Wednesday, 17 February 2016

S̶u̶p̶e̶r̶ Black Superheroes: Rising from the Underground

     Guess who? This black superhero has been around for 50 years, but only 3 black men have ever written him. Give up? The answer is...Black Panther. The point is, there is lack of genuine input from people of colour in writing about...well, POC in comics.

      In comes former DC editor Kwanza Osajyefo and artist/designer Tim Smith III with their new series; Black, which will be a six-issue series beginning later this year, illustrated by Jamal Igle with covers by Khary Randolph. They are currently crowdfunding the series on Kickstarter, and with two weeks still remaining they have doubled(and surpassing) their goal of $29,999.

      The tagline for the book? (According to their Kickstarter page) "In a world that already fears and hates them – what if only Black people had superpowers?" A compelling and intriguing logline, especially in the wake of recent events and happenings involving young(and old) black men and women. In that same vein, the main premise is as follows; "After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man (Kareem Jenkins) learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it's safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free."

      When recently asked the following question by Newsarama, "So in this world, only black people are superheroes -- is that in terms of superpowers, or even broader in terms of non-powered superheroes like Batman not being permitted to exist?"; Osajyefo replied; "See, implications! You’re already working to grasp in your mind how the concept would play out. I consider Black sci-fi  before superhero. The capes and tights are done to death in comics. That isn’t to say such characters are off the table, but I think this story is grounded in a reality where someone swinging around on a wire might seem odd. But it is fiction, so anything is possible." (see full story on Newsarama)

       There seems to be a shift in awareness, acceptance and a call for diversity in everything from music to comic books to movies (*cough* #Oscarsowhite) and I am loving it. It means that now people are being forced to consider others, be it women or men of colour, for roles solely considered to be stereotypically white male. This change would be more aligned with today's world and generation, where people from different cultures are mixing and the force that is social media has made that even more possible and brought us even closer.

      I think the world is more than ready for this shift in paradigm and with the Black Panther movie coming in 2018, I am ecstatic for more projects of this caliber to start seeing the light of day. Cheers to b̶e̶i̶n̶g̶ Black.


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