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It's Time For a Black Superman Movie Starring ICON

Find out why the world is ready for black Superman. This week news broke from Variety that Warner Bros approached Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed) to replace Henry Cavill as Superman. He reportedly turned it down because "he isn't ready to commit to taking on the project since filming doesn’t seem likely to happen for several years and he has a full dance card of projects". Which is true. The guy's a machine having already playing Johnny Storm in the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot and Killmonger in Black Panther.

But is America ready for a Superman of color? No. But the world is ready for a Superman of color.

Has There Ever Been a Black Superman?

Many people consider Superman the first superhero. He's always been, from the very first issue a white man. There have been a number of alternate versions of Superman that have been African-American. 

The most notable is Calvin Ellis from Earth-23 who's the president of the United States of America. Then, there's Val Zod of Earth-2 who's parents are black.

Does Superman Have to Be White?

Race, or ethnicity, is simply a social construct. Skin color doesn't change 99.9% of human biology. Yes, there are certain medical conditions that tend to favor people from Africa but race is literally only skin deep.

The main reason that most superheroes are white is that for a long time most comic creators were white. Plus, the main audience was white. That's changed dramatically over the years and media is starting to recognize that. A superhero's powers and origin don't have to favor one race over another. So Superman could have been created as a black man and nothing would change.

In fact, scientifically it would actually make sense for Superman to be a man of color. The comics have always implied that his powers come from absorbing the solar radiation from the sun. Forbes ran an article explaining why darker pigmentation would actually make him stronger.

There's also the reality that Superman isn't human. He's an alien from Krypton. Superman could have green skin and the only thing that would change is he'd attract attention as Clark Kent. It would be hard to hide when there are only two people in the world who have green skin.

But I don't want Superman to change races. I don't want any superheroes to change races. Why? Because we have Black Panther. Marvel could have turned Iron Man black or Iron Fist white but they didn't. They took one of the most obscure black characters in comic book history and turned him into one of the biggest Marvel movies of all-time. That's the way it should go. Take great black comic characters and put them into the spotlight.

Why Make Milestone Comics?

The Variety article pointed out that Warner Bros stumbled in their first attempt at a DC comic universe. Now they're working to rebuild with movies like Wonder Woman and Joker leading the way. They should take a page or several hundred from Milestone.

Back in 1993 a coalition of African-American artists and writers, consisting of Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle created "Milestone Media". They felt that minorities were underrepresented and wanted to change that. They planned to create comics, movies and television shows based on their creations.

The flagship property was a series of comics for Milestone Comics set in the "Dakotaverse" which referred to the fictional midwestern city of Dakota.  All the comics were published through DC Comics but didn't have editorial control. The entire thing was brilliant and highly recommended reading, but ultimately it didn't catch on.

The only legacy from the comics is Virgil Hawkins / Static. His popularity even transcended the comics and an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had a poster of Static on the wall. The teenage superhero would later go on to have his own short-lived animated series named Static Shock in the 2000s and was incorporated into the DC continuity.

One character that hasn't gotten much attention is one of the other flagship characters Icon. The idea was the same origin as Superman but changed to incorporate a new angle. Arnus was an alien baby who crashed in a field in the 1800s. He took on the appearance of the black sharecroppers around him. Augustus Freeman IV grew up with fantastical powers but no interest in using them as a superhero. He lives as an upper-class corporate lawyer but does quiet acts for charity. It's only when he meets a poor black girl that he decides to become a superhero named Icon.

Along the way, he encounters racial prejudice and other social problems. It's a wonderful series.

Admittedly he's a rip-off of Superman. He has the same powers of speed, flight, and strength but can produce blasts of energy. But all of this would make for gripping and thrilling movies at a time when people are begging for more diversity in films.

Superman fights for "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" but Icon could fight for much more than that. I love Superman, but I'd love Icon more.

Jordan may not have time to play Superman, but he should make time for Icon. Warner Bros should make time too.


About the Author
Maurice Mitchell has been a passionate science-fiction fan of movies, television, books, and comics since age five. He and his twin brother Nigel created the site "The Geek Twins" to share that passion. Maurice has written and created infographics for sites like The Geek Twins and About.com. His work has been featured on sites like Business Insider, io9 Slashfilm and more.
Read more of his posts | Follow him on Twitter @Mauricem1972 

Do you think it's time for Icon to become a movie superhero? Let us know in the comments below!
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