I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Monday, August 13, 2012

The State of Black Comic Book Characters: Green Lantern Corps, Mister Terrific, Voodoo

About a month ago, I spoiled the fun of my good friend Rodney. He was unfortunate enough to be celebrating something that I had an issue with. As a good friend, I made sure to put a stop to it.

Rodney was excited at the return to the DC universe of black comic book character Black Lightning. I want to emphasize that he's black, because I wasn't sure that you would pick up on this fact by hearing only the character's name. As of October, Marc Andreyko will be writing a mini-series for DC Universe Presents revolving around the unlikely team-up of Black Lightning and Blue Devil.

"If Black Lightning is so important to DC," I spewed at my unsuspecting buddy, "then why does he need to share a title with someone else instead of getting his own story? And on that token, why is he only given a short run in DC Universe Presents as opposed to his own title?"

Rodney fired back that sharing the title doesn't necessarily mean that Black Lightning can't hold his own. Rather, he suggested, and I agreed, the combination of "Black and Blue" could lead to a really entertaining and endearing sort of supernatural buddy cop drama, starting with how apart these characters are and ending with what can be accomplished if they can put aside their differences. As a fan of Rush Hour and the quintessential Schwarzenegger comedy Red Heat, I thought I would give DC a chance to do Black Lightning right.

The second thing to come out of this discussion was a commitment between Rodney and I to write a series of blogs that serve as a State of the Union for black characters in comic books made by the two major publishers (and also Spawn, at Rodney's request, which I will not be able to comment on for lack of experience with the character).

Today, I want to talk about three DC comics that feature black main characters: Green Lantern Corps, Mister Terrific, and Voodoo. I think I should warn you that there is likely to be minor spoilers in these descriptions.