Top 6 Black-Colored Animal Comic Book Characters (Other Than Black Panther)
This week sees the highly anticipated premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever! I’ll be heading to the theater to try to get into the first local showing tomorrow afternoon, and can’t wait to see the big show. And since this blog is all about comic books and superhero movies, I wanted to do something to mark the occasion — and I settled on this really dumb idea.
So hear me out. Black Panther is obviously a cool and popular superhero, but I’ve already done some lists on big cat superheroes. So I thought about how many superheroes exist who are named after colored animals. Red Bee, Crimson Cougar, Yellowjacket, Red Robin; the list goes on and on and there were some good ones. But then I discovered that there are enough black-colored animal comic book characters to make their own list! That’s neat!
So join me after the jump for a whole list of superheroes and villains who are named after the color black and after an animal! Black Panther would obviously top this list, so we’ll leave him out because we already know all about him.
6. Black Condor
Black Condor is a superhero who dates back to 1940, and has an appropriately 1940s origin. His parents were murdered by thugs and he was raised in the wild by a condor. Yep. And by studying the way the condor moved and flapped its wings, Richard Grey Jr. learned how to fly himself. Because hell yeah! But his origin story doesn’t stop there! The feral flying boy was later raised by a mountain hermit and learned to be civilized. He murdered the bandits who killed his parents. Then moved to the U.S. just in time to fail to stop the assassination of a senator…so he assumed the senator’s identity! He became Black Condor on the side to fight crooked politicians and bootleggers. Man, all of this sounds awesome!
That was the first Black Condor, who eventually disappeared into comic book limbo, especially after DC Comics bought the rights to him and a whole bunch of other characters. The two modern incarnations of Black Condor lost the cool learned-flight origin and turned him into a dude with a bird winged costume and actual supernatural origins to his powers. He’s most famous for fighting alongside Uncle Sam in the Freedom Fighters, because DC Comics has a superhero who is the living incarnation of the Spirit of American turned into a superhero. The obscure corners of comic book universes can be pretty great.
5. Black Mamba
Black Mamba is one of those super-villains who is apparently always good for tossing into random teams. She’s a founding member of the Serpent Squad, which is a really fun group of bad guys who are all snake themed. But she’s also been a member of the Masters of Evil, the Femizons, BAD Girls Inc., the Women Warriors and the Serpent Society. I guess she’s always looking for a good, solid paying gig. She’s got the powers of telepathy and some darkforce control, but nothing particularly snakelike. But she is a reliable bad guy, and sometimes that is enough.
4. Black Manta
Now we’re getting into characters that matter! Black Manta is Aquaman’s arch nemesis, a cool as hell super-villain pirate who designed this boss-looking diving suit. Those giant red eyes fire powerful lasers, so he’s not messing around. Black Manta has been a major player for years, joining all the major villain teams and causing trouble wherever he goes. He’s got a long lost son who became a Teen Titan. Most famously, he killed Aquaman’s infant son, and that’s pretty hard to come back from. I think that murder has been erased from continuity through various retcons and reality reshapes, but I don’t know for sure. Suffice to say, Black Manta remains cool and he remains badass. Hopefully he shows up in the Aquaman move sequel, because he was great in the first one.
3. Black Cat (and Black Fox)
The fact that we have nearly a dozen Spider-Man movies on the big screen and not one appearance of Black Cat is a shame. Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy are great and all, but Black Cat is another costumes superhero, and I’ve always liked that for Spider-Man. Felicia Hardy is, essentially, Marvel’s Catwoman. She’s a cat-themed burglar who has captured the heart of the major superhero, and has mostly given up a life of crime for them. She’s fun, she’s flirty, she’s popular; what’s not to love? And as an added benefit to this list, her mentor in crime was a fella named Black Fox, who taught her everything he knows. So that’s two for the price of one!
2. Black Canary
Dinah Lance is a stalwart member of the Justice League of America, a superhero who has been around for a long time. She’s appeared in cartoons and live action movies. She’s an ass-kicker with super shout powers, and a longtime love interest with Green Arrow. And it’s pretty obvious why she wouldn’t name herself “Yellow Canary”, so black is a perfectly fine substitution. Black Canary has been a backbone DC superhero for decades and if this were the MCU, she’d have her own movie series already.
1 Black Widow
Speaking of Marvel superheroes with their own movie series in the MCU, it’s Black Widow! She’s a household name at this point, Natasha Romanov, the mighty spy with cool zappy gauntlets and a fun family unit. She had decades of solid superhero service in the comics before making the jump to the big screen. She’s been an Avenger and probably everything else under the sun. A Champion? Yeah, that sounds about right. She should have gotten her own movie series years before she did, but that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is that Black Widow is awesome and totally owns the colorful adjective.