Written By: Sheldon Williams (original posted on Atlanta Black Star)
White culture has been hesitant to allow too many Black heroes and Black superheroes into mainstream media, but mainstream media have not been without Black heroes/superheroes. In fact, the very term “hero” actually derives from an ancient Black deity by the name of Heru, son of Isis and Osiris.
Yes, the ancient Egyptians were Black; check Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop for further explanation and “10 Arguments That Prove Ancient Egyptians Were Black”.
So, with the very term hero being based on a Black deity, you could actually say that all superheroes are essentially Black and just being drawn and marketed in a form that is easily digested and accepted by the dominant culture. Whether you think they are again appropriating Black culture or paying homage to our ancient ancestors, the fact is there are actually many popular superheroes that use ancient Egyptian names and symbols as their source of superpower.
The Green Lantern Corps uses a power ring with two ancient Egyptian Shen Symbols, which mean eternal protection. The character is rumored to be featured in the upcoming Justice League live action movie set for 2017.
The Moon Knight is based on the ancient Egyptian deity, Khonsu, and uses his symbol the crescent moon.
Dr. Fate from DC uses magic that manifests in the shape of Egyptian hieroglyphs, such as the ankh.
Apocalypse, a Marvel supervillain from the X-Men, was born in ancient Egypt. Fox is producing X–Men: Apocalypse, which is set to be released in 2016.
Black Adam from DC is an ancient Egyptian prince who was given incredible powers by a wizard named Shazam. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been confirmed to play Black Adam in the 2019 live action film.
While the appropriation of culture can be a frustrating occurrence for a community that is struggling to reclaim its identity and is continuing to break down barriers in mainstream media, there are and have always been many great Black superheroes in fiction as well as in real life.