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The Lightning and the Storm: How an Imperfect Past Shaped the Rise of the Black Superhero

Before we get into it, you need to be aware of one thing reader: I love this shit.

If you ask my family, they will tell you that one of my first words was “Batman.” Childhood days spent running around the house with a towel on my neck, screaming “I’m Batman!” turned into teenage afternoons spent pouring through the crates at Atomic Comics. I’ve got two boxes filled with comics I’ve been collecting since I was in middle school, I genuinely grieved over how bad both cuts of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were, and I’m pretty sure The New Mutants is the only superhero movie I haven’t seen.

Yes, I’ve even watched the ’80s Supergirl movie.

So I say again: I love this shit.

While I’ve had an undying love of all things superheroes my entire life, the genre has historically had a pretty wishy-washy relationship with Black people. While we’ve recently gotten to a point where there are a multitude of Black creators telling Black stories within the genre across comics, film, and TV it’s been a long and winding road to get here.

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