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Marvel Late to the Black Superhero Party
Black Panther Movie! Cool!
Tomb of Dracula #10
Been There, Done That, But NOT the First!
OK now, so it hasn't been stated directly, but the "impression" from all of the hype for Marvel's up and coming Black Panther movie is that it will be the "First" Black Superhero (BSH) comic book movie. Don't get me wrong, this is a Really great thing. Not so much the "first" part, but the fact that Marvel is upping the status of one of it's fabulous lesser known characters of the Marvel universe. This movie-goer is personally ecstatic to not have to start through the "primary" Marvel characters like Spiderman and the X-men, again and again.... Infinitum... But enough of that.
The fact is that the first Black Superhero from the comic books to hit the silver screen from Marvel was Blade, starring Wesley Snipes. Later to become a trilogy of movies solidifying the character in the history of BSH movie characters. And while this wasn't necessarily a "men in tights" type of superhero movie, it is superhero none-the-less. BTW Blade had his first appearance in the Marvel comic Tomb of Dracula #10 back in 1972. So kudos to Marvel for being an innovator in the newsprint pages as well.
But is Blade the first Black Superhero Movie.... NOT!
Blade was released August 21, 1998
Already been there with Blade...
DC's Steel? Huh?
Steel, the First DC BSH!
So in the world of DC's not so fabulous comic book to movie adaptations... Well I guess we can barely say "adaptation" since the story line is only loosely based on the comic books. And I mean really loose. No cape? Superwho?
I guess if one can mute memories of awesome comic book stories then this movie could be good, but whatever. I can do that so I don't mind. And who doesn't like a Shaq movie? Always fun to have a Shaq attack...
A friend of mine at work reminded me that as comic book fans we really should feel fortunate that "any" movie ever gets created about our favorite characters. Good or bad, attention is good. There's always a "re-boot" around the corner.
So Steel is the First Black Superhero Movie that DC has made, but is it the first BSH movie????
A resounding NOT!!!
Steel was released August 15, 1997.
So WHO then was the first Black Superhero to grace the silver screen???
The FIRST Black Superhero Movie... SPAWN!
Not Marvel, Not DC, IMAGE!
NOW we have finally arrived! Yes SPAWN was the FIRST! IMAGE WINS!!!
Yup, the little indy that could, Image Comics was the FIRST to produce a Black Superhero movie! And I have to say, considering the time it was created, Spawn was a fabulous show. The best part was that the movie didn't leave it's faithful readers in the dust saying "what the..." Not that the plot followed comic story line faithfully, but the directors at least paid some attention to the source, creator Todd McFarlane was the screen writer for his own creation. Very cool.
Spawn was released August 1, 1997, beating Steel by a mere 14 days...
Michael Jai White starred in this movie which was excellent in spite of what the critics balked about. Seeing a real comic creation going into the movies is very cool.
And the best part? Little indy Image Comics takes down Marvel and DC to become the FIRST publisher to make a Black Superhero Movie!
Special Thanks to my good buddy Michael Sacal of Heroic Tendencies Comics for inspiring this little ditty. He's the one that posed the question causing me to ponder this topic...
Speaking of which, PLEASE support your favorite INDY comic creators! Check out great publishers like Red Leaf Comics, Heroic Tendencies, Digital Manga Inc (DMI) and CE Publishing Group! Discover the next Spawn in your life!
SPAWN is #1!
August 1, 1997
Michael Jai White
August 15, 1997
August 21, 1998