Yes Ebony, Black Super Heroes Are Real!

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Yes Ebony, Black Super Heroes Are Real!

“A good idea is never in the minority”

Was my smile inducing thought when I opened twitter today to view Ga-Congressman John Lewis’s San Diego Comic Con cosplay photo.

The 1960’s  civil rights warrior who defied oppression and withstood inhumane abuse on the  Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 and who director Ava DuVernay cinematically immortalized in the award winning film Selma, made a move that let me know we shared an idea that time has come. Specifically, comic book art and aesthetic are timely ways of teaching history.


Donning an outfit identical to the one he wore 50 years ago on Bloody Sunday, Congressman Lewis led a reenactment of the tragic march at this years SDCC with a dynamic group of comic fans. By cosplaying as his younger self and revisiting the event, the Congressman, further purposed otherwise fetish driven cosplay as a medium for active appreciation of historically noteworthy persons and events.


Embracing a surge in pop culture relevancy for which the likes of Messy Jesse and the Right Reverend Al surely pine, this week John Lewis is discussed in the same breath as Superman, Batman, Star Wars, and Hall H.  Congressman Lewis best summed up his clever mission at his 2013 visit to the convention to promote “March: Book One” a graphic novel detailing Bloody Sunday.


March: Book One
Hosea Williams and John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. “March: Book One” page 5
”We have told the story in many ways to many different audiences. but this is an attempt to reach hundreds, thousands, and millions of young people. And people not so young.”
Congressman John Lewis.

Bree Newome

Three weeks ago when Bree Newsome removed the Confederate Flag from the SC capitol  grounds, Ava DuVernay was among the first to elude to her as a Superhero.  Ms. Newsome, a freedom fighting film maker herself, had not only redressed the visual impression of a woman on a pole, she also thrust herself into the historic record of the republic for which it stands with one valiant act of righteous intolerance.  Instantly, cartoonists, pencillers, inkers and artists co-signed DuVernay’s exaltation with dope comic art venerating Bree’s Super-Heroics.

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What we are experiencing is a nuance in expression. Honorable and righteous defiance to oppression, abuse, and straight up disrespect is now hoorayed, conveyed, displayed and  portrayed with a super hero aesthetic. More importantly, the wisest and realest among us recognize the edification value in using comic art as the prime medium for depicting history and history in the making. I muse at the idea that perhaps the upcoming Onxycon, ECBACC, and DragonCon cosplay events will be attended by costumers with a fetish for righteously heroic history makers. Or maybe, Party City might hawk Bree Newsome and James Tyson costumes in time for Halloween. Hell, I wouldn’t be mad if it came with a Confederate Flag for repeated at home removal reenactments.



I enjoyed this read. Several reasons. It opened a new window I didn’t see, which is the superhero connection. That aspect lends itself to even deeper conversation of our appearance on the comic landscape as well as within reality, possibly delving into why we’ve been marginalized to nearly excluded from this realm as well, considering Superman and those males from his home have names that end in – El.

Oh and the play on words within the title lends to the creation of a whole new phenomenon of tradition.

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