Why There Will be a Black Superman
By Brandon Simmons
Up in the sky: it’s a bird, it’s a plane…no it’s change. It’s not some pale-skinned, Elvis hairdo wearing 1950’s drawn up image of what society should look up to. That is far from the case. It is an ebony-skinned, taper-fade wearing image of what is to come in America. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, a black Superman.
It has been coming for a long time and the recent events in the comic book land have me thinking it will be true. One constant I have learned about while taking any history courses (unfortunately repeating them in college) is that small events always lead to bigger events. The Revolutionary War had the Boston Tea Party which itself resulted from conflicting taxing issues.
What events could be leading up to having a Black Superman? Well there is Michael B. Jordan being cast as the Human Torch in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, a historically white character. It should be no big deal because in The Avengers film, Nick Fury, another historically white character, was played by a black actor: the legendary Samuel L. Jackson. But even bigger news, is the fact that Captain America will be replaced in the comic books with a black man. Granted it is the Falcon who will take over, someone that is familiar with the Captain America storyline, but it kind of reflects the changing face of who defends America.
So why can’t there be a changing face on who defends the world? Why is there not a black Superman whether in the movies or in the comic book? Not only was the Human Torch white, but he also had a sister, who will be played by a white actress in the upcoming reboot. Marvel is taking a risk on changing an age old story. But who gives a red cape flying crap because movies get remade all the damn time. Think about this, Marvel has already rebooted 3 movie franchises within the past 15 years: Fantastic Four, The Hulk and Spiderman, which is about to release its second installment of a reboot.
Superman is actually a comic book character of the DC Comics universe whose lineup boasts mainly of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern as their mainstream characters. Granted there is an African American Green Lantern represented fully in the comic books, the recent film version portrayed the original white version and might be unlikely to return as a sequel. But as far as portrayals go, haven’t certain historical figures that were supposed to be black been portrayed as white. Over the years, many African Americans have always argued over the depiction of Jesus as white when citing evidence that he had completely different physical features. And don’t ask how come it is like that or you will get the response: “It does not really matter as long as the message stays the same.”
To me, the message of Superman is to be an individual who is upright and a hero to all. Clark Kent lives his life as a regular law-abiding citizen who is clean cut and appears as harmless as the Jacksonville Jaguars defense. The only problem black people will have with a black Superman is the fear of what DC Comics will do with a black Superman. Is Clark Kent going to wear suits and glasses working as a news reporter; or is he going to be on the streets unemployed, but finally able to stand up for what’s right after going to jail a few times. The original Superman is actually an alien from another planet. Will they instead change that to him being from Africa?
Of course it’s far-fetched but you have to think of all the underlying racism our own president dealt with from his citizens and those he worked with. Therefore it is vital that they be mindful of stereotypes and present him the best way possible. The ideal black Superman character should be a multimedia journalist in Chicago, whose name is still Clark Kent, and he might not wear a suit every day, but more like a button up or something to reflect the fashionable standards of today’s workplace. He rocks a black and grey suit with a dark grey cape (cause it looks sleeker and powerful than the original), and fights everything that Superman fights. That means don’t have him exclusively fighting crack heads, pimps and gang members but he can fight aliens, corporate robots and other types of super villains.
Eventually there will be a black Superman just like eventually there became a black president. Right now it is too soon, but when Hollywood is on their next round of remakes, and they need a hero to save them from their repetitive ideas, they know who exactly who to call on.
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