§ February 1st, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

The February 4, 2005 issue of Weekly Reader’s Know Your World Extra magazine cover-features the John Stewart Green Lantern, and contains a short article on comic book characters that had been white, and are now black. Along with Stewart, other characters pictured with the article include the new Crimson Avenger from recent issues of JSA (complete with guns and her signature bloodstain on her chest — considering this magazine is distributed to schools, I wonder how many parent complaints that’ll generate?), the new Firestorm, and the new version of Mr. Terrific. Writer John Ostrander has a comment or two in the article regarding Mr. Terrific’s creation:

“‘The original Mr. Terrific met some kids who admired gangsters […] I looked at some inner-city kids today and saw a similar situation. They admired “gangstas.” I felt the way to re-create Mr. Terrific would be to make him black.’

“Ostrander knew that a black man would be a better role model as a superhero than a gangsta. ‘I also liked the idea that the smartest superhero would be African American.'”

A sidebar to the article briefly discusses some white characters that became black upon their transition to movies or TV, such as the Halle Berry Catwoman, Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin in Daredevil, and Pete Ross (played by Sam Jones III, a fact not mentioned in the article) in Smallville.

The article ends with this note:

“Perhaps this trend will soon include Hispanics, Asians, and other ethnic groups. Maybe one day a black superhero will be reinvented as a white hero!”

Well, we have Arana, Marvel’s Hispanic Spider-Man spin-off (not really a reinvention, I guess), and there was the sadly-overlooked El Diablo (drawn by the late Mike Parobeck)…and I can’t think of any black characters that have been revived as white characters, off the top of my head, though it seems to be it’s been done. Ideas, anyone?

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