The road to storytelling diversity is a long and winding one, and even with the Ms. Marvels, Statics and Kevin Kellers we have, there’s still a lot of ground to cover.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that the history of comics is entirely devoid of progress.  Welcome to Ten Things!

Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’ and Black History Month, Presents:


10) LION MAN (1947)

From the first and only issue of ‘All-Negro Comics’, the first known comic book featuring all African-American creators, Lion Man, who may be comics’ first black hero, has much in common with the later Black Panther.  A scientist who was born in America, Lion Man was dispatched by the United Nations to Africa’s Gold Coast, where he protects a virtual treasure trove of uranium.  He uses his wits and physical prowess to keep it out of the hands of those who would make it into bombs, in a costume of red loincloth, head and armbands.  Though Mandrake’s companion Lothar predates him in comic strips by some years, Lion Man is noteworthy for avoiding stereotypical “native” dialogue and the grotesque art of many black characters of the era.

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  1. Joe O
    February 8, 2017 at 6:53 pm — Reply

    I’d like to put an honorable mention for Nubia, the black Wonder Woman, who appeared in Wonder Woman comics in the early 1970s.

  2. Joe O
    February 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm — Reply

    While Nubia may not be the first black female superhero, she was the first to have a Mego doll made of her:

    “Gotchya Majyer!”

  3. Ron
    February 9, 2017 at 11:03 pm — Reply

    Mal Duncan (1970), aka Hornblower, aka Guardian, aka Herald, aka Vox, of the Teen Titans deserves an honorable mention.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.