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Ethnicity of Comic Book Superheroes


None of our childhood is complete without Superman stories – the most incredible comic hero of all time. Superman opened the portal to an army of superheroes ranging from various nations, ethnicities, and gender. The ethnicity of superheroes in comic books has been a topic of debate for quite some time now.

While the earlier heroes like Superman, Spiderman, and Batman were all straight, white, privileged males, the scenery changed later. From women to African American heroes, several new characters started to appear eventually in various comic series.

Ethnic minority superheroes
The most famous comic series X-Men portrays the struggle of an isolated group of mutants who don’t get accepted by normal society. Discrimination, prejudice, and racism inspired creating such a group of powerful but unaccepted heroes, said Chris Claremont, one of the writers of the X-men stories.

Several characters like Storm, Falcon, and Black lightning started to appear in the comics, directly portraying people from various ethnicities. The television and movie adaptations also cast people from different ethnic backgrounds to show these characters. Spawn, Vixen, Kung Fu Master Shang-Chi, and other stories representing heroes from other countries and continents also appeared.

Sense of identification
The work of most of these superheroes was to save the innocent and struggle with their troubles. Superheroes from ethnic minorities were created targeting a wide range of audiences interested in the comics. They made the minority children and teens identify themselves easily with a person who looked and acted just like them instead of following the white stereotype male as an ultimate example.

Tony Isabella, who co-created Black Lightning, said their team experimented with various hairstyles and dress styles for the character. They wanted every normal black child reading the comics to identify the character as someone living with them closely.  As part of your academic course, it can be a really good idea to write about a superhero’s race and hero’s ethnicity. It comes with its own share of challenges, though. There are just too many superheroes and summing up your ideas into one comprehensive piece of writing is not an easy task. This is where you need to go through the difference between race and ethnicity essay samples available online. There are several examples on race and ethnicity and almost every other subject that you can research.

Broadening the audience base
The style and appearance play a significant role in creating this sense of acceptance among the target audience. These comic heroes looked fresh for the regular White comic lovers, different from their older peers, yet the same regarding dignity and honorable serving. It paved the way for the companies to reach several ethnically diverse young minds, broadening their fan base considerably.

The ethnic comic book heroes took it to the next level when the characters from the Asian countries were introduced. Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu, was one of the early and most famous comic characters created to satisfy the growing Asian populace in the West. In a way, this character was the continuation of the Bruce Lee Kung Fu addiction, which led to the Kung Fu revolution.

Asian martial arts superheroes
The comic book lovers of the 1970s often argue whether they fell in love with Bruce Lee and Kung Fu because of this character or vice versa. Facts state Marvel wanted to create a character akin to Bruce Lee, to keep up with the trends. But, the Shang-Chi character became extremely famous, leading to an army of other Asian martial arts heroes.

In a way, these superheroes led to a cultural revolution, opening the windows of acceptance and curiosity bridging the gap between the West and the East. The Asian martial arts superheroes had a rich culture, trained to death, and gave importance to discipline, inspiring several youngsters to follow them and be proud of their ethnicity and culture.

Gender representations
Starting with Storm, there was an array of lady superheroes, colored, nerdy, hulky, and everything we could imagine. The Storm character is by far the most famous lady superhero character, followed closely by Wonder Woman, created to mimic Superman in several ways. These lady superheroes did everything their peers could and even more by working together with their male counterparts.

The writers created the lady superheroes intending to lure the female children into reading and getting used to the comic books, which were mainly a boy’s hobby in the 1960s and 1970s. But these lady superheroes enthralled the males so much, creating a special place for themselves among the males.

Comics are not just entertainment for teenagers as it enormously influences their mindset and makes them fall in love with various characters. Comic heroes from various ethnicities influenced young minds to accept people of all races, gender, and nation as an equal. The seeds these ethnic superheroes sowed in the mind of the 60s and 70s teens led to widespread acceptance of differences, which forms the basis of today’s culturally diverse society.