What It Is With New Black Superheroes And Being Basketball Players?

I was reminded of Dwayne McDuffie's letter while working at Marvel Comics reminding Marvel writers and editors that not every black superhero had to have skateboard-based superpowers.

It was because DC Comics and Marvel are both launching new comic books with black leads, who are both ex-professional basketball players.

We've seen Mosaic make his debut in Uncanny Inhumans.

What It Is With New Black Superheroes And Being Basketball Players?

And now in the same month DC Comics is to publish Vigilante: Southland by Gary Phillips and Elena Casagrande Giulia Brusco, with covers by Mitch Gerads.

"The Vigilante: Southland" is the story of Donny Fairchild, a failed NBA player who's just making ends meet as a maintenance man. When his girlfriend stumbles on a conspiracy to steal water rights through a series of shady land-development deals, she's mysteriously murdered. Once Donny starts getting too close to the cause of her death, his house is blown up and he's left for dead. Determined to bring the killers to justice, Donny undergoes training from an urban legend known as the Eastsider to become a masked vigilante.

"THE VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND is incredibly relevant to our times," said writer Gary Phillips. "It's a politically tinged story that touches on a myriad of contemporary issues, such as gun violence, class struggle and Black Lives Matter. The book also provides me an opportunity to contemporize classic issues/tropes like the fight over water rights in southern California. I'm very excited to show readers this character, reimagined for the 21st Century."

There must be other careers that young black men could have to prepare them for being a superhero… in reality, ex-NBA players are more likely to end up writing comic books than appearing in them right now.


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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