16 Black Superheroes In Comic Books That Are Not Black Panther

16 Black Superheroes In Comic Books That Are Not Black Panther

By: Oliver G. Alvar -

Superheroes are really popular these days, but we still don’t see enough black characters portrayed in films as we see in comics. With "Black Panther" making ripples all over the world, now’s the time to hear about 16 other black superheroes in comic books.

The Black Panther movie is all the rage right now, and deservedly so. It’s particularly important to celebrate the fact that Hollywood is producing decent depictions of black superheroes—finally! But unlike Hollywood, the comic book world didn’t wait until the turn of the century to even introduce amazing black superheroes into their universe. 

Black Panther, for example, has been going strong ever since his debut in 1966, and from then on, many other characters of African descent have been written into the ever-expanding list of comic heroes and villains. As a matter of fact, also unlike Hollywood, far more black characters ever to grace the comic book world have been heroes rather than antagonists, which is great. 

Still, many people are unfamiliar with black superheroes (or the black iterations of superheroes). So, if you’re looking to improve your knowledge beyond Black Panther, here are 16 you should really be familiar with.

black superheroes that are not black panther

Amazing-Man (Will Everett)

Publisher: DC Comics
First appeared in: All-Star Squadron #23 (July 1983)

Like with many superheroes, Will Everett’s life got completely turned around after he suffered an accident that gave him superpowers. You see, as a young African-American athlete, Everett seemed to have a promising future ahead of him when he competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics, but upon returning home, he could only find work as a janitor at a laboratory. When some experimental equipment exploded afterwards, he was suddenly able to mimic whatever material he touched. If he came into contact with metal, for example, he could turn into metal. 

black superheroes that are not black panther

Batwing (David Zavimbe)

Publisher: DC Comics
First appeared in: Batman #250, Batman Inc. #5 (May 2011)

Batwing is one of many superheroes that follow Batman’s footsteps and style. Specifically, David Zavimbe took on the mantle to act as a sort of Batman representative in his native Africa. Zavimbe was a Congolese police officer before taking the mask.  

black superheroes that are not black panther

Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce)

Publisher: DC Comics
First appeared in: Black Lightning #1 (April 1977)

Jefferson Pierce was originally a schoolteacher in the fictional city of Metropolis. Born with the superhuman ability to produce electricity from his body, which he uses to deter crime in his native neighborhood known as Suicide Slums, plagued by organized crime.

Static (Virgil Ovid Hawkins)

Publisher: DC Comics
First appeared in: Static #1 (June 1993)

After being exposed to a mutagenic chemical, young Virgil Ovid Hawkings develops the incredible ability to generate and control electromagnetic power. Often confused as Black Lightning’s son, Static becomes a superhero in his own right, joining one of the DC Universe’s assembly, called Teen Titans.

black superheroes that are not black panther

Steel (John Henry Irons)

Publisher: DC Comics
First appeared in: Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993)

Dr. John Henry Irons started out as an engineering genius who worked in weapons design. After his own creations were used to kill innocent people, he quit his job and left for Metropolis to build a new life, where he was saved by Superman. He asked him what he could do repay his debt, to which Superman simply answered “Live a life worth saving.” After Superman was killed in his battle with Doomsday, Irons vowed to help the world in filling a bit of the void left by his savior, so he built a power armor and, together with four other “Supermen,” took to his task. Each of these four new heroes were each identified under one of Superman’s old nicknames, and Irons got “Man of Steel.” This was later shortened to just Steel by the resurrected Superman himself.

black superheroes that are not black panther

Cyborg (Victor Stone)

Publisher: DC Comics
First appeared in: DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980)

Stone’s parents were crazy scientists who basically used him as a guinea pig when he was growing up. Their experiments artificially enhanced Stone’s intelligence to genius levels, but he obviously grew to hate them. One day, a creature from another dimension gets into Victor's parents’ laboratory as they were experimenting with an inter-dimensional portal. The creature killed Victor’s mother and left him severely injured before his father pushed it back. In an attempt to save him, Victor’s father installed medical prosthetics all over Victor’s body. Thus, he became half man, half machine. Eventually, Victor outgrew his resentment and became a powerful superhero.

black superheroes that are not black panther

Blade (Eric Brooks)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973)

You probably have heard of Blade because of Wesley Snipes’ portrayal in the 1998 film of the same name. When Blade’s mother was giving birth to him, a vampire feasted on her blood and accidentally passed on to Blade vampiric toxins that gave him many of the vampires’ powers, without any of their disadvantages. So, basically, Blade is half human, half vampire, which means he can sense other supernatural creatures, has immense strength and agility, and an extended lifetime. All that while still being able to walk in the daylight without getting burned, giving him an important edge over other vampires. 

Falcon (Sam Wilson)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Captain America #117 (September 1969)

As Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has probably shown you, Falcon is Captain America’s partner in crime (well, in fighting crime, but, you know). He’s one of the earliest black superheroes, dating all the way back to the 60s, and his story has matured enormously since. He uses mechanical wings to fly, but what the movies don’t show you is that he also has telepathic powers in order to communicate and control birds. Wilson’s nephew was one of the first comic book characters to be openly HIV-positive. 

Bishop (Lucas Bishop)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Uncanny X-Men #282 (November 1991)

Bishop is basically a time-traveler. He was a mutant, born from aboriginal mutants in Australia before it was devastated by nuclear weapons. His family fled to America, where he joined Xavier’s Security Enforcers, eventually becoming their commander. After another mutant opened a portal to the past, Bishop traveled there and joined the X-Men instead to try and forge a better future.

black superheroes that are not black panther

Nick Fury Jr. (Marcus Johnson)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Battle Scars #1 (2011)

After the original Nick Fury was reimagined as an African-American based on the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics, Nick Fury Jr. was born for the Battle Scars mini-series. In short, Marcus Johnson grew up without knowing the identity of his real father. After his mother is killed, he finds out he’s actually Nick Fury’s son. He then becomes an extraordinary S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, under the name Nicholas J. Fury Jr.

black superheroes that are not black panther

Nightwatch (Dr. Kevin Trench)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Web of Spider-Man #97 (1993)

When Dr. Trench found an invisibility costume, he set out to investigate its origins. His story arc developed as he tried to figure out his own path and his connection with the suit, which he donned to assume the mantle of a special superhero by the name of Nightwatch, who’d fight alongside many others in the Marvel Universe. 

16 Black Superheroes In Comic Books That Are Not Black Panther 1

Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Ultimate Fallout #4 (August 2011)

As an Afro-Latino teenager, Morales is meant to be a great role model for the newer generations of comic books fans. He’s the second Spider-Man to appear in the Ultimate Marvel, starring in the successful 2018 film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Miles developed powers similar to Peter Parker’s when a genetically engineered spider, created by Norman Osborn in order to obtain Spider-Man’s abilities, bit him. After Peter Parker died, Morales assumed the mantle of the web-slinger.

Storm (Ororo Munroe)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975)

One of the most famous black female superheroes in history, Storm was created in a world where most female heroines were given cat-like abilities. So, Ororo changed that. Descended from a long line of African witch-priestesses, she was born a mutant with the power to control the weather—hence her name. She became part of Charles Xavier's special mutant team, the X-Men.

Luke Cage (Carl Lucas)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972)

Luke Cage, aka Power Man, was the very first black superhero featured as the title character of a comic book. An ex-convict imprisoned for a crime he never committed, he volunteers for a rather crazy experiment which gives him super strength and an impenetrable skin. He joins the New Avengers team and marries superheroine Jessica Jones, both of whom have their own Marvel TV Show. 

War Machine (James "Rhodey" Rhodes)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appeared in: Iron Man #118 (January 1979)

One of the most prominent members of The Avengers and Tony Stark’s best friend, you probably know him from pretty much all of Marvel’s Iron Man and Avengers films, where he is played (mostly) by Don Cheadle. As a lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, Rhodey has top-notch training, which he puts to good use after donning one of Stark’s suits to become the unstoppable War Machine. 

Misty Knight (Mercedes Knight)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First mentioned in: Marvel Premiere #20 (January 1975)

After she lost her arm to a bomb attack as an NYPD officer, Mercedes Knight retired from the force and got a bionic prosthetic from Tony Stark. She then started a private investigation enterprise, and, together with Colleen Wing, began to fight crime soon after.

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