Complexities Of The Non Complex Black Superhero

3122 words - 12 pages

Jean-Pierre PAGE 11
Cleo Jean-Pierre13 November 2007Kevin DerryberryENC1145.06Complexities of the Non-Complex Black SuperheroThe introduction of Superman in the world of comics and into the United States ushered in the Golden Age of comics. During this time, many of the currently popular superheroes came to be. This may have been the Golden Age of comics for the white patriarchal society that America was, and still is, but a very sad time for race relations in America. It is no secret that America has always and still deals with racial issues. It is also no secret that white America's attitude towards ethnic and racial groups is usually mirrored in the prevalent medium, comic books included. So following race relations through movies, televisions, books, and comics would be advisable if one was curious as to how it has played out in the past. The past the portrayal of minorities , African Americans in particular, in the media have not always been true to life. These portrayals were powered by stereotypes. Times have changed. To create a minority character based on a stereotype is not quite politically correct today, so attempts at creating more rounded black characters have ensued, attempts that have not been completely successful. This is the case, particularly in comic books. Since the first superhero Superman comic book was released in 1938, black characters in comic books were caricatures. There were no black superheroes; black characters were limited to minor or subservient roles.Things have come a long way since then. With the introduction of the Black Panther as the first non-caricatured black superhero in 1966, came a time for change. Since then there have been a myriad of black superheroes and black villains. However, many popular black superheroes remain unbelievable characters. Black Superheroes are a poorly represented minority in the superhero genre and are embodied by inadequate development of characters, which primarily stem from their lack of racial identity and their connection to racial stereotypes. Many black superheroes either ignore race or play to racial stereotypes which seriously stunts development of complex and relatable characters.In order to understand the complexity of the non-complex black superhero, one must begin to understand what the white superhero represents. Superman, as aforementioned, was introduced to the United States in 1938. Superman, or the white superhero, represented a fantasy. "In short, whereas Superman is associated with all of the social attributes prized in men, Clark Kent represents those traditionally associated with femininity and thus feared as unmasculine (Brown 31)." Superman represented everything that the average Joe wanted to be, and Clark Kent was the average Joe. The Superman/Clark Kent persona made the average Joe believe that there could possibly be a warrior on the inside. However, one noticed that the alien Superman has white skin. "In this regard, their whiteness, especially...

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