10 Black Superheroes to Look Up to in DC and Marvel Comics

Black Superheroes from within the DC and Marvel Universes have given us exciting story arcs with elevated voices. Here are 10 legendary heroes you should know!

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As times go by, we are getting more and more representation within the major comic companies of Marvel and DC. But we shall not forget the heroes that started this trend. Here are ten black superheroes that we grew up with!

DC Comics

John Stewart as Green Lantern

John Stewart as green lantern
IMAGE VIA DC COMICS

First Appearance: Green Lantern #87 (1972)

First Standalone: Green Lantern Volume 2 #182 (1984)

The Guardians of the Universe had their eye on young John Stewart as they thought he would be a valuable member of the Green Lantern Corps. As a test, they sent a Martian Manhunter to test his worth. Without a second thought, John went head to head with the Manhunter and his bravery warranted him the Green Lantern Ring. Quickly, he mastered the ring and defeated the Manhunter. Afterward, he was welcomed by the Guardians of the Universe as they foresaw his bravery and his desire for peace.

All of John Stewart’s powers are powered by the Green Lantern Ring. These powers include energy absorption, superhuman strength, durability, flight, cosmic awareness, size alterations, and teleportation. His powers, alongside the rest of the Green Lantern squad, are quite endless!

John diggle opening a box that has something with green in it
IMAGE VIA DEN OF GEEK/CW

Live Portrayal: We have yet to have a live performance as a John Stewart rendition; however, John Diggle (David Ramsey) from the Arrowverse, was hinted at taking the role of Green Lantern. Nothing seemed to come about this in the end.

Victor Stone as Cyborg

Cyborg
IMAGE VIA WIRED

First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (1980)

First Standalone: Cyborg Unplugged Vol. 1 (2016)

Victor Stone is the son of two scientists Silas and Elinore Stone. The two used him as a test subject to increase his intelligence. As a result, Victor’s IQ grows, but so does his resentment toward them. As a result, he rebels by entering athletics and leaving his studies behind. He also gets entangled with a degenerate named Ron Evers who gets Victor in trouble from time to time.

Everything seems to change though when Victor visits his parents’ lab and an experiment that involves interdimensional access was occurring. As he entered the lab, an aggressive gelatinous creature came into existence and killed his mother. It then turned to Victor and severely injured him. Silas was able to save his son by taking advantage of medical prosthetic research to treat Victor back to health. When Victor wakes up he loathes what his father had done to him as half of his head and the rest of his body is decked in metallic components. He would have rather died. However, after some adjusting, he was able to get used to this way of living.

His power includes a High IQ, Superhuman strength, stamina, durability, speed, flight, computer interference, Nano-regenerating, and portal creation.

ray fisher as cyborg
IMAGE VIA WARNER BROS

Live Portrayal: Cyborg has been played by a few actors. The first notable portrayal was Lee Thompson Young in the TV show Smallville. Ray Fisher played Victor Stone in the Justice League movie(s). Recently, Jovan Wade plays the role in Doom Patrol.

Mari Jiwe McCabe as Vixen

Mari Jiwe McCabe as Vixen
IMAGE VIA DC DATABASE

First Appearance: Action Comics #521 (1981)

First Standalone: Vixen Return of the Lion (2008)

Long ago in Ghana, a warrior by the name of Tantu asked Anansi the Spider to make a totem that would allow the person to channel the powers from the animal kingdom if they should wear it. This totem was given to Tantu and eventually through generations was supposed to be in the name of Mari Jiwe McCabe. However, her father who at the time wore the totem was murdered by his half-brother, General Maksai. He stole it for himself. Alone after both of her parents died, she moved to America and claimed a new identity. She used her wealth from becoming a model to return to Africa to get the totem back. Successfully so, she became Vixen.

Vixen is skilled in hand-to-hand combat. With her totem on hand, she is capable of animal imitation, increased strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes, senses, enhanced vision, sharp claws, healing acceleration, and energy manipulation.

Megalyn Echikunwoke as Mari (aka Vixen)
IMAGE VIA CW

Live Portrayal: Megalyn Echikunwoke played Mari (aka Vixen) in the Arrowverse.

Virgil Albert Hawkins as Static

Virgil Albert Hawkins as Static Shock
IMAGE VIA POLYGON

First Appearance/First Standalone: Static #1 (1993)

Virgil was an honor student, and as a result, was a victim of bullying by Francis Stone. A classmate named Wade intervened in an altercation between the two. However, Virgil had to then join Wade’s gang. Francis Stone’s gang went to head with Wade’s at the Dakota docks. When the police came to break them up, guns were shot, a particular gas evaded the air and Virgil was exposed. The gas ended up changing Virgil’s body with electricity. After getting accustomed to his powers, he vowed to be the protector of Dakota City.

His powers include Amplified Electrical Aura, bolds, tasters, static, flight, nova bursts, technology manipulation, radio wave, and anything related to electricity he can pretty much manipulate.

Live Portrayal: As of now, Static has not made it to the big screen or TV, but he did have his own cartoon show back in the early 2000s!

Karen Beecher as Bumblebee

Karen Beecher as Bumblebee
IMAGE VIA DC DATABASE

First Appearance: Teen Titans #45 (1976)

Karen Beecher fell into the superhero accidentally. She created the Bumblebee suit to help her boyfriend, Mal Duncan, look good in front of his team, Teen Titans, so she tricked the Titans and fought them. When she told them the truth later, they were so impressed by her skills! They offered her a spot on the team.

At first, Karen’s power was from her suit. It made her shrink and fly! But later, she got stuck in a shrunken size with new superpowers. She was able to naturally fly and had strong hypersonic blasts.

Live Portrayal: At this time, Bumblebee has not been on our TV or movie screens.

Marvel Comics

Ororo Munroe as Storm

Ororo Munroe as Storm
IMAGE VIA MARVEL

First Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975)

First Standalone: Storm #1 (1996)

The daughter of a Kenyan princess and American photographer, Ororo was born in Harlem, New York. Her parents had them relocate to Cairo, Egypt while she was still an infant. This happy little family was tragically broken when her parents passed away due to a plane crashing into their home. Thankfully, Ororo survived the events but was left alone as an orphan to pickpocket for survival.

As Ororo grew older, she left Egypt and went down south to her ancestral homeland. During her journey, she endured treacherous tribulations while crossing the Sahara. However, this is when Ororo’s mutant powers are activated, and she is able to help Prince T’Challa, who was kidnapped. She was worshipped by many, as her abilities brought from rain to deserted areas. After helping the X-men defeat weather manipulator Deluge, Professor X asked her to join them as the main team was trapped on the living island of Krakoa. Since then, she has been known as Storm.

She’s a naturally skilled fighter, but her mutation powers are the ability to control the weather– causing storms, rain, clouds, wind (flight), and extreme climates. She is immune to extreme climates, both hot and cold.

Alexander shipp and halle berry side by side as storm
IMAGE VIA DEVIANT ART

Live Portrayal: Halle Berry played Storm from 2000-2014. Recently, Alexander Shipp played Storm in the new generations of X-Men characters.

Eric Brooks as Blade

Eric Brooks as Blade
IMAGE VIA MARVEL DATABASE

First Appearance: Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)

First Standalone: Blade: The Vampire-Hunter Vol 1 (1994)

Eric Brooks’ father was a member of an ancient secret society, the Order of Tyrana. While his mother, Tara, was pregnant, she had to flee to England from Latveria when his father was held captive. When giving birth, a man who claimed to be a doctor, assisted her in birthing; however, while Eric was coming into existence, Tara was bitten, and the enzymes were transferred into Eric’s bloodstream. As an orphan, he was raised by Madame Vanity’s brothel. At a young age, he showed fearlessness in fighting off vampires, and he encountered his soon-to-be fighting master, Jamal Afar.

Things turned out not so great when a few years later he accidentally killed an innocent man. Afar and Madam Vanity sent him to New York to join a Tyruana gang called the Bloodshadows. He easily took control of the group and brought them back to England, so they could help fight off vampires. Everything came to a standstill when his fighting master, Afar, was transformed into a vampire by Dracula. Eric ultimately had to kill him.

Thirsty for revenge, he joined a vampire-slaying group, and they prompted him with the name Blade because of his amazing skills with bladed weapons. Dracula killed almost all of his teammates easily and left Blade purposely to return the favor at a later date. From all the people that had fallen before him, he borrowed their attire and techniques to be the man he became– Blade.

His powers and abilities include superhuman strength, stamina, healing, heightened senses, durability, martial arts, and sword fighting.

mahershala ali AND Wesley Snipes as Blade
IMAGE VIA MOVIEWEB

Live Portrayal: Wesley Snipes played Blade from 1998-2004. As of now, Mahershala Ali has taken over the role in the MCU. The new adaptation is coming out sometime in 2024.

King T’Challa as Black Panther

King T'Challa as Black Panther
IMAGE VIA MARVEL DATABASE

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #52 (1961)

First Standalone: Black Panther #1 (1977)

In the comics, T’Challa was simply the prince of King T’Chaka. Everything changed when his father was murdered by Ulysses Klaw, an avid obsessor of all things vibranium. T’Challa traveled the world soon after to expose himself to education, and happily, he encountered his soon-to-be wife Ororo Munroe– Aka Storm. When he returned home he challenged the current Black Panther without revealing his true identity. At the time his Uncle S’Yan was Black Panther. He defeated him with triumph and vigor. Once he revealed his true identity the country welcomed him with open arms.

He gets his powers from a mystical herb. Strength, speed, stamina agility, reflexes, martial arts, and acrobatics.

Chadwick Boseman as black panther
IMAGE VIA DISNEY/MARVEL

Live Portrayal: Chadwick Boseman graced our screens as T’Challa in the MCU until he passed away in 2020. He appeared in four movies.

Sam Wilson as The Falcon/Captain America

Sam Wilson as The Falcon/Captain America
IMAGE VIA MARVEL DATABASE

First Appearance: Captain America #117 (1968)

First Standalone: Falcon #1 (1983)

Sam Wilson was raised in a household that valued not only faith but also justice and fairness. Sadly, Sam witnessed the murder of his father death by a gang-related incident. Soon after, his mother was murdered during a mugging. Sam was alone taking care of his younger brother and sister.

He wanted to keep his parents’ spirits within him, so he strived to instill goodness in his actions. Along his journey, he began to communicate with birds, and soon after he came in contact with a falcon, Redwing. While Sam was on the Island of the Exiles, Sam met Captain America (unknowingly because he was body swapped at the time) and he advised him to take on the identity of Falcon. A while after, he became partners with Captain America.

His powers and abilities are hand-to-hand combat and telepathy.

Anthony Mackie as the falcon and captain America
IMAGE VIA THE DIRECT

Live Portrayal: Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson for the MCU.

Carl Lucas as Luke Cage/Power Man

Carl Lucas as Luke Cage/Power Man
IMAGE VIA MARVEL DATABASE

First Appearance/First Standalone: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire (1972)

Carl Lucas got mixed up in the wrong crowd growing up and was wrongly imprisoned. While there, he began reading up on his books and making friends with Doctor Noah Burstein. However, he had an enemy inside the four walls. A prison guard by the name of Albert “Billy Bob” Rackham made his life hell. 

Burstein enlists Carl to help him recreate the Super Soldier Serum (the powers that Captain America got) in order to help cure diseases. However, Rackham meddled with the controls while Carl was inside the machine which caused Carl’s body to obtain super strength, durability, and indestructible skin. With these newfound abilities, he breaks out of prison and returns home. He instantly helps stop a bank robbery at a local diner. It’s at this moment Carl Luscas became Luke Cage.

Powers: His powers include, bulletproof skin, damage immunity, superdense body mass, healing factor, superhuman strength, hand-to-hand combat, superhuman durability, and healing factor.

Mike Colter as Luke cage. black superheroes.
IMAGE VIA USATODAY

Live Portrayal: Mike Colter played Luke Cage in Netflix’s Marvel’s Luke Cage from 2016-2018.


We should all look up to these superheroes as they have paved the way for black voices in the comics world. As of today, we are getting a lot of adaptations with Black and other POC leads (with an actual good story-telling might I add). For more POC representation in comic books, click here!

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