As our world becomes more inclusive, shouldn’t our heroes be too?
This question has been asked quite a bit over the years, and with the recent release of The Black Panther Movie, it seems to be a bit more on everyone’s minds. And it’s no wonder, with beautiful natural hair, a traditionally-drawn culture, and an empowerment not often seen it definitely feels like a breath of fresh air!
It is not often known, but The Black Panther was not the first ethnically diverse character in the comic book ‘verse.
You don’t have to be a comic book fan to love these bold, beautiful, and diverse characters.
Which one of these are your favorites? Who speaks to your inner hero?
In 2013 the writers for Marvel introduced a new Ms. Marvel for the next generation, and they did it in their true groundbreaking style. Kamala Khan, otherwise known as Ms. Marvel is the first Muslim character to headline their own comic book.
She made her first appearance in 2013 and went off on her own only a year later. This spunky Pakistani-American teen from New Jersey takes the mantle from the previous Ms. Marvel, and she has already made waves. Ms. Marvel won a Hugo Award in 2015 for best graphic story – congrats Kamala and team!
Sadly, Peter Parker was killed within the Marvel Universe back in 2002, and he doesn’t appear to be making a grand return just yet. That’s okay because a new Spiderman has hit the scene and we couldn’t be more excited.
Miles Morales, the half-black, half-Puerto Rican teenager from Brooklyn is filling shoes almost better than Peter could. With new abilities and more trials, this kid is on fire!
The first of three X-Men on this list, Jubilee was many girls’ favorite as a child, and it’s no wonder why. This girl overcame all odds, got to hang out with Wolverine (*swoon*) and was obsessed with the mall.
But there was more about this girl that helped her stand out, she was one of the first female Chinese characters in the Marvel universe to take a main role. An added plus, she wasn’t featured as the exotic stereotype that Asian-Americans often are in media! She truly was groundbreaking.
One of the few DC characters in our list, Solstice is proudly featured here for two reasons, not only is she an amazingly powerful addition to the Teen Titans, but she is one of the only characters in the comic book universe of Indian descent.
She is first seen teaming up with Wonder Girl and uses her “sun-filled” power to not only spread joy but destroy all the terribly negative baddies. It may sound a little Saturday-morning-cartoon, but we assure you – she is awesome.
X-Man number two on our list, Forge is more than just a powerful addition to the team. He represents multiple cultures or underrepresented persons. In addition to being a veteran of the Vietnam War, Forge is also a member of the Cheyenne Nation. While his powers touch a bit on his Native American culture, much of that has been repaired over the years.
In addition to his “nature-based” powers, he is truly skilled with technology and mechanics, making him valuable in many ways. We hope to see him on the big screen someday.
With his recent movie release you may think that The Black Panther was one of the first POC characters, and you would be right. His first appearance was in The Fantastic Four in 1966. He didn’t feature the plunging neckline and afro that was popular at the time, however, he was sleek, powerful and represented an afro-dystopia that has empowered children for generations.
Best of all, he did it without much of the stereotyping that many black comic book characters have had to endure. For that, we commend both he and his writers.
DC character number two on our list, Black Lightning exploded into the DC universe in 1977. While a few years behind much of the diverse groundbreaking Marvel had done, we are mentioning Black Lightning on our list for a few reasons.
While he was stereotypical in all the wrong ways, (plunging neckline, his disguise consisted of an afro wig) he also defied many others. He was a professor, dedicated to his community and to his family. In fact, he was so dedicated that when he was offered a chance to join the Justice League he turned it down because he didn’t want to take too much time from his family.
Talk about a male role model!
His comic may not have stuck around for long, but it did make an impact while it was here.
No list of diverse comic book characters would be complete without mentioning Storm. The first female of color, Storm was introduced into the X-Men universe in 1975 and since then has been an instrumental part of their story. In fact, she is arguably one of the most popular X-Men of all times.
Storm is a headstrong fighter who such an intricate part of the Marvel universe that it may have come as no surprise when she married T’Challa. Otherwise known as The Black Panther.
Storm didn’t choose between being an X-Men member or a queen, however, after all, why not be both?
It was a great surprise to see so many diverse characters in comics, and with so many people of color, it was hard for us to pick just one. So, here are our honorable mentions, which ones are your favorite?
Which of these amazing heroes speaks to you?
You are strong and beautiful, just like each of them. Even if you can’t control lightning or soar through the air, we all have a little hero inside of us.
Through the summer of 2018 Moler Beauty Academy is celebrating the inner hero in all of us. Share your superhero looks and follow us on social media for games, contests, and more.
Follow #MolerHeros to take part, and let’s make this summer super!