In honor of Black History Month, I took the time to conduct a wholly unscientific survey of the interweb to find out just which black superheroes come out on top. Thirteen names appeared again and again throughout the polling, and of those the top 5 remained fairly consistent. So in no particular order the TOP 5 BLACK SUPERHEROES...
T'CHALLA made his debut in FANTASTIC FOUR #52 in 1966, making him the first black superhero in mainstream comicdom. The King of the wealth African nation, Wakanda, a genius level scientist and inventor, Black Panther represents, at least to me, the belief in the black community that African-Americans should carry themselves with dignity, nobility, and self-respect as we are descended from royalty.
The BLACK PANTHER has remained popular through the years thanks to many cartoon appearances, and a prime-time tv series produced by MARVEL and BET. His popularity is set to swell when Chadwick Boseman portrays him for the first time in the live-action film Captain America: Civil War and then in his own solo film in 2018.
Introduced as a supporting character in TOMB OF DRACULA #10 in 1973, BLADE, born Eric Brooks, would go onto to become Marvel's preeminent vampire slayer. Born half-vampire, he has fought Dracula and his vampire minions to extinction. To me, Blade represents the constant and continuing struggle in the black community to eradicate racism and hate that plagues mankind.
Blade has remained a popular character in comicdom and gained increased mainstream popularity due to Wesley Snipes' portrayal in three films. Hopefully Marvel will find a way to work Blade in their established continuity soon.
JOHN STEWART debuted in GREEN LANTERN #87 in 1971 as a substitute for Hal Jordan. Quickly it was realized that this Green Lantern would not take a back seat to anyone, becoming the primary star of the series well into the 2000s. For many fans it was the wildly popular Justice League animated series that cemented John Stewart as The Green Lantern.
Please take the time to read Evan Lee's fantastic article: THE HISTORY OF JOHN STEWART, THE GREEN LANTERN!
ORORO MUNROE made her first appearance in GIANT -SIZE X-MEN #1 in 1975. The first black female superhero to play a major role in comcidom, Storm has become one of the most recognized comic characters across the board. Beyond her minority status as a mutant, she has reflected, at least to me, the strength, grace and power that so many of our African-American women strive for on a daily basis as mothers, wives, and sisters in a hard world.
Storm has been portrayed by Halle Berry in four X-Men films and Alexandra Shipp will be the young Ororo in the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.
POWER MAN burst onto the scene in the comic LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE #1 in 1972 as a product of the Blaxploitation era, and has expanded past those constraints to become a major player in the Marvel comic universe. It is a fitting shift, as I will always see Luke Cage as the epitome of the black community and our struggle for equality: tough, unbowed, resilient, undeterred, powerful, uncompromising, in your face, and unstoppable.
Luke Cage has become so popular that Netflix has included him in their Defender series starring Mike Colter as Power Man.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: FALCON, BLACK LIGHTNING, SPAWN, CYBORG