Overused Characters That Started Out Small

There are always going to be new characters in comics. Some of them make the cut and some don’t. Meaning that if the character is popular enough it will be used over again. And if the character gets really popular then you will see too much of that character.

We have put together 5 characters that started out as supporting characters but moved on to be extremely popular and extremely overused. Yeah, they are good characters and well-deserving of most of the attention they get, however, maybe we see them too much.

5. Lobo – first app. Omega Men #3 (June 1983)

Lobo was first created by Roger Slifer and Keith Griffen as an alien who worked as a mercenary and bounty hunter in the Omega Men comic. He was introduced as a villain and after a period of not being used, he was revived as an anti-hero. At that time, he was meant to be a parody of Marvel characters like Wolverine and Punisher.

Once his popularity took off in the 1990’s he was everywhere. He had special issues and limited series. He was the DC it character. I liked his role in L.E.G.I.O.N. the best plus it was the role that broadened his appeal to make him even more popular. Whenever a book needed a boost usually DC would make a hero fight and then team up with The Main Man, which is what Lobo called himself on several occasions.

The problem with this was that Lobo was thrown in some books with no rhyme or reason which made some of his appearances seem stupid and gratuitous. Unlike the others on this list, he has yet to make an appearance in a major movie only being shown in television cartoons and the second season of the series Krypton.

4. Venom – first app. The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984)

Venom was set to be the ultimate Spider-Man villain and turned into something more. I’m listing the first appearance as Amazing Spider-Man #252 because that’s when Venom was just a symbiote costume for Spider-Man who would later possess Eddie Brock and merge to become his greatest rival.

When fans took to the villain, that’s when things got a little carried away. He would return to fight Spider-Man and even break off to inhabit another body to become a more psychopathic version of himself called Carnage. To make it even crazier the two would fight each other. Venom then gets his own book and now it’s on. Venom still shows up in Spidey comics and has his own book from time to time.

He goes from being a villain to an anti-hero. Just like Lobo, he starts showing up in different books to help boost readers. Venom showed up in Spider-Man cartoons and became even more popular when Marvel and Sony decided to make a movie starring Venom. My problem with this was how do you make a Venom movie without Spider-Man? How does a character get so popular that his origin story doesn’t matter anymore? 

3. Deadpool – first appearance The New Mutants #98 (February 1991)

The Merc With A Mouth made his debut in New Mutants as a hitman and moved on to be seen in several X-Force books. Just like the other overused characters on this list, Deadpool started appearing as a guest in other books to eventually land his own title. His popularity was so high Marvel even gave him a shoutout putting him in his own book.

A Deadpool title is not like most books. Because of Deadpool’s erratic behavior, his stories were unusual and wacky and involved on some occasions with breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the reader. His popularity didn’t stop with comics. Played by Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool went to another level. Deadpool became a household name with two characters on the spot hit movies.

Since I was a big New Mutants fan and collected that whole series plus all of X-Force, I was an initial fan of Deadpool. However, the other fans wanted too much of a good thing and I’m less of a Deadpool fan preferring his earlier more spaced out appearances than the overkill we get now with movies, cartoons, and clothing paraphernalia. But in defense Ryan Reynolds does a spot-on job that makes you love the movies.

2. Harley Quinn – first app. Batman: The Animated Series (September 11, 1992)

This article is about small side characters who blew up larger than expected. Well, Harley Quinn did just that the best way possible. Harley Quinn is the only character on this list that did not originate in a comic book but on TV. Her character was originally supposed to be a walk-on as an assistant to the Joker but the character took so much that by September 1993 she made her comic book debut in The Batman Adventures #12 and was promptly placed into DC Universe canon.

Next thing you knew her popularity grew and by the late 90’s early 2000 every girl and woman wanted to be Harley Quinn for Halloween. Just like all the other characters on this list, the publisher saw the fan appeal and decided to stick her in as many books as possible. The next step of putting the character in a live-action movie where Margot Robbie did a splendid job of bringing the character to life. I have a buddy now who texts me every other day to tell me how I’m missing out on the latest Harley Quinn book. To me, it’s just a re-works Harley Quinn with another telling of her origins in a different light.

1. Wolverine – first app. The Incredible Hulk #181 (November 1974)

Wolverine comes in number 1 for a few reasons. He started out as a bit character to help capture the Hulk and the issue turned into a collector’s item. Wolverine is the oldest character on the list and deserves the senior respect especially being part of some classic storylines. He is probably one of the top known comic characters.

He’s big in both cartoons and movies. And last but not least he is the best at what he does. The funny thing about this article, when writing it a thought about the New Avengers came to mind. As a team member, he joked to Spiderwoman that his biggest super-power was the ability to be multiple places at once. This may not have been true but he was in a whole lot of books at the time. Wolverine became popular in both cartoons and movies.

When Wolverine was with the X-Men and had his first mini-series that was epic at the time. However, being on the X-Men, having his own book and being on the Avengers was just too much. This is a great character being oversaturated in the books. Plus, when Wolverine first appeared, he had no memory of his true origin. Now that they have given that back to him it took away the mystery of writing him, it’s not so much fun. The angst is gone.

That’s our list. Is there any character we missed? Who do you think the next break out character will be? Leave a comment and let us know.

Kenny Walker Jr

Comics and Racism

Usually, at ObsidianNomad, we stay away from the social and political topics of the day. We keep things focused on nerd culture. This article is going to slightly deviate from that format and yet stay in our lane of nerd culture. Art has a way of imitating life and the same is true with the comic book community. When it comes to racism comic books have been represented in both negative ways and positive ways.

There was always a disconnect with superheroes and people of color because at the beginning of comics there were no creators or writers of color. You had gross misinterpretations of people of color due to the time’s comic books started. Characters like Captain Marvel’s Steamboat who was so offensive that it took a unity of integrated students to get the publisher not to use that character again.

Until the late 60’s and early 70’s, you had no proper representation of Black people in comics. The main reason a kid reads a comic is to escape the real world and go to a fantasy place where you could believe a man could fly. But how can you do that when those characters look nothing like you, and you can’t relate to what they are saying and doing because it is not your world.

Even as we got to more advanced times and thinking during the 1960’s through the 1980’s you still had a slight disconnect with comic book fans of color. Characters that were created of color were not written or drawn by people of color, so the stories and art were not always true to life as much as the White characters were. Also, a majority of characters of color were introduced with the front cover questioning whether they were friend or foe.

I distinctly remember Action Comic #521 in 1981 introducing Vixen and having a caption on the cover that would have the reader wondering whether she was hero or villainess. Obviously, Vixen is a hero, but the point is if you look at a majority of the books during that time any time a character of color was introduced this was the way.

In Green Lantern Green Arrow #76 published in the 70’s, writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams created one of the first woke moments in comics. This happened when an elderly Black man told Green Lantern about himself. He asked Green Lantern point-blank how he tends to do for every race in the universe but still manages to ignore Black people in his own backyard. Green Lantern had no answer.

In Marvel Two-In-One #55, the Thing teamed up with Giant Man. No, not Hank Pym Giant Man but Bill Foster Giant Man. At the time Bill Foster was calling himself Black Goliath and during a conversation, the Thing talked Foster into changing his name to Giant Man. The Thing said to Foster, “anyone can tell you are Black …..” which prompted Foster to change his name and not be identified as a color but as a man.

I would say a pivotal point that people of color started to get represented properly in comics was the creation of Milestone Comics. In 1993 a collective group of Afro-American writers and artists joined to create a line of comics that represented minority characters. Consisting of Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, and Michael Davis a comic line was established through DC Comics publishing that brought characters from a different point of view from what we were used to seeing.

From their things in comics started to get a little better as far as stereotyping characters based on their ethnic background. Comic books were slowly catching up with the times as far as race relations. More issues related to bigotry and racism started to hit comics. We even got a Black man as Captain America for a short period of time. However, just as in real life the world of comics books also still has some growing pains to go through as far as getting this race thing right.

In 1967 Stan Lee, who was instrumental in bringing more diverse characters to Marvel in the 60’s and 70’s decided to start a column in the back of the books called Stan’s Soapbox. In this, Stan Lee would write letters to his readers about the stories or answer questions but sometimes he would use this platform to tell you how he felt about the world around him. With that said we are going to leave this article with words about racism from the great Stan Lee written in 1968.

Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them — to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater — one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen — people he’s never known — with equal intensity — with equal venom.

“Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race — to despise an entire nation — to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God ― a God who calls us ALL ― His children.

“Pax et Justitia, Stan.”

Kenny Walker Jr

Our Girl is Stargirl

Say what you want about DC but the one thing they corner the market on is legacy heroes. Since The Flash #123 story “Flash of Two Worlds” in 1961, DC has always carried the tradition of having legacy heroes. This is the case with Courtney Whitmore, Stargirl.

I remember collecting Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.S. #0 when it came out in 1999. I was a big fan of the Justice Society of America which in the DC Universe was a team all about legacy and this was another legacy hero, so I bought it.

Stargirl had the pleasure of being a legacy for two different heroes: Starman and the Star-Spangled Kid. When they died, she found the tools they used to fight justice and became Stargirl. Since then she has fought crime and been a pivotal force in the Justice Society and the DC universe in general. So, it stands to reason that she would be the next pick to star in a live-action show.

When it comes to relating comic book character to live action, there are some liberties that must be taken. Changes that must be made. The CW have been known for making those changes to fit a budget or a single script. When CW started the Arrowverse with its headlining show Arrow, all I could think was they have Oliver Queen in this closely resemble Bruce Wayne. That’s not who the character of Oliver Queen is. They have changed some origins to fit the Arrowverse into one neat package. Amazingly enough, Stargirl is not one of these shows where they had to dig too far away from the comic book. This show is as spot on as any fan can ask for.

The pilot opens 10 years in the past where we witness the last days of the Justice Society as they are defeated at the hands of the Injustice Society. With his last dying breath, Starman gave his greatest weapon, the cosmic staff, to his friend and sidekick Pat Dugan, otherwise known as Stripesy. Stripesy made the promise that he would one day find someone to be Starman again. 10 years later, Pat marries Barbara Whitmore and moves her and her daughter, Courtney, to Blue Valley.

Courtney, who is not fond of her new stepdad or stepbrother, eventually finds the cosmic staff which seems to work for no one else but her. That’s how Stargirl is born. That simple. The funny thing is that’s how it happens in the comic book. Such a simple origin makes a believable story. Now the tv show does add a small twist that is not in the comics, but this is a twist that I don’t mind because it actually makes sense. Both Courtney and Pat find that Blue valley isn’t exactly what it seems to be which makes this the perfect scene for mayhem in a small town.

Brec Bassinger is perfect as Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl. She plays the angst teenager turned adventure-seeking superhero to a T. However, even as this show is called Stargirl and does center around Brec Bassinger’s Courtney Whitmore, the main driving force behind this show is Pat Dugan played by actor Luke Wilson. Wilson’s comedic timing is what makes this show believable due to his ability to play the everyman.

His transition from awkward stepfather to former hero sidekick still trying to save the world is awesome. If you take into account some of the past projects Luke Wilson has been a part of such as Alvin and the Chipmunks and My Super Ex-Girlfriend that you can see where his particular acting talents shine. The comic book originated being a relationship between this unlikely duo becoming a well-oiled superhero team and the chemistry between these two actors translates that perfectly.

As of this article, we are only two episodes in of what will be a thirteen-episode arc but so far this has promise. That promise is because one of the producers and showrunners is Geoff Johns who is one of the creators of Courtney Whitmore as Stargirl. I believe this is the main factor that keeps this show close to the source material. As you watch the pilot episode and the second episode following, pay close attention to the many Easter eggs throughout the story.

Remember, the Justice Society of America is all about legacy so you will see that theme throughout the show. That’s what makes this show a fanboy’s dream. I’m certain I missed some eggs and I will probably have to go back and rewatch to find them. I mean forget the Justice League movie. This is so much better because you get to glimpse the JSA in action and I know we will probably get some more flashbacks.

Stargirl is a breath of fresh air superhero show that will appeal to so many: young ladies, the nerds, and even middle-aged stepparents who can understand the plight of Pat Dugan. Showing on the DC Universe streaming channel and your local CW station, you have every opportunity to treat yourself to a fresh look at a young superhero.

Give it a watch and tell us in the comments what you think of Stargirl.

Kenny Walker Jr

The Underused & the Underrated

As a comic book reader and collector, there are a lot of characters that I love. Personally, I tend to go against the grain on a lot of things. This means if the whole world likes a favorite singer, I’m the guy that goes “they ok”. If every guy in the room thinks a particular girl is hot, I’m the guy that say, “she alright”. Yeah, I’m that guy.

The same goes for comic characters for me. Deadpool becomes a big hit that everyone loves to see in every book and I purposely won’t pick up a Deadpool book. Wolverine started showing up in everything at one point and the only book I read that he was in was his stint in the Avengers. I’m quite sure you see where I’m going with this.

Now in the age where superheroes are everywhere thanks to movies and television, there are some heroes that are getting attention that they normally don’t receive. For example, outside comic book nerds, no one ever heard of the Suicide Squad or it’s members until the movie. On that same note, half the population thought the Marvel Black Panther movie was about the Afro-American party movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s and not Marvel’s first Black superhero from the fictional land of Wakanda.  

When Superman, Batman, Spiderman or Captain America came to your screens you knew exactly what you were getting. These are the popular guys. The ones that are always on the front of comics and the main guy in the movie that always comes out on top.

But this article is not about those guys. This article is about those other guys that are not as well known and you tend to overlook. Some of these guys have made their way to the movies or tv but I feel like they are still not getting their due. This article is about the heroes I thought should have played a bigger role in their universes. These are the characters that were just not utilized in the way they should have been.

Wonder Man – first app. The Avengers #9 (Oct 1964)      

Simon Williams is that guy who is definitely underused and underrated. He’s just as strong as Hulk, Thor, and Sentry. He can fly. He is invulnerable. He is made of ionic energy. The added plus is he is immortal. He has his own book but it was short-lived. Seems like every time they try to spotlight him it always falls short. He has been very instrumental in many Avenger battles, but he never gets the spotlight as much as Vision, Thor, or Iron Man. He’s never been that guy they say, “oh great, Wonder Man is here the day is saved”. Marvel needs to do a serious pick me up on the character like they did Captain Marvel. Put Wonder Man in a movie and make him a leader in a comic book. Give him his due.

Hank Pym – first app. Tales to Astonish #27 (January 1962)      

Ok, so we know Hank Pym is in the MCU but that’s not the Hank Pym we know from the comics. For one, the MCU Hank Pym is older and didn’t work directly with the Avengers. The comic version of Hank Pym is currently dead, but we also know that death doesn’t stick in comics. The Hank Pym in the MCU and in the comics is always in the shadow of other heroes when he should have been a much bigger presence. He created Ultron in the comics that could single-handedly defeat all the Avengers at once. But let’s look at a time when he was the most powerful in my opinion.

During his stint on West Coast Avengers, Hank Pym didn’t go by a superhero name and he didn’t have a flashy costume. He used his Pym Particles to not shrink or grow himself but on other objects. This is a guy who could carry a whole arsenal for an army in his jacket pocket and you would never know. You could be fighting him and he could shrink or grow anything around him including the stuff you are fighting with to his advantage. No one expected a power like that to be so useful and he would defeat people who thought this was a lame use of his power. Why they let this concept go and ended up eventually killing him I will never know. Let’s bring him back alive and use his power in this way again.

Zatanna – first app. Hawkman #4 (November 1964)      

I used to think Zatana was whack. Does that term show my age? Anyway, she couldn’t really physically fight and when I first encountered her in the Justice League in the 70’s she was someone the other Leaguer’s had to protect during a fight. Back in those days if you covered her mouth or made it so she couldn’t be heard she was powerless. Her only power was mediocre spells at best said backwards. Over the years she has become more powerful and learned some fighting styles.

Her character has become bolder. During the Identity Crisis story, Zatanna mindwipes Dr Light and Batman and from that point has a history of doing so. Zatanna is like DC’s answer to Scarlet Witch whereas she is this least expecting hero with enormous power. She is the DC universe’s most powerful sorceress. Yeah, she’s had a few feature stories in Justice League, back up features in other books, her own brief series, some graphic novel, plus animated and live-action exposure but Zatanna is not that household name she needs to be. She needs to be brought to the forefront in the DC Universe as a major player.

Cassandra Cain – first app. Batman #567 (July 1999)      

Two of the best fighters in the DC Universe are Batman and Lady Shiva: Cassandra Cain can take them both to a stand-still and has defeated them on occasion. That should well be enough to give her much more attention in the DC Universe. When she was Batgirl, she did have her own book and she is well featured in the Batman books, but this is a character that has so much potential.

Her mother is the leading assassin in the DC Universe that just about everyone, including heroes, walks into a hand to hand fight with knowing they are going to lose. This is the super-spy of the DC Universe. By the way, let’s toss out that depiction of her in Birds of Prey. For a good DC movie, writing that character as anything other than an assassin was a terrible mistake. Cassandra Cain needs a larger more active role as the number one hand to hand combatant in the DC Universe

Blue Beetle – first app Captain Atom #83 (November 1966) & Booster Gold – first app Booster Gold #1 (February 1986)

Separately, these two are average but together they are comic book gold (pun intended). These two characters are the Laurel and Hardy of superheroes. They are the Pryor and Wilder of the Justice League. These characters should have had their own book ages ago. Ted Kord is the second Blue Beetle who was a genius-level inventor who had all these cool gadgets to help him fight crime. He had his own book and was featured in the first gathering of the Justice League after the Crisis On Infinite Earths.

He was like a light-hearted Bruce Wayne/Batman. When Booster Gold first appeared, he was everywhere. He premiered in his own book then became a member of the Justice League. It was also discovered that he is the father of time-traveling hero Rip Hunter. Together they put the bwa hahaha into comics – literally. They put the bromance into comics and deserve to be at the forefront of the DC universe especially with their team-up appearance in Heroes in Crisis.

Elongated man – first app The Flash #112 (May 1960)

My biggest pet peeve with DC comics is how they killed off Ralph Dibney, The Elongated Man, and subsequently tried to replace him with Plastic Man among the heroes. As I wrote in a previous article, Ralph Dibney and his wife Sue were the perfect detective couple in comics period. They loved each other and backed each other’s play. Then they decided to give the most wholesome union in comics a dark history by making Sue a victim of rape, erasing memories of the incident, and then ultimately killing Sue accidentally because another hero wife didn’t feel loved. On top of that, Ralph goes crazy with trying to bring her back and dies himself in the process.

Then you make them both detective ghosts and you don’t use that at all. That right there is a book. That’s the Topper movies from the 40’s done superhero style. How did DC miss that window of opportunity? Elongated man was a detective mind on par with Batman himself. He had chemist knowledge. He had Mr. Fantastic stretch powers before Mr. Fantastic existed. He is a really funny character. Nothing against Plastic Man which appears to be the push, but I like Ralph way better. I know he’s on the CW but even there he doesn’t get to shine much. Either alive or dead as a ghost Ralph Dibney, The Elongated Man, and his wife Sue need their own book or head their own team.

Sunspot – first app. The New Mutants Graphic Novel (September 1985)      

I remember picking up the first appearance of Roberto de Costa, Sunspot when he appeared alongside the other New Mutants in that first graphic novel. When the X-Men were feared lost and dead, Professor X created these new students to teach and train to use their powers however not making them X-Men. Sunspot had the character and powers that stuck out. Powered by the sun which turned him into a solar eclipse being with super strength. He was a rich kid that had the world at his feet until he and the world found out he was a mutant. Roberto turned that around and embraced his power and his wealth.

A super-powered rich corporate hero who went from being feared and hated to leading corporations and even his own Avengers team. He’s got fantastic powers in the superhero world and realistic powers in the regular world. If that’s not a character that should be a major player in the Marvel universe then I don’t know who should be. Yes, leave him as part of the X-Men universe within Marvel but expand him in his own book to touch on the other parts of the Marvel universe. Give him the Wolverine and Deadpool treatment. At one point they were pushing Gambit as the big next mutant hero, but I think that was wasted when you had Sunspot there all along.

Mister Miracle – first app. Mister Miracle #1 (April 1971)      

So, I’m going to lead off with the fact that this Mister Miracle, Scott Free, is an immortal god. So, his dad, Highfather, is the ruler of the New Gods. That’s like Odin being ruler over Asgardians. So basically, this guy is like a Thor. Yep, totally underrated, and probably should have been at the top of this list. His backstory is kind of sick where he gets traded to the main bad guy, Darkseid, to establish peace between the warring factions. Yes, they trade son for son. So, while Darkseid’s son, Orion, lived a princely life and was treated extremely well, Darkseid threw Scott in the worst orphanage run by the evilest creature to torture him.

Until of course he learned how to escape. That’s his thing: he escapes. The mistake is that what everyone dumbs him down to the guy that escapes. Kind of like “oh, we got an ocean problem lets call Aquaman because we are stupid enough that a guy that can swim the depths of the ocean can only talk to fish”. I’m not going to mention all the other powers he has but just to reiterate that HE IS A FREAKIN’ IMMORTAL GOD. Let’s not even get into the fact that his suit enhances his already god-like powers. He also comes with a super-strong warrior wife, Big Barda, and a personal assistant, Oberon. As a one-time member of the Justice League with ties to not only New Genesis and to Earth, there is no reason not to make this character a major player in the DC universe.

Blue Marvel – first app. Adam: Legends of the Blue Marvel #1 (November 2008)      

Here’s one of those stories that became an exceedingly popular concept in the late 90’s and early 2000’s: telling a retro story about character or history that was there all along but you never knew it. Marvel did it with the Sentry character and twice with the X-Men and DC even during Identity Crisis. The publisher says, “oh this happened years and years ago, but we are telling you about this event or character now like it was always cannon”. This is how Adam Bernard Brashear, The Blue Marvel, was introduced. Blue Marvel was a hero of the 50’s and 60’s who was asked to quit and fake his death because the public found out he was a Black man.

In those times America’s beloved hero could not be Black so once the secret was found out the President asked him to resign. Probably would have been more appropriate to make the president at the time Johnson but for some reason they choose Kennedy. Anyway, circumstances bring the hero back to the forefront and he is fighting crime again barely aged due to his powers without his mask this time. So much potential going to waste on this character. This guy is a virtual Superman just as powerful or even more powerful than Sentry, Thor, and Hulk and you waste him. His debut solo mini-series comes in 2008. Then you don’t see him again until the Age of Heroes #3 in 2010. Next time you see him is 2011 in Fear Itself storyline. Skip to 2013 where he shows up in the Infinity storyline and is declared a part of Luke Cage’s team of Mighty Avengers in which he plays a small part.

On to 2015, where he is in the Secret Wars storyline and gives the members of the Illuminati a verbal spanking because all of a sudden he is a respected older powerful hero. From there that same year he is an integral part of the Ultimates, but the book never really took off and he was never brought up to the level he should have been. Blue Marvel is a scientific genius with Superman powers plus some. He’s friends with a Watcher. He should be running things somewhere. Either a team of Avengers or a division of S.H.I.E.L.D. or something. When it hits the fan, this is who should be called. Marvel needs to give him the same treatment they did that upgraded Captain Marvel into what she is now.

Tigra – first app. The Claws of the Cat #1 (November 1972)      

It’s characters like Tigra, Greer Grant Nelson, that I even decided to write this article. Here is a character that is totally underused and underrated. Putting aside that she has cat-like powers because most heroes have some kind of enhanced animal powers, her powers are mystical in origin. This is a part of the character that is not often explored. The focus with Tigra is her feline tendencies and the character has not truly been given a chance to mature past that.

If Marvel marketed this right, you have the makings of an enormously powerful go-to character. I would definitely upgrade her costume past a bikini though. Tigra has been that side character in almost every major Marvel team that has made impacts on every book she has been in. She has proven herself in major battles and has turned the tide and saved other heroes. However, for some reason, she is not pushed to the front of the line, and just when you think she will be, the character disappears again. Expand this character, Marvel, and give Tigra the recognition she deserves.

Yes, I could go on and on about a variety of characters that I could add to this list, but these are the first 10 that cross my mind. A lot of these characters are known but I feel they need that extra push to become household names.

Let us know which heroes you would add to this list.

Kenny Walker Jr

Retro Read While In Quarantine

What do you do when you can’t get to the comic book store? Well, you can always get your fix digital. But what if you can’t download new digital? Well, you dig into the retro stuff.

Why? Because in my personal opinion some of the best stories to binge are the ones from the past. So, what we are going to do is give you some suggestions of some ideal story lines that would make good reading during quarantine or any other time for that matter.

The Death of Jean DeWolf – Peter Parker, The Spectacular SpiderMan #107-#110

This 4-part story did not get a bunch of fanfare at the time. It’s a story of a murder investigation. Captain Jean DeWolf was NYPD and a friend of Spider-Man. Since her first appearance in Marvel Team-up in 1976 she was a confidant of the friendly neighborhood hero. Then suddenly she turns up dead. After that, the story proceeds to take Spider-Man on a road to discovery learning more about his friend and why she was murdered. One of my all-time great Spider-Man stories

The Child is Father To ….? – Avengers #200 & By My Friends? Betrayed! – Avengers Annual #10

This is a story way ahead of it’s time to be a story in the ’80s. The story actually takes root in Avenger 198 and 199. As the Avengers fight Red Ronin Ms. Marvel reveals that she is pregnant and doesn’t know how she got in that condition. This cumulates in Avengers 200 when she goes into labor and has the baby. This baby grows at an unusual rate and tells the Avengers that his name is Marcus.

Strange events start to happen around New York dealing with time being out of whack as Marcus builds a machine to help the crisis. Hawkeye destroys the machine and Marcus reveals that he is really the son of the villain Immortus. Since he was born in limbo he could not come to Earth without causing time problems so he plucked Ms. Marvel out of time, wooed her, and implanted himself in her so when she went back to Earth at the exact same moment she left she would be pregnant with Marcus.

Very strange but that’s the short version. The problem with this story is that he admits that the only way he wooed her was through the help of machines to “push” her to love him. With the time machine destroyed, Marcus can not stay on Earth and must go back to limbo to be alone again. Weirder is that Ms. Marvel, after having her body used against her will and forced to love a stranger, agrees to go to limbo and be with Marcus. The Avengers just as easily let her go. The end or so we thought.

Almost a year later in 1981 comes Avengers Annual #10. Two things about this story that sticks out: one this is the second part of Avengers 200 and two this is comics books introduction to Rouge. No, Rouge did not first appear in X-Men books or Dazzler in which she was put down as a major villain, but she first appeared in Avengers Annual #10. So, Rogue throws this mysterious woman off a bridge who Spider Woman happens to be in the vicinity to catch.

Taking the woman to the hospital we find out that it’s Carol Danvers aka Ms. Marvel who we last saw in Avengers #200 leaving for limbo. With Rogue’s mutant power to steal the powers of others by touch she now has the powers of Ms. Marvel. However, she held on too long and the transfer was a little more permanent. This issue goes on to be The Avengers against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in what is one of the best single-issue fights in comics.

The reason the Brotherhood decides to take on the Avengers is not even of consequence, but rest assured the battle is worth the read. Then you get the gut-wrenching explanation of why Carol Danvers aka Ms. Marvel is back from limbo without letting her fellow Avengers know. This issue also marks the period that a powerless Carol Danvers hangs with the X-Men for a few adventures, one of which we will get to later.

The Great Darkness Saga Legion of Super Heroes #190 -#194

To me this is the mother of all Legion stories. Why? Because this is the story that got my hooked on the Legion all those years ago. This story involved every Legionnaire up to that time in an all-out battle against Darksied. When Darksied is involved you know it’s not good. He’s in the 30th century to wreak havoc and is challenged by the completed Legion, the Legion of Substitute Heroes, the Wanderers, the Heroes of Lallor and Dev-em. The finale has Highfather showing up to bring Superboy and Supergirl in to add that extra muscle.

All Star Squadron #21 – #26

There’s no name to this storyline. It’s 6 issues of the All-Star Squadron going up against the Ultra-Humanite and his henchmen. I considered myself a bit of a history buff in my youth and the reason I loved this book is that along with the fiction of the DC Universe there was some facts surrounding World War II. So much happened within this 6-issue story that helped define the Squadron, the Justice Society and Infinity Inc. that even resonates in the many reboots today.

This is the story of how Amazing Man came to be. Of course, this was a time in comics when almost every new Black hero was first a misinterpreted villain so his story was not that original for a Black character of the 1940’s. just be thankful he was written in modern times where people were more politically correct. This story introduced Infinity Inc. which turned out the be the future children of the Justice Society of America.

This story retold the story of how the Atom’s powers were upgraded and how he was no longer just a short guy fighting crime and always the first one being taken out in a fight. This story would introduce the author turned hero Tarantula to the team. I feel this was a very underrated book at its time, but this story made that book stand out.

The Brood Saga – Uncanny X-Men #156 -#167

The Brood Saga was superheroes meet aliens in space. For a storyline so awesome it’s really that simple. The X-Men go to space to help their alien friend Lilandra or the Shi’ar Empire stop her evil sister Deathbird from taking over the throne. Deathbird enlists the aid of the Brood, a very nasty alien race, to help her in her endeavors. Of course, the X-Men and the Shi’ar Empire win the fight but not before the Brood notice the different physiology of the X-men and want to experiment on them. The Brood Saga show the X-Men on a platform where they shine the best: the underdog fighting incredible odds.

Noticeable is that in this storyline Carol Danvers becomes Binary while in space and begins her journey to make her Ms. Marvel and later Captain Marvel once again. Also, Xavier, who thinks his X-Men are lost to him forever and possibly dead, goes to recruit another group of teens to train introducing us to the New Mutants. The New Mutants didn’t first appear in Uncanny X-Men but concurrently in their own graphic novel at that time. If that wasn’t enough, the Brood Saga is where we first meet Lockheed the Dragon.

Marvel TeamUp #82 – #85

In the 70s and 80s, there was Marvel Team-Up, the book that featured a monthly adventure with Spiderman and various other heroes of the Marvel Universe. Each month Spidey would team up with a new hero. I loved this book. Issues #82 – #85 was a story about Black Widow losing her memory and having them altered by Viper. #82 featured Black Widow. #83 featured Nick Fury. #84 featured Shang Chi. Issue #85 featured all three fighting beside Spiderman against Viper, Silver Samari, and Boomerang. The interesting part is throughout the 4 issues the other personality the Black Widow developed did not know she was a skilled spy but thought she was a school teacher and started a budding romance with Spiderman.

The Judas Contract – Tales of the Teen Titans #42 – #44 & Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3

This is hands down the best Teen Titans story ever. There was no way the animated movie that came out in 2017 could ever do the original story any justice. This is a story of revenge, betrayal, death, and rebirth unlike any story ever told. The creative genius of this story is that it was a recurring plotline that started when the Titans book was rebooted in 1980 and we didn’t get Judas Contract until 1984. Deathstroke has the team infiltrated by a new young hero named Terra who had the power to control Earth.

Giving them a fake origin story and gaining the Titans trust she shared all the secrets with Deathstroke. He then used that information to attack the Titans with Terra help one by one and taking them prisoner and turned them over to H.I.V.E. The only Titan he did not catch was Dick Grayson who had at the time given up his Robin persona. Dick Grayson teamed up with Deathstroke’s ex-wife and son, Jericho, who was mute but had the power to possess people’s bodies through eye contact.

Dick Grayson decides that his new superhero name will be Nightwing. Our two heroes go to rescue the Titans but now without a standoff between Deathstroke and Terra. Terra, being a young girl who was very bitter and very evil, went crazy during the battle and decided to try to kill everyone by bringing the lair apart with her power and ended up bringing everything down on herself which killed her. Now of course at a time like this where you have all the time in the world to read as much as you want you can go to the 12-issue mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths or Marvel’s first Secret War.

You can even read all 12 issues of The Watchmen. Those are the obvious stories for you to catch while you have so much time on your hands quarantined in the house. Plus, I’m pretty sure most or all these books that I recommend can easily be found online to read digitally. I must admit, I give you this list because what makes these storylines so awesome and the one thing that they all have in common is me. These are the stories that kept me reading comic books. These are the stories that stuck with me all my life from early childhood. I wanted to share them with you.

Check them out and leave us a comment on what your favorite go to retro books are or tell us what you think of the reading suggested.

Stay safe and read well.

Kenny Walker Jr

What To Watch While Quarantined

So right now, we are all in a situation. A situation that most of us have never seen before.

We are in the middle of a nearly world-wide pandemic and a majority of the population is under quarantine.

While under quarantine we tend to do a lot of things to keep us from going stir crazy. Most of us are locked in with our families that no matter how much we love them we still need a distraction. For some of us, it’s a chance to start that book we always wanted to write. Some of us have that project around the house that you have been holding off on like cleaning the attic, painting a certain room or organizing their home office.

However, the one thing that’s easily accessible, a fund favorite and very popular is finding a new show to stream. What better way to pass the time than sitting on the couch, pressing some buttons and finding nerd things on TV to help you leave the pandemic world for a little while. Well, here at ObsidianNomad we have the perfect suggestions for our fellow nerds. Mind you our list is not all there is to watch out there but just the ones we recommend.

The Netflix & Chill Plan

Let’s start with one of the most popular streaming choices: Netflix. The one thing I like that Netflix has to stream is Power Rangers. From Mighty Morphin to Beast they have just about all of it for your morphing fix. The CW Arrow verse is also represented on Netflix which would come in handy if you missed anything leading up to this season’s big crisis event. Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Black Lightning are all here, however, Batwoman probably won’t appear until after the first season is finished and hopefully, we will be pandemic free by then. For original shows, Netflix still runs all 3 seasons of the ever-popular Stranger Things so you can catch up before season 4 airs later this year.

Straight from comic books, there’s the Netflix originals Umbrella Academy, Locke & Key, and newcomer I Am Not Okay With This. Marvel is still represented with the original series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Defenders along with movies Avengers: Infinity War and Ant Man and the Wasp but catch them now because they might not be there much longer – we’ll get to that later. You can use a whole day to binge the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The real prize here is if you are old school like me Netflix is now showing the original live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from 1990 which is hands down the best version of the book ever.

Home With Hulu

Over on Hulu, there are a few nerd things for you to check out. All 4 seasons of AMC’s Preacher can now be seen which is a good watch. Also, catch while you can Marvels two sadly canceled show’s Cloak and Dagger which originally aired on Freeform and the Hulu original Marvel’s Runaways which I suspect are canceled for a reason we will get to later in this article. Anime fans can catch the wildly popular My Hero Academia which comes in two versions: dubbed or subtitled. If you’re really into Anime, then you will be happy to know that there is an Anime Favorites section that has everything from One-Punch-Man to Cowboy Bebop to Death Note to Yu-Gi-Oh.

DC Universe Streaming Survival Kit

On the DC Universe streaming channel there is something for every nerd’s needs but like I mentioned our list is stuff we recommend. DC Universe started some original shows from some of your favorite comic books like Doom Patrol, Titans, and Swamp Thing but my favorite hands down are the Harley Quinn cartoon series. There are some DC themed live-action and animated movies to watch with the gems here being the 1978 classic Superman The Movie and the 1993 animated Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

If you like to re-watch some of the animated tv shows, then not only do they have the Superfriends from the 70’s and 80’s the Justice League series as well as Justice League Unlimited. How could they not have Batman the Animated Series and Superman the Animated Series? If you’re feeling nostalgia for old live-action series in the DC family then this streaming channel has the Saturday morning Shazam show from the 70’s, the prime time Wonder Woman from the 70’s with leading lady Linda Carter and all six seasons of the Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves.

Downtime with Disney+

Now let’s move to the big one: Disney +. Disney+ has two distinct universes that are any nerds wet dream. The Marvel Universe and the Star Wars Universe. Now the Star Wars Universe is represented in full force on Disney+ with every movie from the franchise except for Solo which is currently on Netflix and the last Star Wars installment The Rise of Skywalker which was very recently in theatres.

Also, what is not present and surely missed by true Star Wars fans is the Star Wars Holiday Special that aired on CBS in 1978. Never fear, because Disney+ made amends by giving us The Mandalorian the original series that some fans claim gives us the best of the Star Wars universe. Not to start an argument but my vote for the best Star Wars movie worth watching again is Rogue One.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is also represented well on Disney+. You can just about watch all the MCU movies in order ending with Avengers Endgame however you would be missing Infinity War and Ant Man & The Wasp which for now is on Netflix but I suspect that they will follow the way of Black Panther and as soon as that contract is up then they will come home to Disney+.

The Spiderman movies starring Tom Holland are also absent, but he is present in the crossover movies here. But if you really want to Marvel nerd binge on Disney+ then you have to go to the cartoons. You can watch the entire 90’s X-Men cartoon from the 90’s. You can binge Spiderman and his Amazing Friends. You can binge the 90’s Spiderman cartoon.

Of course, we didn’t hit every streaming channel and every show on the ones we did cover. Amazon Prime has The Boys based on a comic book and CBS All Access has Star Trek: Picard that come highly recommended. But while you are in self-quarantine streaming channels, we at ObsidianNomad want you to stay safe and stay healthy. Don’t spend all the time streaming, cleaning or doing projects. Hug your loved ones.

KennyWalker Jr

Black History in Comics – All-Negro Comics

Remember the name Steamboat. I want you to remember that name because it is the name of a character that is hard to find information on. This is a character so foul that the comic powers that be are trying to erase the memory of this character. Steamboat was an Afro-American character created in the Fawcett Captain Marvel books that were so offensive that his very existence was protested during a time of Jim Crowe and segregation by integrated groups.

The character appeared as Billy Batson and Captain Marvel’s valet from 1942 to 1945 and was created by C.C. Beck in an attempt to appeal to Black readers. This was a miserable fail and the protest forced the comic to discontinue the character never to be seen again. The point to this story is for a long time in comics minority characters had a hard time being represented in comics because minorities were not writing them.

In the 60’s and 70’s you still had the same problem. Even Black and Latino superheroes were first introduced on the cover of comics they first appeared in as villains. Once you bought the book you would read that they were actually this misunderstood hero. However, the perception is that they are the villain. Since you didn’t have the proper representation on the creative end most minority characters were seen as stereotypes.

In 1947, two years after Steamboat was banished into comic book oblivion, there was Afro-American representation in the comic book world. In 1947 All-Negro Comics hit the stands. A book that was written and drawn solely by African Americans. All-Negro Comics was the brainchild of Orrin Cromwell Evans.

Evans was a journalist who was a strong supporter of racial equality and thought that he could reach a broader audience with a comic book. All-Negro Comics was unlike any other book in the 1940’s, because, it projected Afro- Americans in a more positive believable role. Most comic books of that time were written by Whites and showed Afro- Americans in a negative and stereotypical light.

All-Negro Comics was a variety of different titles which included:

*Ace Harlem, a private detective feature drawn by John Terrell

*The Little Dew Dillies, a children’s feature starring cherub-like creatures only babies can see and talk to.

*Ezekiel’s Manhunt, a two -page boy’s adventure text story.

*Lion Man and Bubba, starring a college-educated African American sent by the United Nations on a mission to a uranium deposit on Africa’s Gold Coast.

*Hep Chicks on Parade, spot-illustration gags with highly stylized women wearing exaggerated fashions, signed “Len”.

*Lil’ Eggie, about a henpecked husband Egbert and his wife.

*Sugarfoot, a humor feature, drawn by Cravat, starring traveling musicians Sugarfoot and Snake Oil, who try to woo a farmer’s daughter.

*Remember – Crime Doesn’t Pay, Kids!”, a one-page public service announcement and next issue promo. 

Unfortunately, there would not be another issue. There were plans to put another issue out in 1948 but Evans had problems getting the newsprint needed. The speculation is that White competition purposely made it hard for Evans to get his second issue out. So, the first comic written and drawn by Afro-Americans only had one issue.

One issue with no characters resembling Steamboat.

However, the importance of this is that now it was seen that this could be done. You could make minority characters star as the hero of a comic book and not let them be stereotypes of that culture. No, Steamboat was not the last character of his type. Yes, there was a continued effort to make stereotypical characters throughout the 40’s and 50’s but in the 60’s you started to get characters that weren’t stereotypes.

Then you got Black Panther and Luke Cage from Marvel. You got Tyroc, John Stewart Green Lantern and Black Lightning from DC. Then you got the legendary Milestone line written about minority characters from minorities themselves with characters like Static.

But first, you had All-Negro Comics to pave the way.

Kenny Walker Jr

Birds of Prey is DC’s Answer to Marvel’s Deadpool

For the third time in a row in the past year, I walked into a DC/Warner Bros. movie with the wrong attitude. I walked in thinking this movie was going to suck. Maybe that’s how I should walk into all of them in the future because this movie far from sucked.

Two things about this review: 1 there are spoilers and 2 there is a hyena.

As a fan of superhero movies, Birds of Prey was DC’s version of a female Deadpool. Yes, it appears that the top execs at Warner Bros. finally realized that their superhero movie making playbook doesn’t work and that they should check out what the competition is doing and maybe cop their style. Harley narrating the story, the fun fight scenes, dark one-liners and the cartoony captions throughout the movie gave the movie that same quirky feel as the Marvel hit.

The full title of the movie is Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. That’s a mouthful. In a nutshell, though, it tells you the premise of the movie. Harley breaks it off with the Jokers or he kicks her out however you want to interpret the situation. Now with the Joker being the craziest mofo in the DC Universe everyone is afraid of him. Because of this, Harley, Joker’s girlfriend, also has the run of Gotham. Disrespecting Harley is like disrespecting Joker and nobody wants that smoke.

The thing is when Gotham finds out that Harley is no longer Joker’s main squeeze things get real for Harley. Now everyone that has a problem with Harley can take it up with her and not have to go through Joker. Suddenly, it became open season on Harley. Now while everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves by killing Harley, Harley is trying to make a name for herself letting the world know that she does not have to have the Joker to be a villain not to mess with. She blows up factories, killed random people and even brought a Hyena to prove her independence.

Margot Robbie once again pulls off the perfect Harley Quinn. The crazy Joker’s girlfriend who did not first appear in comics but was first seen in 90’s TV’s Batman Animated Series then introduced into comic book continuity to rise into the DC sensation she is today. Margot Robbie’s live-action Harley Quinn first appears in 2016’s Suicide Squad and has been a standout character sense. But the results were perfect because there no one else that could have brought this character to life. With Birds of Prey, we get a full backstory on what makes Harley Quinn tick.

And just like when she was first introduced in the Batman Animated Series, she had a pet hyena. You really can’t beat that. This did not only serve as a coming to age movie for Harley Quinn, but Birds of Prey also introduced to the screen some very important characters to this DC Universe. The Huntress was the classic story of an anti-hero whose family was executed by the mob and she needs to get her revenge. Detective Renee Montoya was a woman cop working in a man’s police station not getting the respect she deserved. She had to prove herself.

Black Canary was a legacy hero. Her mom was a hero before she died and Black Canary was a good person trying to survive without following in her mom’s footsteps. To round up the gang was Cassandra Cain, the little pickpocket that everyone in Gotham was after. The thing I liked about these characters is that except for Cassandra Cain all the characters stayed close to DC book continuity. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and Jurnee Smollett Bell were excellent in their portrayal of the characters from the book.

Every comic book movie follows the same formula that a good villain makes a good movie. Ewan McGregor as Black Mask filled that tall order. The right amount of gangster and crazy made Black Mask an unpredictable villain which is what is needed for an unpredictable lead such as Harley Quinn. As a villain, Black Mask didn’t come alone. Chris Messina played the slice and dice villain Victor Zsasz and the main right-hand man to Black Mask. At some point in this movie, they seem to allude to the two stars having more than just a working relationship.

Had this been explored it may have added a new dynamic to the movie. In Birds of Prey, DC/Warner Bros. kept the characters close to the source material. Mostly all the characters had close ties to their comic book selves. In previous movies, this did not seem to be the concern. That narrative seems to have changed for the better. Making Black Canary a legacy hero and Huntress a long thought dead mobsters’ daughter out for revenge where great nods to the source material.

Since this was not the original Birds of Prey like in the comics that started with Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Black Canary I must admit I walk in nervous about this getting messed up. I wanted Oracle because in my mind you can’t have a Birds of Prey team without her. I was proven wrong. A big relief was not putting the Jared Leto Joker in this movie. They told a story with the Joker in it without using the actual character. Let’s face it, Jared Leto’s Joker was probably the worst part of Suicide Squad but to be honest if this article was not about that movie, we could definitely find other worst things.

Did I mention there was a hyena just like in the DC Injustice video game? How cool is that? What I didn’t like was the handling of the Cassandra Cain character. In the comics she was an assassin who’s fighting prowess was only second to Lady Shiva and Batman. Cassandra Cain was also mute and had to learn how to communicate through speech because her main form of communication was to read the body language of others. This was slightly disappointing not to be able to watch her fight and be reduced to the whiny kid in need of being rescued.

Another big miss was not using the Poison Ivy character. In comics and in the DC Universe cartoon series the two are the best of friends. This is a miss that should be corrected in the next Harley Quinn movie that comes out. Come on, you know there’s got to be another. When I first heard of this movie coming, I was not looking forward to it. I honestly thought it was going to be trash. I never thought I would be writing this review in this way but so far in 2020 Birds of Prey is the movie to see. Don’t read the bad reviews, do what I did and make up your own mind about this movie. But please go see it.

While you’re at it you can see how they put a pet hyena in the movie and made it work. Never seen anything like that.

Kenny Walker Jr

The 10 Most Influential Black Comic Book Superheroes

To kick off Black history month, we thought we would give a listing of who we think are the 10 most influential comic book superheroes.

We went through a lot of heroes and could not put everyone on the list as we wanted because we wanted to keep it down to 10. Every hero is equally important and believe me if I could have put 20 or 30 on this list I would have but if I mention every Black hero I know that would not make these 10 stand out. So here it is.

Black Panther – Marvel

Besides having a hit Oscar-nominated movie, Black Panther makes this list for being the first mainstream hero of African descent. Debuting in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966, Black Panther even pre-dates the political Black Panther Party. Black Panther was the first hero to identify with Black people in America. This is the same renewed effect when the character was made into a movie in 2018. Black Panther has stayed relevant enough to inspire more than one generation.

Storm – Marvel

The African goddess made her first appearance in Giant-Size X-Men in 1975. She was the first major Black female character in the mainstream comics. She was also the first Black X -Man. Storm has been on many X-Men teams and often leading them. Once when she temporarily lost her powers, she had to duel Cyclops for leadership and at the time her powers had been taken away from her. Storm proved she could lead the team by taking on the fully powered Cyclops and defeating him with no powers of her own.

Blade – Marvel

Blade debut in The Tomb of Dracula in 1873. Blade is a mix of vampire and regular humans who hunts vampires. Blade was the first Black character that put Black people in the horror situation. Blade was brought to life by Wesley Snipes in the Blade movies starting in 1998.

Black Lighting – DC

Black Lightning first appeared in his own self titled book in 1977. What makes him important is he was introduced as not being a criminal but a teacher. In the Bronze Age of comics, a lot of characters of color were introduced as characters who could possibly be a villain with various criminal pasts. Black Lightning was introduced as an educator.

However, his early depictions had him wearing an afro wig and speaking “Harlem jive” to conceal the fact that he was educated so people would not link him to his secret identity as Jefferson Pierce. The character was supposed to be used in the 1970’s Super Friends cartoon but due to disagreement with the creator, Tony Isabella, Hannah Barbara made a character based on Black Lightning named Black Vulcan. Black Lightning has also managed to capture a new generation with the CW show that deals with issues facing Black people in America today.

Falcon – Marvel

Introduced in Captain America #117 in 1969, the Falcon is the first Afro American superhero in mainstream comics. He would become Captain Americas partner and at a time shared the titles of the book with him. Falcon would grow out of Captain America’s shadow into his own books, guest appearances in other books, a member of the Avengers and even taking on the mantle of Captain America when he had to retire. Today Falcon, being played by Aaron Mackie, is a main character in the Avengers movies.

Luke Cage Marvel

Luke Cage has always been a hero for the people. Debuting in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire in 1972, Luke Cage was the first Afro American superhero to be featured as the protagonist and title character of a comic book. He was created at the height of Blaxploitation movies and was jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. Luke Cage has gone on to work with the Defenders, filling in for the Thing on the Fantastic Four and lead the Avengers. Brought to live action on Netflix, Luke Cage displayed true Black culture and history in Harlem, NY.

Cyborg – DC

Debuting in DC Comics Presents in 1980, Cyborg makes this list because he is a technologic hero that can be well identified and related to by Black youth in America. This is a hero that has the computer world at his feet because he can get into any system. Cyborg was brought to life by Ray Fisher in the Justice League movie.

Static – Milestone/DC

Static is the young hero from the Milestone universe that the fans are just waiting to see turn into live action. Created in the Milestone universe in 1993, static was the main character of his own cartoon. Because of his age, Static is a character that is relatable to youths of color in America.

Miles Morales – Marvel

When Peter Parker Spiderman died in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, Miles Morales took over the mantle as Spider Man. Miles Morales debuted in Ultimate Spiderman #64 in 2011 and has remained a popular version of Spiderman. Miles was later integrated into the mainstream 616 Marvel universe giving fans a teenage Spiderman once again. The character’s popularity is so much so that he was used to star in Marvels latest animated movie Into the Spiderverse

Spawn Image

Spawn was created by Todd McFarlane and debuted in 1992. The cursed hero is a powerful lead into the world of the supernatural. His popularity has garnered the character a movie in the late 90s and talks of a second Spawn movie are rumored.

Let us know what you think of our list and what characters would you add or take off to make your own list.

Kenny Walker Jr

The Justice Society of America: The History, The Now & The Legacy

I’ve always been a fan of the Justice Society of America. As a comic book nerd, one of my fantasies is traveling back in time to the ’40s and getting one of those original books that stared the team. The original characters of what is now the DC Universe: Hawkman, Green Lantern, The Atom, Sandman and the rest of the heroes fighting justice in their book way before there was even thought of a Justice League or Avengers. The Justice Society of America was the first superhero team in comics.

Not the Justice League. Not the Avengers. Not the Defenders. Not the Invaders.

The Justice Society of America first appeared in All-Star Comics #3 in 1941 created by Sheldon Mayer and Gardner Fox. When superhero comics saw a decline in readership at the end of the ’40s the JSA made its last appearance in 1951. After that, it was another 10 years in 1961 when you heard of the JSA again as Flash Jay Garrick appeared in and the issue of the Silver Age Flash Barry Allen comic titled “The Flash of Two Worlds”. In this book, it was explained that the JSA resided on Earth 2 and the JLA resided on Earth 1. Soon after the senior JSA made annual appearances in the JLA comic once a year in a “crisis” event.

When I started reading comics in the ’70s, I always loved the annual crossovers between the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. In the ’80s, I loved reading All-Star Squadron which told the WWII stories of some of the JSA members with the Squadron. As a kid, I learned some history from the books because the writers injected some actual WWII history in the stories. The JSA has been absent from the DC Universe as of late but that was all changed thanks to the events in the miniseries Doomsday Clock.

Once again, the JSA is back. This is not the first time the aged super team has been gone only to return. Surprisingly, the thing that makes the JSA legendary is the same thing that keeps them out of comics. See, the JSA was originated in the ’40s and is closely related to stories during World War II which makes for a good story but puts a time stamp on the team. World War II was almost 80 years ago and if these heroes fought crime and the war back then that would make them over 100 years old. No one wants to see a centennial in tights trying to fight crime.

To get around this problem, DC comics has tried many tactics. The speed force has been the reason to keep Jay Garrick Flash relatively young and active. The energies of the power ring have been the excuse for Alan Scott Green Lantern. At one point it was even retconned that during a mission in the ’40s the heroes were swept with a magical wave that kept them a little younger and more vigorous than most people. But as time moves on it will be harder to keep these heroes of WWII in the comics.

Another tactic used to fix this problem has been to bring in legacy heroes. Sons, daughters and other proteges have been introduced to carry the torch for the originals. This was done in the form of creating Infinity Inc who’s first appearance was in All-Star Squadron in 1983 before eventually getting their own title in 1984. When the legacy heroes are done right it’s a great thing. Believe me, there have been some misses. Hector Hall, the son of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, used Nth metal to become the Silver Scarab. It was a lame hero with lame powers and really not a good character.

Star Girl is probably the most popular among comic nerds because she was well written with a great backstory and cool powers. DC Universe streaming is coming out with a TV show about her that should start in 2020. When DC Comics started the New 52 storylines, the JSA as we knew it was nowhere around. Instead, there was a place called Earth 2 where a new younger version of the JSA would appear. On Earth 2, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were killed defeating Darkseid and new heroes arrived to help defend Earth. I personally did not like this group at all.

The concept made me long for the JSA that I was used to reading about. Some of the modern takes on the classics just weren’t connecting. That idea didn’t stick and thankfully was abandoned. Now it seems that the classic heroes are back with the legacy heroes along with them. And I’m in full geek mode because after Doomsday Clock their first DC story is with the Justice League. Here’s to hoping this brings back the yearly JSA/JLA team-ups because I would love to look forward to that every year. If you know nothing about the Justice Society of America, then do yourself a favor: GO READ SOME.

Go to your local comic guy – everybody has a comic guy – and get your hands on some JLA/JSA team-ups. Read some All-Star Squadron, Infinity Inc. and all the different versions of the JSA through the years. Don’t bother with the Earth 2 books though, in my opinion, you will be a victim of disappointment. If you are older, like me, you can imagine yourself as that older hero. If you are younger, then you can see yourself as that legacy hero. If you read the stories about WWII, then you can be like I was when I was a kid and imagine yourself back in another time.

Long live the Justice Society of America,

Kenny Walker Jr