Friday, May 16, 2008


Science Ninja Hero Batman

In the spirit of yesterday's "Most Excellent Superbat" of the Super Young Team, Cliff Chiang (whose work on Dr. Thirteen: Architecture & Mortality I've praised before) shares this little gem.
I was digging through the storage room here at the underwater headquarters and ran across these character sheets I did almost 10 years ago. So I slapped on a new coat of digital paint and put ‘em up for your amusement. Similar to Grant Morrison’s ideas for Super Young Team, I imagined that the DC universe had a band of Japanese superheroes inspired by their original Western counterparts. It’s basically a mix of DC, old school anime and kaiju.
He explains that, because DC already had a similar idea in the works, his pitch was shelved, but just look at what he'd cooked up.

Science Ninja Hero Batman!

And here's Science Ninja Hero Batman's sidekick, arch nemesis, and his sidekick...

Total Gatchaman, no? (Otherwise known as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, naturally. Or "G-Force," to you heathens...)

About this take on Batman, Chiang says "Here, Batman is a wealthy but orphaned college student, the Joker is an insane visual kei rock star..." Like his interpretations of Superman, Green Lantern, et al., he admits that these are "shameless pastiches," which they are, but in a way that is 100% made of awesome.

There's more awesome in Chiang's post, unless you hate goodness or something.

These are all cool, but the dearth of black skinned superheroes kinda bugs me.

I didn't notice it much before, but I adopted a boy of African descent, and he really likes superheroes. One day he looked at a book that had Batman, Superman, and Spiderman on it and said. "They are all white. I wish I was white."

It was rather heartbreaking. Later we went out and got a Black Panther comic. That's when I started noticing that there are almost no black superheroes with their own series. They often show up as support characters or villains.

Anyway, it would be nice if you could find some cool superhero of African descent to put in these posts. Don't know what's available, however.
How old is your son? I can think of a few books featuring African-American heroes that might be available in collected editions or in affordable back issues, but some of them might not be all ages.

For quite a few years the Static Shock cartoon, based on the Milestone comic series of the same name created by Dwayne McDuffie, ran on the WB. Both comic and cartoon were extremely well-done superhero stories about a young African-American superhero in the fictional city of Dakota.

More recently, DC's Firestorm featured a young African-American named Jason Rusch as the most recent holder of the Firestorm alias. It's recently been cancelled, but ran for nearly three years, and was highly readable throughout.

And while they aren't headliners, as such, a significant percentage of the team members in Geoff John's current JSA series are of African descent, including Jakeem Thunder, Lightning, and Amazing Man.

You're quite right, though, that characters of African descent, like those of Asian ancestry, have been pretty criminally under-represented. It's only recently that there have been a handful of Latino heroes, for that matter, and the sales of those books mean that they're always teetering on the edge of cancellation as it is.
He's currently 6 years old. One of the things I'm looking for is something that does not try to bring pretend religions into the picture (Black Panther prays to the "Panther God" and Storm exclaims "Goddess" etc.). I'd prefer something that is religiously neutral (or something that matched our Christian beliefs).
You might try to hunt down some of the Static Shock books and DVDs. They were targeted at an all ages audience, and sound like they might fit the bill. A quick check online shows that there are a number of prose chapter books that can be had at affordable second-hand prices, and a DVD that collects the first six episodes of the series that can be had new for under ten bucks. Back issues of the Static and Static Shock comic could probably be found in most good comic shops for reasonable prices, as well. The only bad news is that, other than the first six episodes, the rest of the series isn't available yet on DVD, but I've seen torrents collecting entire seasons available online, if you're willing to download off-air-recordings in avi format.
Awesome combo of G'man & B'man!!!
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