Marvel has announced My Super Hero Is Black, a new ‘comics history’ book which, through interviews with various creators, aims to tell the story of “the journey of the industry on its path to the modern Black super hero.”

Source: Captain America Vol. 7 #25 “The Tomorrow Soldier: Conclusion” (2014), Marvel Comics. Words by Rick Remender, art by Carlos Pacheco, Stuart Immonen, Mariano Taibo, Wade Von Grawbadger, Dean White, Veronica Gandini, and Marte Gracia.

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Set to be penned by co-creator of the Eisner award-winning adaptation of Ocatvia Butler’s Kindred and self-described “all-around champion of Black culture” John Jennings and The Women of Marvel podcast co-host-slash-producer Angélique Roché, My Super Hero Is Black will recount the story of the publisher’s black characters “from the introduction of Black Panther in the 1960s and publisher Stan Lee’s early efforts at addressing systemic racism, to the groundbreaking work of creators like Billy Graham, Christopher Priest, Reggie Hudlin, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.”

Source: My Super Hero is Black (2022), Marvel Comics. Cover art by Natacha Bustos.

“My Super Hero is Black offers a rich examination, celebration, and historical overview of Marvel’s Black characters and creators,” said Marvel in their official announcement of the title. “It also includes accounts from prominent Black creators and luminaries about their personal relationships with Marvel Super Heroes.”

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in promotion of the book, Jennings explained that he and Roché had approached its creation by endeavoring “to create a love letter to the characters we hold dear, a celebration of Black characters and creators in the vast Marvel Universe, and a document for future generations to come.”

Source: Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #52 “The Black Panther!” (1966), Marvel Comics. Words by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, art by Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and Stan Goldberg.

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“One of Marvel Comics’ core mantras is that they want their comics to show ‘the world outside your window’ and that is exactly what they have done over the last eight decades,” said the author. “My Super Hero is Black is not just a reference book but it shows the potential of these amazing Black characters through new windows and new vantage points. We hope that audiences are as thrilled to experience the spectrum of representations of Blackness in My Super Hero Is Black via the lens of the universe that is Marvel Comics as we are.”

Source: Hero for Hire Vol. 1 #1 “Out of Hell — A Hero!” (1972), Marvel Comics. Cover art by John Romita Sr.

Offering her own insights into the book’s development, Roché asserted, “I knew that this story was one that needed to be told.”

“The narrative of the Black superhero, its impact on individuals, and how it has evolved in our country — and around the world — tells not only an amazing, entertaining narrative of fictional stories but reflects the real-life complexities of Black representation in media,” she added. “As lifelong genre fans, John and I have taken great care to craft not just a historical reference but a narrative that highlights a journey of Black superheroes past, present, and future.” 

Source: The Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1 #10 “His Name Is…Blade!” (1973), Marvel Comics. Words by Marv Wolfman, art by Gene Colan, Jack Abel, and Petra Goldberg.

Upon its release on October 11th, My Super Hero Is Black will serve as the second entry in the recently announced non-fiction collaboration between Marvel and literature publishing house Gallery Books.

The first, the previously announced and similarly intentioned Super Visible: The Story of the Women of Marvel, helmed by The Life of Captain Marvel writer Margaret Stohl and The Women of Marvel podcast producer and co-creator Judy Stephens, is set to release on March 29th.

Source: Super Visible: The Story of the Women of Marvel (2022), Marvel Comics

One wonders how the book will address the act of race-swapping, as many fans of all skin colors have grown to view such acts not as any sort of victory for representation, but rather hand-me-down condescension.

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