Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

10 Badass Black Superheroes Everyone Should Know

Jul 07, 2022 11:30AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
Black superheroes collage

Unlike television and film, Black superheroes started appearing as major comic characters in the 1960s. In 1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced Black Panther in an issue of Fantastic Four and DC soon followed with Jon Stewart. They went on to become iconic characters. Since 1966, the list of Black comic book icons only continued to grow. And while one could probably spend years getting to know them all, you can begin with this list of Black superheroes doing it for the culture.

Black Panther

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Black Panther made his monumental introduction in Fantastic Four #52 way back in 1966. Becoming the first African superhero in the history of mainstream American comics, the Black Panther paved the way for a plethora of Black characters to come. King of the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda, T’Challa possesses enhanced senses, superhuman strength, agility, reflexes, and stamina as a result of eating a heart-shaped herb in service to the mysterious Wakandan Panther God. Black Panther made his feature film debut in Captain America: Civil War (2016), played by actor Chadwick Boseman, and later his first solo movie in 2018, which earned over $1.3 billion dollars at the box office worldwide and became the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Wakanda Forever!



In ancient Ghana, the warrior Tantu asked Anansi the Spider to create a totem that would give the wearer all of the powers of the animal kingdom, only if they would use the power to protect the innocent. Tantu used the totem to become Africa's first legendary hero. The totem was later passed down to Tantu's descendants until it reached the McCabes. An orphan from Africa, Mari McCabe made herself a success as a fashion model and returned to Africa to find that her uncle had entrusted her with a mystical artifact called the Tantu Totem, which gave her the ability to harness the power of animals.  She then used it to fight evil as Vixen. Throughout her career as Vixen, she's fought along some of the greatest heroes in the DC Universe and has even served as a member of the Justice League.


Luke Cage

The only Black superhero that predates Luke Cage in Marvel canon is the Black Panther himself. Cage, a Harlem native, debuted in 1972. Wrongly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, Carl Lucas volunteered for a medical experiment that went awry, endowing him with super strength and unbreakable skin. Escaping prison and creating the new identity of Luke Cage, he eventually started a business with his best friend and martial arts hero Iron Fist. They called it Heroes for Hire, and the rest is history. Recently Luke has risen to new heights in the Marvel Universe, leading his own Avengers team as well as the reformed villain squad The Thunderbolts. After marrying former superhero Jessica Jones and starting a family, Luke tried to retire from the Avengers.


Read ' Wakandan is a REAL Language: South Africa's isiXhosa':

Wakandan is a REAL Language South Africas isiXhosa

Wakandan is a REAL Language: South Africa’s isiXhosa

On this #InternationalMotherLanguageDay, we focus on the language that used in the highly popular 2018 Black Panther that is an official language of South Africa. Read More » 


Black Lightning

Black Lightning debuted in 1977 as DC's first Black superhero with his own origin and storyline. He hails from the fictional Suicide Slums, an allegory for modern inner cities and ghettos. With his ability to create electricity, he vows to better his neighborhood and fight for justice. He's also an Olympic gold medal winner. While some vigilantes just want to stop crime or punish criminals, Black Lightning tries to help communities become stronger. As a superhero, he wants to be an example that people can fight back against predators and opportunists. As an educator, he tells kids that who they are in life is their own choice, regardless of circumstances. Whether on his own or with teams such as the Justice League and the Outsiders, Black Lightning will always strike when justice is needed.


Green Lantern

John Stewart is one of Earth's Green Lanterns, the leader of the Green Lantern Corps, and a member of its Honor Guard. He is noted for being an excellent sniper as well as a skilled architect. He was the second African-American superhero to appear in DC Comics. John Stewart's power ring physiology provides him with the abilities of all other Green Lanterns; flight, semi-invulnerability, energy projection, hard light construct creations, etc. The ring is a weapon of the mind and powered by willpower, therefore it's only limited to the wearer's imagination. Unlike other Green Lanterns, John doesn't wear a physical Green Lantern ring. Following an attack by The Legion of Doom, and a confrontation with Sinestro, John has a Green Lantern symbol branded on his finger which allows his body to act as his power ring, with his heart functioning as his power battery.



One of the most revered and popular X-Men, Storm made her first appearance in the famous Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975. Created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, the African Weather Goddess is one of the most iconic Black superheroes thanks to her appearances in comics, animated series, video games, and movies, with Academy Award-winner Halle Berry famously portraying the character in four X-Men films. Young Ororo first met Professor Xavier as an orphan growing up on the streets of Cairo, Egypt. Recruited by the Prof, Storm would later go on to take over as X-Men team leader from Cyclops. More currently in comic book history, Storm married Black Panther and became Queen of the African nation of Wakanda。



This classic Marvel hero debuted in 1973 as a badass vampire hunter with a complicated origin story. His mother was bitten by a vampire at birth, making him a hybrid with superhuman abilities and a mission to be the best vampire slayer out there. Later in his teenagehood, he saw a man being attacked by vampires and Blade helped him. The man turned out to be Afari, a feared vampire slayer, and in return Afari trained him to be a vampire slayer. Since his debut in the comics, Blade has appeared in numerous media, such as in his own titular films, tv series, and video games. He was portrayed by Wesley Snipes in the Blade trilogy, Sticky Fingaz in the live-action tv series, and by Mahershala Ali in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Read '5 Black TV Shows People Should Be Watching Right Now':

5 Black TV Shows People Should Be Watching Right Now

5 Black TV Shows People Should Be Watching Right Now

In this article, we will look at 5 Black TV programs that range from surrealistic to realistic portrayals of Black lives and culture. Read More » 



William Foster spent his childhood in the Watts ghetto. His natural intelligence and the influence of several good people helped him leave the ghetto and attend California Technical Institute, but not before enlisting in the military. Upon graduation, he worked his way up the corporate ladder at Stark Industries Foster found himself working as a technician for the High Evolutionary at his Antarctic stronghold. Learning the High Evolutionary's plan to mutate everyone on earth, he managed to release a warning to the West Coast Avengers, who tracked him to the stronghold. But as the Avengers were being defeated, Foster swallowed a chemical that again transformed him into Giant-Man, and he learned that his cellular disintegration had been cured.



Part man, part machine, Vic Stone is a former member of the Teen Titans and a current member of the Justice League who wrestles to preserve his humanity with every new upgrade. Victor Stone is the son of Silas Stone and Elinore Stone, scientists who use him as a test subject for various intelligence enhancement projects. While these treatments are ultimately successful and Victor's IQ subsequently grows to genius levels, he grows to resent his treatment. Vic dreamed of being a football player and devoted all of his time to becoming a star athlete while he was still in high school. But a tragic twist of fate that should have left him dead instead found him becoming part man and part machine—a Cyborg. Saved by his scientist father after an accident left very little of Victor’s body intact, Dr. Silas Stone used all of his advanced scientific knowledge to save his only child’s life, and to rebuild him into a superior being, one that was arguably now more machine than man.



Albert "Al" Francis Simmons, also known as Spawn, was born in Detroit, Michigan. In the CIA, Simmons was recruited by Director Jason Wynn into a special top-secret covert ops division known as the U.S. Security Group, an elite task force with jurisdiction in all domestic and foreign situations. Simmons was murdered during a mission and was sent to Hell because of his life as an assassin. After arranging a deal with the being known as Malebolgia, Simmons agrees to become a Hellspawn in exchange for being allowed to see his wife one last time. Malebolgia returns Al Simmons, now a Hellspawn, to the world, but with little memory, a badly disfigured body, limited yet seemingly boundless magical powers, and a monitor, the Clown, AKA Violator.



Nubia is Wonder Woman's twin sister because she was created from black clay, just as Diana was created from white clay. She's guarded the River Styx, and she ruled over an island of all men. According to DC lore, she shares ranking with Queen Hippolyta, queen of the Amazon, and Wonder Woman. When she debuted in Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #204 she even bested her sister in combat. Nubia was kidnapped by Mars, who raised her, controlling her mind so that she would help him bring down the Amazons. 


Read 'Anime Series With Black Characters That You Need to Watch, Now':

Anime Series With Black Characters That You Need to Watch, Now

Though anime is primarily made in Japan, it’s something that is celebrated worldwide with growing audiences. In recent years, these anime are doing a fantastic job of representing the Bla... Read More » 



Lucas Bishop is a mutant born in a dystopic future who has traveled back in time and has joined the legendary mutants he had only known through bedtime stories, the X-Men. In his original timeline, Bishop served as a member of the X.S.E. mutant police force. Bishop is a mutant with the ability to absorb energy and redirect it back at his opponent with equal or greater force. This is a huge benefit when it comes to facing down many of the Marvel universe's most powerful beings, including those with cosmic abilities. Bishop became one of the most popular black superheroes during the animated X-Men TV series.



Batwing is an ally of Batman who uses hi-tech equipment to fight crime. The original was David Zavimbe, the Batman of Africa, who operated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a civilian, he was a police officer in the city of Tinasha fighting against corruption in the department. He became Batwing after he was supplied with a powerful exoskeleton by the original Batman. He has been a member of Batman Incorporated, the Batman Family, the Kollektiv, and Justice League International.



In 1981, Marvel introduced Monica Rambeau, a New Orleans Harbor Patrol lieutenant who gained her powers after criminal scientists blasted her with extra-dimensional energy. After the incident, she gained the ability to transform into and control any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum. Unable to achieve success in the navy as she faced adversities as a Black woman, Rambeau met recognition with the Avengers. Her competence led her to become one of the most trustworthy members of the group and, in due course, their chairwoman.


Blue Marvel

Adam Brashear was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. From an early age, it was realized that Adam was a child prodigy. Adam later became the project lead on a scientific attempt to harness Anti Matter through the creation of a Negative Reactor which created a bridge between the Negative Zone and the positive matter universe itself. Due to the unexpected explosion of the reactor, both Adam and Connor were subjected to mutagenic radiation generated by the then unstable event horizon. While Sims' body disassembled into energy, Brashear became a stable antimatter reactor and developed a set of superhuman abilities. 




The Real Stan Lee


Fortress of Solitude

 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies. She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content. 

Read more from Boitumelo Masihleho:

Snack Subscription Boxes Will Keep You from Ever Going Hungry Again

Check out these curated boxes for your next snack run and to keep that proverbial snack drawer always fully stocked. Read More » 


Black-Owned Swimwear Brands for Your Next Trip to the Beach

Black-Owned Swimwear Brands for Your Next Trip to the Beach

It’s almost time to think about which new swimsuit you plan on showing out in this season to safely soak up that sweet sweet vitamin D. Read More » 


Famous Out and Proud Black LGBTQ Couples We Love

Famous Out and Proud Black LGBTQ Couples We Love

During the month of love, we would like to celebrate these famous out and proud Black LGBTQ couples we love. Read More »