extended time, the he or she is likely an Alpha. If a metahuman is able to do extraordinary things completely unable to be replicated by machines or current technology, they are an Alpha. If a metahuman can create things that were never seen before they existed or conceive of things in ways, previously unknown, and do that regularly they are likely an Alpha. In a world without other Alphas, an Alpha is nearly a godlike being depending on how their powers manifest, and how they use them. In our world, Alphas would be conscripted by governments or killed by assassination details, if it was even possible to kill the Alpha. Alphas usually have one or two weaknesses they keep under wraps.

If a metahuman can their powers and effect dozens, hundreds, thousands or in the exercise of your powers affect the lives of millions, you are likely an Omega. If a metahumans powers could conceivably destroy all life on Earth and there is little or nothing that can stop them they are likely an Omega. In the MU, this is the most feared class of metahuman. The DCU is only a little less paranoid about Omega-class beings.

Descriptions of each class

Gamma: Metahumans at this level of ability usually have a single power or capability they are able to manifest. Young mutants in the Marvel Universe fall into this classification. This power may make them capable of performing at a level equal to the physical prowess of the best of the human species or they possess a single power beyond the normal range of human abilities. Often metahumans at this level may have greater abilities but they may lack perfect control or have some other limitation that prevents them from being able to be more effective with their power(s). Marvel’s Alpha Flight storylines discussed Gamma-class metahumans and trained them in their facilities. Most Gamma-class metahumans are unfortunate enough to be killed before their powers can manifest properly, either by the failure of their powers, or through interactions with more powerful beings.

Beta: Metahumans who are Beta-Class tend to have more reliable powers, more effective capabilities and potentially with the proper training or stimulus rise to being an Alpha-class metahuman. In the DCU, the Legion of Superheroes is an example of Beta-Class metahumans actively using their powers in superheroic activities. The Betas who comprise more than 50% of the Legion are in support of a limited number of Alphas and an even occasional Omega in their ranks. Legion examples include: Matter-Eater Lad (able to consume and destroy any form of matter), Dawnstar (has the ability to form a psionic lock on a single target and follow it anywhere, across any distance), Bloc (high-order invulnerability). Many of the Golden Age Heroes, might also be considered Beta Class since their powers, while extraordinary in comparison to normal humans, seem a bit outclassed and out-performed by Modern heroes. Consider the Invaders: The Original Human Torch and Toro (flight, defense aura, fireball throwing), Captain America (indestructible shield, superhuman athletic and combat abilities), Sub-Mariner (flight, superhuman strength and resistance to injury), the Whizzer (superhuman speed and reflexes).

Alpha: Metahumans in the Alpha-class range are the mainstay of Modern comics. These metahumans have a bevy of superhuman capabilities at their command, utilize various technologies, and whose powers can affect an entire city when they are at peak performance. One modern hero today can command as many powers as an entire team of Golden Age metahumans. The list is numerous and can be thought to be the norm when considering a superhuman today. Heroes from the Golden and Silver Ages, if they still operate today, are usually upgraded to Alpha-class performance and power levels (or on occasion, allowed to slip back to Beta-class as they age, showing a reduction in their power levels, compensated by their experience). Most Modern age metahumans have amongst their powers at least two of the following:

  • damage resistance or damage reduction,
  • some level of superhuman strength,
  • advanced sensory awareness,
  • flight or super-fast movement,
  • energy projection or manipulation,
  • increased damage output,
  • increased damage resistance or outright invulnerability (basically proof against nearly all attacks; you can knock them down but never out),
  • telekinesis or other form of molecular or energy base control,
  • advanced mental ability such as telepathy or mental domination.

Example: The X-man codenamed Cyclops (Scott Summers) is a Silver Age, Beta-class hero who has evolved into a Modern age, Alpha-class hero. His single power, his optic blast has grown into a diverse energy power capable of being described as: Energy Projection, increased damage, extreme range, capable of deflection (using his optic blast), indirect attack (bouncing his optic blast off of other substances), precision attack (able to control its strength, duration and amplitude from flipping a coin to destroying a mountain top).

He supplements his physical vulnerability using an armored uniform, hand to hand combat training, and regular intensive combat simulations to hone his skill with his power. As a member of a team engaged in the same intense training and supportive combat systems, their group synergy enables them to be even more effective than their individual power levels would suggest.

Omega: The Omega-class metahuman is the Alpha taken to an extreme. An Omega-level mutant is one with the most powerful genetic potential of their mutant abilities. The term was first seen in the 1986 issue Uncanny X-Men #208, but was completely unexplained (beyond the obvious implication of it referring to an exceptional level of power). The term was not seen again until the 2001 limited series X-Men Forever. Some abilities depicted by mutants described as Omega-level include immortality, extreme manipulation of matter and energy, high levels of psionic ability, strong or extremely versatile telekinetic, or the potential to exist beyond the boundaries of the known physical universe.

No firm definition has been offered in comics. Mutants that have been confirmed as Omega-level include Apocalypse, Jean Grey (telekinetic; user of the Phoenix Force), Vulcan (vast superhuman physical capabilities), Rachel Summers (daughter of alternate timeline Jean Grey), Iceman (cryo-hydro-kinetic), Legion (schizophrenic personalities with vast psionic powers), Proteus (reality-altering psychopathic vampire) and Franklin Richards (reality altering powers). The Omega has either a single power whose diverse usage and extreme power level allows them to perform a variety of feats at a level beyond any single Alpha’s ability; Magneto’s control over magnetism, Charles Xavier’s mental/telepathic prowess are two examples of this type of ability.

The other type of Omega has a wide range of powers that are normally found on entire super-teams and pushed to an obscene limit. Marvel’s Gladiator or the DCU’s Superman are an example of such a metahuman. Super-strength, superhuman levels of speed and reflex time, internal life support (proof against radiation, poison, no need to eat, sleep or excrete), invulnerability, energy project powers, superior senses, and flight. What makes these two Omega-class is their virtually inexhaustible energy supplies. They are able to use their powers at full performance long after Alphas have become exhausted due to strain or fatigue.

There are the occasional non-powered or technologically assisted heroes who can move out of the ranks of the Gamma or Beta class to be considered Alpha-class material due to their preparation, quality of technology, or are simply just so bad-ass they can hold their own against superior metahumans. Bronze Tiger, Black Panther, Captain America, Batman, Green Arrow, Hawkeye, Lady Shiva, the new Batgirl are all unpowered humans whose prowess or skills allow them to interact at a higher level than would initially seem possible given their unpowered state. They will never, however, be considered Omega-class beings without outside intervention such as the introduction of the Uni-power.

Power levels of known Black Superheroes
Now to the question of Black characters with Omega-Class powers or abilities. Since we understand that comics, storytelling and mythology share a common heritage, there are very few examples of heroes of color in general in the mainstream comic universes. Considering the socio-economic and socio-political climate of the United States and media in general this should not surprise anyone. Common excuses for why there are no metahumans of color, let alone, of capability include: lack of interest in comic reading demographic, can’t sell them to distributors, no longevity in the marketplace, no mythic source material able to be exploited or adapted to comic formats.

These are simply excuses, since most heroes of the Golden Age were white because people of color were simply without significant rights during the time when comics were in their infancy (1930s and 1940’s) and likely never developed a taste for them. During the Silver Age, most heroes were adaptations from their Golden Age counterparts with only a few writers willing to risk creating heroes of other races due to the very white, very segregated comic industry of the time. As to the lack of mythic material to be used or adapted from, heroes have always taken their cues from the science or mysteries of the time. Golden Age heroes often had super-science, ancient unknown magics or Oriental mysticism as the source of their abilities.

Modern heroes ply their genetic heritage, alien origins, magical construction, extra-dimension existence or quantum-variant parallel universe origins quite proudly so that is not likely to be the issue, not to mention much of the mythic ideas being recycled today come from ancient cultural myths adapted for modern times. So the real reason is they can’t be bothered with empowering people of color in any form of media, particularly one as likely to alter the consciousness of impressionable youth. And they absolutely cannot or will not have metahumans on the same level as their classic big guns, thereby implying there is a level of parity between people of color and the myth of white superiority. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get back to the analysis at hand.
In keeping with the traditions of barely allowing people of color to exist in mainstream media, there have only been a few heroes of color at all. Most of them have, unless they have been very fortunate never progressed past the power levels of their origin.

BETA-CLASS EXAMPLES:
Amazing Man (DCU – I, II, III) – he had the ability to take on the characteristics of any material and later any energy. While this power lead to an awesome supervillain in the Marvel Universe (Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, who during his 40 year stint has dared to take on the All-father Odin and to tangle with the Mighty Thor on a regular basis) the DCU has never done anything useful, interesting or unusual with the character other than kill him two different times and bring the character back with a different costume and same lame writers. He has always been a complete waste of an awesome power suite.

Black Goliath – Bill Foster (MU): presumed dead, adapted the enlarging aspects of the Pym Particles and growing to immense size and strength but lacking superior damage resistance. The power made you larger, but not invulnerable, so there was simply more of you to hit, with a paltry amount of super strength to boot (10-50 tons depending on who was writing). Not sure what made them think this was a good superpower, by the time Bill Foster got it, its creator Hank Pym (Ant-man, Goliath, Yellowjacket), had already deemed it a failure and moved on so it is a mystery what they thought they could do with it by giving it to Foster. Another case of hand-me-down powers amounting to zip.

Bronze Tiger – (DCU – Suicide Squad): non-superpowered martial artist, arguable one of the best in the DCU, ranked fourth, after Lady Shiva, Green Arrow II and Batman) all things considered, this is a step up for him as a character, but he has never been allowed to shine enough to keep a book or maintain a storyline, though I thought he was brilliant during his time with the Suicide Squad.

ALPHA-CLASS EXAMPLES
The Falcon – (MU – Avengers): Quipped by Hawkeye and never forgotten: “They chose you over me? Your only power is flying and rapping with birds.” This sums up the Falcon quite nicely. Using a flight harness of unknown design, he fights crime with Captain America after being exposed to a “cosmic cube” somewhere along the way and acquiring the power to communicate with birds. (in the beginning it was a single bird, but later someone decided that was lame and made it possible for him to utilize and communicate with other birds as well. Wow. What an upgrade.) He is ranked an Alpha only because he has become an institution in the Marvel Universe. Physically he is Beta-class at best. The trick with seeing out of the eyes of six million birds was a nice one.

His flight harness is later destroyed (mostly because it was ugly) and rebuilt by the Black Panther with some minor technology upgrades and a whole lot better looking (GPS, magnetic thrust pack for increased speed, IR vision, jamming technology, and some armor). In a world with reality-altering mutations, cosmic awareness, and godhood on demand (Crusher Creel, a criminal gained his powers from an elixir created by Loki, Norse god of Evil), someone thought it was a good idea to create the Falcon as a sidekick for Captain America back in 1969.

The Falcon is technically the first African-American superhero (Black Panther is from Africa…) He appeared three years before Luke Cage and six years before Storm and is the first black superhero who does not have the word Black in his name. He also appeared two years before John Stewart of the DCU’s Green Lantern fame. (And to be technically correct, the first black character starring in comics is Dell Comics’ Old West gunfighter, Lobo, introduced in 1965.

Black Panther (MU, Avengers): Technically, his power levels only rate him a Beta-class, but he has managed just by being “Bad-Assed” enough and arguable one of the first and likely most well known of black metahumans to make it to the Alpha team. He has just barely superhuman strength (800 pounds), preternatural agility and reflexes. He later supplemented his physical abilities with his culture’s advanced technology. It would appear he will be losing said technology and taking over Daredevil’s beat in NYC asBlack Panther: The Man without Fear in late 2010 or early 2011.

The writers giveth and the writers taketh away. Christopher Priest is credited with the recent resurgence of interest in the Black Panther, (making Wakanda awesome, giving the Panther cool tech, portraying him as scary intelligent, coldly calculating, and wonderfully brilliant). Thank you, Mr. Priest for showing the Black Panther could have always been awesome if someone had cared to do the job.

Black Lightning (DCU – JLA): With the last Crisis on Infinite Earths (the DCU way of retconning anything they do not like about their current universe, and pushing back the clock on anything that should be getting older but now isn’t), Black Lightning’s powers were internalized (he used to wear an energy belt) and he became capable of a variety of electro-magnetic feats including: flight, lightning projection, and simple electromagnetic force fields. He would be classified as an Alpha-class metahuman, if a bit uninteresting, and usually poorly written. The most interesting thing to happen to him in years is his two adult daughters, predictably called Thunder and Lightning, and the question of whether he was Static’s father. The most interesting thing I have ever seen him do was blow up an Imperiex Probe. You had to be there. I waited at least 30 years for that.

The second black superhero of the DCU, Black Lightning has had an on-again, off-again relationship in publication. His books have never done well enough to stay in print, mostly due to spotty writing and poor character development (his and his cast of characters). In recent years, he has experienced a resurgence and even become a member of the Justice League of American White Superheroes. (Don’t get it twisted, I love the JLA, JSA and all of their spin-offs, it just annoys me that 40 years after Civil Rights we still don’t have an original character of color as a member of the League that is notable, interesting or useful. John Stewart is the man, but he is the third or fourth man to be Green Lantern of Earth.) Maybe the DCU’s writers will figure out no one will care about the character until they do.

Storm (MU, X-men): The first Alpha-class African hero whose powers reflect this. Exhibiting molecular control allowing for weather manipulation and flight. Her precision with her powers allowed her to create microclimatic events inside of a room so she could water plants or create ice-storms. She is a highly skilled martial artist, security systems expert and team leader. Until recently (likely the period after she married the Black Panther), she had been a member of every iteration of the Modern X-men. For a time, she lost her powers, but none of her popularity, even when she was sporting a mohawk, wearing a leather dominatrix outfit and beating people down with her fists! Eventually she got classy again, and started wearing something akin to her early uniforms, only a bit more tasteful. For a time she acquired the power of Thor but was unwilling to stay in Asgard. (That clause obviously did not apply to Beta Ray Thor.) Marrying the Black Panther was interesting and we will wait to see what comes of it.

Triathalon aka 3D Man (MU, formerly an Avenger): A metahuman with three times the strength, speed, reflexes and agility of a normal human. He also had increased sensory acuity as well. He recently appeared in the Marvel Civil Wars and could detect the presence of shape-shifted, possessed or illusory images. I know that does not sound like much, but he was able to lift over 2 tons, had a level of agility and flexibility that could make an Olympic-level athlete blush, a reaction time that allowed him to dodge bullets, and could run at speeds of over 100 miles per hour for nearly an hour. In a group like the Avengers, he was wildly outclassed, almost mortal-seeming, but in the right hands, he could have been very interesting. Currently missing in action, presumed dead.

Luke Cage – Power Man (MU – Heroes for Hire, Avengers): Hated his origin, he gained his powers as a victim of experimentation while in prison. His power level has varied widely, but it is almost always some variant of superhuman level strength (lifting anywhere from 10 tons to 70 tons) and superhuman levels of resistance, definitely bullet-proof, sometimes more depending on whose writing him. To be honest, I did not enjoy what I call “Blackploitation” Power Man (that yellow shirt and tiara thing, really worked my nerves), the period before he worked with Iron Fist, I did enjoy him more while he and Fist worked together as Power Man and Iron Fist: Heroes for Hire, and almost liked him during his stint as an Avenger. To be fair, he is one of the only other regularly working heroes of color in the Marvel Universe. As to the lack of development, well are you really surprised?

POTENTIAL OMEGAS:
Photon – (MU – formerly an Avenger) transformed in an experiment into an energy being she is capable of manipulating high-order energy fields for feats of energy projection and control, flight, and super-speed. Her powers rivaled any known in the Marvel Universe and for a time caused fear amongst its mightiest team, the Avengers, of whom she was, for a time, a card-carrying member. Her powers have been stripped back a bit from the days of her origin (technically she started off as an Omega-class being), likely to allow stories to be written about her without driving writers crazy.

Vixen – (DCU – JLA) - by using a mystic amulet, she is able to utilize the red morphegenic field to take on characteristics of any living being. She could use her powers to emulate the physical characteristics (the strength of an elephant or the ability to fly) of any animal. For a time, she was able to even replicate the metahuman characteristics of any living being such as a Kryptonian. It was later retconned, claiming the deity, Anansi, hiding in a pocket dimension within the amulet had altered her powers for his protection. Her ability to replicate superhuman powers is presumed lost.

KNOWN OMEGAS
Black Adam (DCU): Technically an Egyptian, though almost never drawn with any real color to him, he is currently depowered and presumed dead, his previous power-level rivaled Superman’s. Always portrayed as just a bit right of center, he has been one of the more dangerous beings in the DCU. As such, I do not think he will be sitting out very long. Even though he was a villain for most of his career, he did try to be a hero for s short stint, before it went terribly wrong. No surprise there.

Spawn (Image Comics): A black intelligence operative, Al Simmons, is killed and ends up in Hell. Making a deal with his universe’s devil he becomes bound to a powerful entity which gives him superhuman capabilities. Spawn’s body is quite dense and is infused with necroplasm. This gives him superhuman strength, speed, agility, senses, durability, endurance, a regenerative healing factor, jumping, ectoplasmic manipulation, etc. His necroplasm also gives him necro-magic, a variety of supernatural powers including teleportation, phasing, resurrecting the dead, necro-energy blasts and more. He becomes omnipotent after eating from the tree of Eden.

Spawn’s existence and success belies everything the industry has ever said about black superheroes. The Spawn series has spun off several other comics, including Angela, Curse of the Spawn, Sam & Twitch, and the Japanese manga Shadows of Spawn. Spawn was adapted into a 1997 feature film, an HBO animated series lasting from 1997 until 1999, and a series of action figures whose high level of detail made McFarlane Toys known in the toy industry.

Blue Marvel: The Blue Marvel (what is it with black heroes being color identified?) is clearly an Omega-class metahuman. Easily able to defeat the Avengers in combat, including the Sentry, is no mean feat. He has superior superhuman levels of strength, speed, flight, resistance to injury. Physically god-like in every way. He is one of the most powerful humans ever seen in the Marvel Universe. And likely to never be seen again. (I am certain, they do not want to have him saving the Marvel Universe too often, so he will either be, depowered, psychologically depressed, killed, absorbed, transformed, transmorgrified or defanged as so to leave him unable to be a role model to anyone.

In a case of retroactively ADDING color to the relatively colorless lineup of the 1960’s, Marvel Comics created a hero recently called, The Blue Marvel. The twist? He was supposed to have stepped down from a career as a superhero to allow the Civil Rights acts to pass. The claim was he might incite race riots by using his powers in public. He is given some Presidential medal and moves quietly with his cosmic powers into a nice suburban neighborhood and stays there until a villain, linked to his origin, of course, appears to thrash the local incarnation of the Avengers. This incarnation, while lacking Thor, who is usually the heavy on the Avengers team, is boasting The Sentry, one of Marvel’s Superman analogues (they have several, The Sentry, Gladiator, and Hyperion to name three easy ones) and a bunch of other heavies, who promptly get their asses handed to them. He comes out of retirement, offers to help, gets told to get lost, watches the Avengers get thrashed, fights the Avengers and tells them to stay out of his way, knocking the Sentry into orbit, and fighting and defeating his nemesis. Did I say knocking the Sentry into orbit? If you can find this bit of retroactive chicanery, it is worth reading for those panels alone. Especially if you do not like the Sentry. (hint, hint.) And while I was doing some image hunting, I came upon some new notes for the Blue Marvel to reappear…

SuperMAN: (DCU/Tangent Universe): Clearly an Omega-class metahuman with a wide array of mental powers gained by experimentation with and experimental version of Miraclo. Harvey Dent’s powers were the equivalent of Captain Comet for a moment, super-intellect, telepathy, telekinesis, mind control, remote viewing. But they continued to expand until he could detect events before they happened, he could detect people thinking about harming him as they approached, he was able to create energy, read computer hard drives no matter where they were, and eventually capable of performing feats equal to that of the Phoenix Force. He was able to alter his physiology to give himself new powers, temporarily or permanently and eventually became the mightiest being on his world.

In a conflict with his planet’s nemesis, The Ultra-Humanite, their struggle destroyed the Moon and rendered it into parts small enough they were no threat to the Earth. While very few people have heard of the TU’s SuperMAN, during the run of the books, he was one of the most interesting of the TU’s versions of the DCU’s classic characters. So much so, when the DCU was experiencing one of its Universe altering Crisis’, the SuperMAN is involved in the establishment of the new DCU. He is easily as powerful as the Big Blue Boy Scout and unfortunately as unknown as Big Blue is known.

The SuperMAN of the Tangent Universe is a being who was conceived of as an alternative to the standard idea of Superman, where the emphasis was on the Super, not the Man. In this experiment, SuperMAN was a black police officer whose powers were triggered by a fall from an office window. Upon landing without serious injury, it was clear he had begun to evolve. His mind, thinking processes and eventually the ability to manipulate all forms of matter and energy came under his control. Not quite reality manipulation, I would call it the ultimate expression of all forms of quantum energy waveforms in his universe. If he could conceive of it, it was possible. With an intellect in the supergenius range, it was soon impossible to challenge him sufficiently. He began to consider world domination, clearly from a sense that he knew more of what would be right than anyone else. Unlike the DCU, in the Tangent Universe (TU) the existence of metahumans WOULD change all aspects of worldly life. In the TU, SuperMAN came to rule the world and considered moving his dominion to other parallel worlds.

The question was asked where are the Omega-class black superheroes? This was not meant to be an all inclusive list of metahumans of color. This was simply an exploration what has happened in the industry and to question why an industry that has several thousand heroes, across half a dozen well known companies, can count less than fifty well-recognized, well-respected or even well-developed heroes of color. The mission of my post was to talk about the very nature of the question, why they barely exist, why the industry speaks with two tongues, the successes and failures of some black heroes, mostly due to poor handling and a lack of interest in doing it right at all. I believe the black heroes of the future will belong to us when we stop stereotyping ourselves and allowing them to define what a hero is to us and our children. I believe we can create believable ideals that speak to our core values (or speak to values we would like to incorporate into our lifestyles) and create mythic beings that can resonate with out children, promoting new ways of thinking, believing, working, growing, having families, living well, leaving legacies and dying gracefully. No one should have a monopoly on those things. Neither should any particular group of mythic heroes. To quote the famous heromaker himself, Stan “the Man” Lee, “we can all make heroes, we can all be heroes, all we have to do is want to.” So let’s get to creating.