Comics have always been on the front lines of popular culture, and before it was common to see black faces on television, comic books — especially superhero comics — were trying to reach young readers by better reflecting the world they lived in.
In no particular order, here is a partial list of some of our favorite black superheroes — and links to where you can buy and read the comics that feature them.
Most links are inexpensive reprint collections from Amazon, and tablet users should check out digital comics supplier Comixology and Marvel's Netflix-style Marvel Unlimited service, but we encourage you to use FindAComicsShop.com to locate the local comic book store nearest to you. They can help you find inexpensive back issues (sometimes as low as $1 each) about any character or genre you're curious about.
Comics look great on your coffee table when people come over. Or bring them to your niece or nephew so they can tell the other kids who Black Panther is before he's in a movie. Just a thought.
1. Gabriel Jones
2. Black Panther
4. The Green Lantern (John Stewart)
5. Monica Rambeau (Captain Marvel, Photon, Pulsar, Spectrum)
6. Steel (John Henry Irons)
7. Alana (Saga)
11. Misty Knight
12. Quantum (of Quantum & Woody)
14. Amanda Waller
15. Luke Cage
17. Falcon (Captain America)
This is just a starting place.
You can keep the conversation going beyond Black History Month. The hugely comprehensive WorldOfBlackHeroes.com was invaluable to this list, and your primer for countless more characters and creators. Similarly, the hashtag #BlackComicsMonth spearheaded by writer/blogger @MizCaramelVixen is keeping the conversation alive on Twitter and at BlackComicsMonth.com. Or just consult a comic book shop near you. Seriously. Today. On your way home.