10 Badass Women Of Color From My Favorite Graphic Novels
Comic book enthusiasts, here’s an eye-catching list inspired in part by creative comic trailblazer Jackie Ormes. It’s time these stunning, ass whoopin’ superheroines got some shine.
“Goddess. Weather Witch. Mutant. Ororo Munroe has been known by many names and identities. Born to an American Mother and African father who died in her youth, Ororo was left to her own devices and survived as a thief. When her mutant abilities manifested, she was feared as a witch by some and praised as a goddess to others. Eventually joining Charles Xavier’s X-Men, she became Storm, one of the X-Men’s most powerful members.” Arguably the most well-known Black super heroine, Marvel introduced the descendent of Kenyan royalty in May 1975.
#2: Captain Marvel (a.k.a. Photon and Pulsar)
“Monica Rambeau was a lieutenant in the New Orleans police force. A friend of the family, Professor Andre LeClare, had been forced to create a device which would harness other-dimensional energies. In the process of helping to destroy that device, Rambeau was bombarded with those energies and found that she could, as a result, transmute her body to energy and back again at will. She eventually became a full-fledged member of the Avengers and inherited the name Captain Marvel from the press. She is one of the most underrated characters in the Marvel Universe, yet one of its most powerful.”
#3: Bumble Bee
Creator of a slick, powerful super suit, scientist Karen Beecher-Duncan is a former member of the Teen Titans and a current member of the Doom Patrol. “First appearing in Teen Titans #45 (December 1976), Karen adopted the Bumblebee identity three issues later, becoming DC’s first Black female superhero. Karen was working as a library assistant and studying physics, computers and politics. She developed a cybernetic suit for herself, capable of flying, receiving radio transmissions, shooting electric energy and even offering protection against low caliber bullets.”
“Anissa Pierce is the daughter of Jefferson Pierce, the hero known as Black Lightning. She was a medical student and did very well in school and her father didn’t want her to ruin that by becoming a vigilante. She respected his wishes and waited until the night she graduated before putting on her costume and becoming Thunder.” Revealed as a lesbian, Thunder has the ability to control her density & is a recruit of Nightwing’s Outsiders.
#5: Misty Knight
“Misty Knight’s a highly-decorated police officer, those former days on the force jarred to a halt when she lost her right arm to a terrorist’s bomb. Tony Stark arranged for her to receive a bionic prosthetic replacement limb in recognition of her bravery. Against taking a desk job for the police, she resigned and became a private investigator, with her friend Colleen Wing.” The two became a crime-fighting duo under the title Knightwing Restorations Ltd, a.k.a. Daughter of the Dragon. In March 1972, Marvel introduced the superheroine.
Born Mari Jiwe McCabe, Vixen arrived to the in Action Comics via DC Comics back in ‘81. “Mari McCabe was born in Africa (though the actual country is often changed depending on the story.) She is the daughter of Reverend Jiwe who later possessed the magical Tantu Totem. This is a magical artifact, supposedly created by Anansi the Spider which bestowed the wearer the same powers as Anansi. Soon, Mari found herself as an orphan after her mother was killed by poachers and her father was killed by Maksai, his half-brother. She then moves to NYC where she began a career as a model. She later returns to Africa to reclaim the totem. Vixen was originally slated to become the first African American female superhero to lead her own series, yet the series was canceled before its publication (though these issues were later printed in a collection.) This was during an event known as the DC Implosion.” Although her series had been canceled, her character was eventually inducted into the Justice League.
#7: Marie Laveau
Marvel Comics explains: “Born in New Orleans in 1801, Marie was a Creole beauty who treated victims of warfare and epidemic. In 1819, she married Jacques Paris and, after his disappearance, bore Christophe Glapion five children, the first also named Marie. Allegedly inducted into the Voudou (Voodoo) faith by houngan John Bayou and/or manbo Sanite Dede, Marie supplied clients with mystic charms and led ceremonial dances, her namesake joining her at adulthood. Marie held mystic and political power, reportedly helping slaves escape and opposing religious oppression. Reported dead in 1881, Marie survived via sorcerer Cagliostro’s potion but continued aging. Her good deeds were slandered, but Cagliostro’s secret may have corrupted Marie in truth. Little is known of her for over a century, but the tales grew taller and darker. Finally, she captured Dracula, whose vampire blood, in Cagliostro’s potion, restored her youth.”
“A member of the new gods race who reside on New Genesis and are adversaries of the gods of Apokalips. Valkyra is one of the most skilled warriors of her planet having trained Orion who can go toe to toe with both Superman and Wonder woman. With an unknown god she gave birth to Vykin who was called before the highfather at a young age along with five other children and given personalized Mother Boxes with which they were encouraged to bond. As a warrior she trained her son in the ways of a warrior but he instead developed an affinity for machines and technology. This caused the two to drift apart which worsened when he left New Genesis with the forever people.” DC Comics introduced Valkyra in 1997.
#9: Crimson Avenger
“Jill Carlyle, the black female version of the Crimson Avengers (there are three superheroes that go by this name) used firearms to take revenge on those who kill innocents. She has an ever-bleeding bullet hole in the center of her chest. The guns don’t need ammunition, therefore never run out of ammunition and have no triggers – they are fired with mind power. Until her time as the avenger is up, she remains immortal, at which time she immediately dies from her wound.”
“Silhouette is a Marvel Comics character who first appeared in the New Warriors comic (vol.1) #2 August of 1990. Real name Silhouette Chord, has the power to become a shadow and teleport. Silhouette is also very proficient in martial arts and has superhuman strength, speed, agility and heightened sense. Silhouette and her brother Midnight’s Fire were operating as independent vigilantes in the streets of New York City, when they met Dwayne (before he had become Night Thrasher), and the three began an organized effort to take down various New York City street gangs. This partnership ended when Silhouette was shot and paralyzed from the legs down in a sting gone bad. Undaunted, Silhouette utilized her braces in combat and joined Night Thrasher’s New Warriors.”
Reprinted with permission from Clutch