Brains Beauty & Black Girl Magic! 7 Black Female Comicbook Superheroes Who Deserve The Spotlight

Brains Beauty & Black Girl Magic! 7 Black Female Comicbook Superheroes Who Deserve The Spotlight

Representation of women superheroes in starring roles is finally catching on. Now, let’s turn our attention to Black female superheroes.

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this for a now defunct publication

Most superheros on the big screen and on television are either male or white. And that's cool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (except for Iron Fist. He whines too much). But let's be honest. We ALL know most of the time it's the women kicking just as much, if not more ass than the male protagonist.

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"Black Lightning" Got Me Hype **SPOILERS**

Black Lightning is more than just a show about a Black superhero.

When I saw the first trailer for Black Lightning, I was excited. Admittedly, I had a crush on Cress Williams ever since he played Scooter on Living Single (yeah, I'm showing my age). Not only does Cress do an amazing job as the title hero, Black Lightning aka Principal Jefferson Pierce, but Salim Akil's writing is on point and the entire cast epitomizes awesome.

Jefferson Pierce is part John Shaft, part, part Joe Clark and part Sgt. Murtaugh. He's suave, intelligent, and gives a damn about his community, looking after former and current students alike, but he's definitely "getting too old for this shit." Sensing a theme?

That's right. The metahuman superhero is older and wiser than his fellow DC heroes. He has a family. There's none of the usual "I'm a hero and therefore, must be alone to keep everyone I care about safe" going on here. He has kids. He has an ex-wife who he gave up Black Lightning for years ago. But now that Black Lightning is back, he's confronting a villain that is very familiar.

Tobias Whale, played by rapper/actor Marvin Jones III aka Krondon is Black Lightning's arch-nemesis. They've been enemies ever since Pierce was a teacher who stood up to him. Whale is a former politician who rose through the ranks of the criminal underground and took over. 

One of Whale's lieutenants, Lala was a student of Pierce's back in the day. Lala now leads The 100 Gang. Lala's young cousin, Will, meets Pierce's youngest daughter while at a club. Will, also a villain, has some business to square away with Lala, but that all goes sour and Black Lightning has to reemerge to rescue his daughter. When Whale finds out that Black Lightning has resurfaced, his obsession with the hero who almost stopped his business resurfaces. It's not just about business; it's definitely personal. Krondon's performance is scary good--reminiscent of the ruthless gangsters of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

And rightly so. Black Lightning was created in 1977 during the Blaxploitation film era that burst onto the scene when drugs were being pumped into Black communities and gangs began to sprout up like weeds being fed plant food. Black communities needed heroes like Shaft, Luke Cage (first comic appearance in 1972) and Black Lightning. Black Lightning, being the family man that he is, instilled his passion for helping onto his daughters Anissa and Jennifer. In the comics, they are also metahumans who go by Thunder (Anissa) and Lightning (Jennifer). The show is only two episodes into the season, but so far, Anissa has only just discovered that she has abilities. Jennifer hasn't. 

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

One recurring request from comics fans is that they get to see Static appear in the show. Creator Tony Isabella doesn't want Black Lightning and Static to be in the same show. And for very good reason. Both Black Lightning and Static are powerful heroes. Having them both on the same show would either relegate Static to a type of sidekick or Have Black Lightning taking on a mentor-type of role.

BUT Static Shock will be coming to life. That's right. Dabier, who plays Will in Black Lightning will be playing Static Shock in a standalone show in 2019.

Does this mean that Static Shock will have gotten his superpowers from Black Lightning and not a chemical accident like in the comics? Will there be a funeral for Will where we learn that his name is full name is Virgil Ovid "Will" Hawkins? I mean, what teenage boy wants to walk around being called Virgil? Virgil doesn't exactly say "gangsta" or "thug life." Who knows!

I only know I'm excited for this show and can't wait to see more from DCU and Warner Bros. There's something almost nostalgic and feel-good about Black Lightning. We're rooting for the family man, the principal and the hero. We're rooting for the family to kick ass together. 

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW. Check your local listings for time zones.

Suicide Squad, BDSM and Removing the Abusive Component of J+H

To cheer myself up after a horrible day, I decided to re-watch Suicide Squad. 

Disclaimer: This piece is not condoning abusive relationships. Nor does this piece deny the manipulative aspects of the the Harley and Joker relationship. This piece merely points out the BDSM elements that were added to the Suicide Squad film's Harley and Joker relationship.

It's entertainment--not the best movie, but entertaining nonetheless. It's one of those movies that you can watch over and over, every time it comes on. We can debate about the sloppiness of the script and whether or not you like the actor choices for the characters another time. This insomnia-driven article is about the removal of one of the main variables of the Joker-Harley Quinn romance--the abuse.

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Since Harley Quinn was introduced to Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn and Joker's abusive relationship has been unavoidable. And while liking the characters individually, I've always detested their relationship. The comics depict Harley as a bit of a stalker where Joker berates and abuses her for his amusement, places blame on her or just beats her due to sheer annoyance. Hell, in one episode, Harley actually caught Batman for Joker and he beat her because she basically stole his thunder. I was so glad when she left Joker.

One of the things many die hard Harley-Joker fans do is romanticize the abusive relationship as this beautifully imperfect--twisted relationship based on abuse and there was nothing beautiful about it. I've heard so many Harley fans say, "They're just two twisted people who love each other. They get each other." And all I can ever do is roll my eyes at their ridiculousness. And those same people don't like the Suicide Squad version of the Harley-Joker relationship because "it isn't true to the comics because Joker looks like a 'lovesick puppy." That was the most widely used reference I heard "lovesick puppy". 

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In the Suicide Squad version, their relationship is depicted more as a Dom/sub relationship and is, thus, actually quite beautiful. Harleen Quinzel is a collared baby girl--Daddy's Lil' Monster--Daddy being Joker. She lives to please him and in this version, Joker lives to protect Harley. He shot a man  in the head for calling her a bitch! Yeah, yeah, yeah, he's Joker--he doesn't need an excuse to shoot anyone in the head, but still. Work with me, here. 

In BDSM the Dominant/submissive power exchange is about trust. The submissive freely surrenders power to her/his Dominant. The general consensus is that the submissive, while surrendering her/his Dominant, is still the one in control because that power was given freely and can be taken away by leaving the relationship or setting boundaries not to be crossed. In the film, Joker tells Harley, "Submission is power."

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In that scene, while most movie goers probably thought he was being his manipulative Joker-self, he seemed to be asking Harley to be his submissive. 

Joker: Would you die for me?
Quinn: Yes
Joker: That's too easy. Would you live for me?
Quinn: Yes
Joker: Careful. Do not say this oath thoughtlessly. Desire becomes surrender. Surrender becomes power. You want this?
Quinn: I do.

In the SS, through flashbacks, they show Joker's sadism and Harley as a willing, masochist participant. Their power dynamic, in the film is pretty decent in that they worship each other And while the introduction of this type of dynamic pissed off a LOT of die hard fans as not being true to the comics and their actual, abusive relationship, I, for one, was very grateful that David Ayer gave us a newer, better version of the Joker-Harley relationship. I'd rather see Harley be wanted, protected and needed as a sub as opposed being a punching bag and punchline for comic fodder. Harley Quinn is such a complex character who deserved so much more than being a sidekick who suffers abuse from a douchy boyfriend.

Intentional or not, this is, of course, how it appeared in the film.