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The History of the Black Male Superhero in Comic Books

Black Panther

Superman, Batman and the Flash — you know those superheroes, right? You probably know their stories too, don’t you? You might even know their weaknesses and secret identities. But do you know Power ManThe Black PantherIconThe Falcon? Ever heard of these super heroes? Do you know their origin stories or arch-enemies off the top of your head?

If you are like most people, the answer to many of those questions is no. And if your answer is no to any of them, (and even if it isn’t) then you, my friend, need to rush out and watch the documentary White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books .

White Scripts and Black Supermen is a film by Dr. Jonathan Gayles that traces the early history of Black male comic book heroes. The film explores, among other things, the racist stereotypes commonly used to tell Black male super hero stories, which were often written by White men. White Scripts and Black Supermen also offers critical commentary by leading scholars and comic book creators. Dr. Jonathan Gayles, who is a professor of African American studies at Georgia State University, created the documentary out of his own desire to share the history of Black male super heroes.

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