Afrofuturism explores "how speculative fiction concerns
itself with the black experience" and "reimagining the black identity."
~Ajani Brown, SDSU Lecturer in Africana Studies
Use the tabs above to learn about comics that explore Afrofuturism. Included in this guide are graphic novels and comics. Comic strips and political cartoons are not covered. The guide is by no means exhaustive. There will likely be more comics that cover the topic than the titles we’ve chosen as representative examples, but we hope this will give you a good place to start. Happy researching!
Ajala: A Series of Adventures (Xmoor Studious)
As a junior agent of the Community Spirit Center (C.S.C.), a teen from a mythical Harlem, Ajala Storm, becomes a superhero in the fight to protect her neighborhood.
All-New Captain America (Marvel)
Introduced in 1969, Sam Wilson, a.k.a., The Falcon, was raised in Harlem. Dealing with racism and the loss of his parents, he turns to a life of crime. He reinvents himself as The Falcon and becomes Captain America's regular partner in crime-fighting. In 2014, Captain America passes the shield onto Falcon who becomes the new Captain America.
Lee Wagstaff’s father, a black sharecropper in the Mississippi Delta, is falsely accused of kidnapping her white playmate. Lee enlists the help of a mythical swamp creature named Bayou to help save her father from being lynched.
A member of Xavier's Security Enforcers, a mutant police force from the 2070s, Lucas Bishop travels back in time to join the X-Men, but has trouble adjusting to time period and eventually becomes on of the X-Men’s antagonists.
Blackjack: Adventures of Arron Day
The strong lead character, adventurer Arron Day, travels to Egypt to “defeat a Bedouin warlord threatening peace in the region.”
Black Kirby Presents: In Search of the Motherboxx Connection Find in the SDSU Library
Art exhibition by artists John Jennings and Stacey Robinson. The work is a collection of Afrofuturist-inspired depictions of black people and their history via the comics medium.
Black Lightning (DC Comics)
Jefferson Pierce grew up in Suicide Slum, the southside of Metropolis. He becomes an Olympic Gold Medalist and schoolteacher, and fights criminals with his electricity powers. Among the first black superheros to appear in DC Comics.
Black Panther (Marvel)
The Black Panther (T'Challa) is the first black superhero in mainstream American comics. Created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, T’Challa is the leader of Wakanda, a fictional and scientifically-advanced African nation. His mystical connection with the Wakandan Panther God grants him superhuman abilities.
Blade, a black superhero, was introduced as a supporting character in Marvel Comics' The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973). Half vampire, half human and he hunts vamps.
Brotherhood of the Fringe N. Steven Harris
In an oppressed country under foreign control, a young woman begins working for the Fringe, a resistance. She’s captured and brainwashed to turn against the Fringe.
Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline (Big City Comics)
Armed with passion and a strong sense of justice, attorney Antonio “Tony” Valor, takes to the streets to fight crime as Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Darkhorse), Fray (Darkhorse), Tales of the Slayers (Darkhorse)
The slayer mythology is based on the First Slayer (Sineya), and dates back to prehistoric Africa. Sineya was chosen by three powerful African shamans - the Shadow Men - to fight against the forces of darkness. They chained her to the floor of a cave, and imbued her with the heart, soul and spirit of a powerful demon known as the Shadow demon. There are also two strong African-American female slayers, one of whom has a son who grows up to avenge his mother’s death - Kendra Young from Jamaica (TV not in comics) and Nikki Wood from 1970s New York (appears in comic book miniseries Tales of the Slayers). Nikki’s son, Robin Wood, has no powers but plays a strong role on season 7 of the TV show and appears in season 8 of the comics - “No Future for You.” Fray is a futuristic spinoff of Buffy.
Carl Lucas (a.k.a. Luke Cage) was raised in Harlem and grew up a gang member. He changed his ways, but was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. While in prison, Cage is experimented on and gains superhuman abilities. Initially launched in conjunction with the rising popularity of Blaxploitation films. Cage is married to Jessica Jones, with whom he has a bi-racial daughter.
Cloak & Dagger (Marvel)
Cloak and Dagger first appeared in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #64 (1982). Cloak (Tyrone "Ty" Johnson) and Dagger (Tandy Bowen) were teen runaways. A drug dealer injected them with synthetic heroin to test his product, leaving them with joint superpowers. As a superhero duo, they battle drug dealers and help runaways.
Concrete Park (Dark Horse Comics)
Exiles from Earth’s Scare City arrive on a distant desert planet that’s gripped by gang war.
Computer scientist, Michael Collins, thought he was writing code to control artificial limbs. Upon learning that his company is secretly using the technology to create a military killing machine, his brain is imprisoned inside of the Deathlok cyborg and he must learn to take control.
Dominque Laveau Voodoo Child (Vertigo) Borrow from SDSU Library
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, someone has killed the New Orleans voodoo queen. Dominique is the secret heir of the powerful voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
Drums (Image) SCUA (cataloged with LC)
The FBI investigates a large group death during a Santeria ritual. The series draws on several Afrocaribbean religions.
Firestorm (DC’s New 52)
Relaunched with a new black lead character named Jason Rusch, Firestorm is the result of two forces fused together to form a nuclear-powered superhero.
Genius (Top Cow)
A South Central Los Angeles teen, Destiny Ajaye, witnessed the LAPD gun down her parents as a young child and unites neighborhood gangs in a revolt against an oppressive police force.
Jaycen Wise (Brainstorm Multimedia)
An immortal scholar, Jaycen has mastered a deep spiritual connection with his ancestors and has ancient wisdom. Jaycen is originally a citizen of the ancient Empire of Kush, present day Sudan (Nile Valley, East Africa). “Stored deep within his brain are not just his own memories, but the memories and experiences of his ancestors. He can tap into what can only be described as an inner-net, a vast internal web consisting of the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of African people throughout the Diaspora” (World of Black Superheroes).
Mary Fleener is an alternative comics artist. Her first publication was an homage to Zora Neale Hurston, called Hoodoo (1988). Hurston was an African-American folklorist and anthropologist, and a somewhat controversial author on the topic of voodoo (she allegedly plagiarized at least three of her works). Although Hurston herself never wrote speculative fiction, she shared a goal of afrofuturism: "finding the truth of African history through the veil of the fantastical." (http://sequart.org/magazine/15785/afrofuturism-as-an-extension-of-the-black-arts-movement/http://sequart.org/magazine/15785/afrofuturism-as-an-extension-of-the-black-arts-movement)
Hardware (Milestone Media/DC Comics)
As a child, Curtis "Curt" Metcalf was enrolled in an Upward Bound type program. A corporate powerhouse paid for his college and then owned him as an employee, with contracts that prevented Curt from taking employment elsewhere. As Hardware, Curt uses his high-tech skills to fight crime, in particular, his boss.
The Horsemen (Griot Enterprises / The Blaxis / Cedar Grove Books)
Possessed by the gods of ancient Africa, seven people are charged with protecting humanity from itself.
An alien life-pod lands in the middle of a cotton field in the American South in the 1800s. Discovered by an enslaved black woman, the alien, Arnus, alters his appearance to match the woman. With his superhuman abilities, he eventually fights crime as Icon.
Kid Code Channel Zero (Rosarium Publishing)
“A rollicking, cosmic, time-traveling adventure, fusing classic hip-hop culture and outlandish sci-fi fantasy in this alternate universe to create the ultimate mash-up. Everything's a remix! And Kid Code and his comrades must fight against The Power, who eons ago sampled the first sounds made from the God MC and created the Dark Mix (a version of the universe that was never intended).” ~Rosarium Publishing
In New Afrika, superhero Malcolm-10 fights against urban decline and crime.
Marie Laveau character (Marvel)
While this Marvel Voudou Priestess does not have her own title series, she appears in issues of many different comics. For examples, please see Comicvine.
Martha Washington series (Dark Horse)
Martha Washington, a young American girl from a public housing project modeled after Chicago's Cabrini–Green, becomes a master at computer programming and hacking. A war hero, Martha uses her technological prowess to save the world from an evil alien force.
Give Me Liberty
Martha Washington Goes to War
Happy Birthday, Martha Washington
Martha Washington Stranded in Space
Martha Washington Saves the World
Martha Washington Dies
New Avengers (Marvel)
Secretly raised by Iron Man, the children of the defeated Avengers, including Azari, son of the Black Panther & Storm, rise up to become the Next Avengers, saving the Earth from Ultron.
NOG: The Protector of the Pyramides (Turtel Onli, 1981)
Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers (Griot Enterprises / The Blaxis / Cedar Grove Books)
The Master Teachers have been outlawed and are almost forgotten, but a team of rebels fights for justice and to save the Master Teachers.
Papa Midnite (Vertigo Comics)
Linton “Papa” Midnite is a powerful voodoo priest and sorcerer. Sometimes an ally and sometimes an enemy of John Constantine, occult detective.
P.B. Soldier (PBS Media)
In a futuristic dystopian society, P.B. Soldier struggles with decisions that will affect humanity and future generations.
Star Trek (both Marvel and DC variations)
Uhura featured throughout both incarnations of the comic based on the tv show.
Static (Milestone Comics/DC Comics)
Seeking revenge against a gang member who had been bullying him, teen Virgil Hawkins gains metahuman abilities when he’s exposed to an experimental chemical. With his new electromagnetic powers, he fights crimes as Static. Later becomes a member of the Teen Titans.
John Henry Irons, a.k.a. Steel, is a powerful weapons engineer and ally of Superman. After Superman dies, Steel works to fight gang warfare in Metropolis. Aspects of the character are said to be inspired by the African American folk hero John Henry.
First appears in The Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993).
Strange Tales (Marvel) nos. 169-173
Jericho Drumm, an educated psychologist in the U.S., returns to his native Haiti to visit his dying brother, a Vodou priest. After his brother dies, Jericho masters voodoo and becomes a powerful priest, Brother Voodoo. He replaces Doctor Strange at one point in a 5 issue series: Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural.
Sustah-Girl: The Queen of the Black Age (Turtel Onli)
A school teacher in an area modeled after the south-side of Chicago, Sustah is a descendant of the African queen, Nzinga.
Ultimate Spider-Man (Marvel)
Peter Parker is dead. Miles Morales, a half black, half Latino teen, becomes the new Spider-Man.
First appeared in Ultimate Fallout #4 (2011)
Weird Fantasy #18 “Judgment Day” (April 1953) (EC)
An astronaut encounters a robot society on another planet where the inhabitants are segregated by color. In the final panel, the astronaut is revealed to be a black man. Read it online.
Aliens breed with humans and populate the Earth with mixed race beings. Priscilla Kitaen, a.k.a. Voodoo, is a New Orleans telepath and has the ability to detect if a human is possessed by the alien race, the Daemonites. Taught that all Daemonites were evil, Voodoo learns they are not.
Ewing, Jack. "African American Portrayal: The Depiction of Black History, Culture, and Experience Through Sequential Art and Text." Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: History, Theme, and Technique.Hackensack: Salem, null. n. pag. Salem Online. Web. 11 May. 2016. <http://online.salempress.com.libproxy.sdsu.edu>.
Cole, Terry Joseph. "African Graphic Novels: Affirmations of National Identity." Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: History, Theme, and Technique.Hackensack: Salem, null. n. pag. Salem Online. Web. 11 May. 2016. <http://online.salempress.com.libproxy.sdsu.edu>
SDSU Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has some, but not all, of the comics mentioned in this guide. Please contact us and we can pull the comics ahead of time for your use.
Location: SDSU Library & Information Access, Library Addition Room 4410