Posted by: Doc Comics | December 8, 2010

Black Masculinity in Comic Books

Shaft or Sidney Poitier: Black Masculinity in Comic Books

About the Film

As a young boy, the filmmaker loved comic books and the escape that they provided. However, as a young BLACK boy, his ability to truly escape was limited by the fact that many of the heroes were White. This documentary critically examines the earliest representations (1965-1977) of Black masculinity in comic books and the troubling influence of race on these representations. Within the last several years, many scholars have critically engaged comic books as a legitimate source of scholarly interest and critique. Indeed, comic books represent a genre within popular culture that is older than the television. Thinking critically about the manner in which Black men were first portrayed in hero serials provides insight into broader societal conceptions of the Black man as character, archetype and symbol. Through interviews with prominent artists, scholars and cultural critics along with images from the comic books themselves, it becomes clear that the Black superheroes that did eventually emerge are generally constrained by stereotypical understandings of Black people and Black men in particular. From the humorous, to the offensive, to the tragic, early Black superheroes never strayed too far from common stereotypes about Black men.

This award-winning documentary addresses more than forty years of representation of Black men in comic books. The characters included in the documentary are as follows: Lothar (First appearance in 1934), Whitewash Jones (First appearance in 1941), Waku, Prince of the Bantu (First appearance in 1954), Gabriel Jones (First appearance in 1963), The Black Panther (First appearance in 1966), The Falcon (First appearance in 1969), John Stewart (First appearance in 1971), Luke Cage (First appearance in 1972), Tyroc (First appearance in 1976) and Black Lightning (First appearance in 1977). Retitled “WHITE SCRIPTS AND BLACK SUPERMAN: BLACK MASCULINITIES IN COMICS,” you can get a copy at the link.



  1. Where was this when I was writing my Static paper?!

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