Ta Nehisi Coates and Black Superman Explore Dc Elseworlds

DC: Elseworlds gets a black Superman from the legendary author Ta-Nehisi Coates. James Gunn announced several DC projects that would be released but would remain under the Elseworlds Label, which means that they would not be part of Gunn’s main narrative. Coates is one of the great African-American journalists of his generation. His writings address topics dear to Black America and manifest the experience of being a black man today. He is known for contributing to The Atlantic, but he has also written several Black Panther series and also helped write the Marvel movie. There is no one more qualified to write a Film for a black Superman.

Right now, there are two African-American supermen in DC Comics. One is Calvin Ellis, the superman of Earth-23. He was inspired by Barack Obama and in his world he is the President of the United States. In the DC canon, he is also the embodied leader of the Justice League, who protects all the worlds of reality from multiversal threats. The other black superman is Val-Zod. Raised by his ship during the Krypton voyage, he began his life as a pacifist and values Intelligence over strength, much like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although his comic book series is much longer than Calvin Ellis’s, both superhumans have the potential for new stories. Here are a few that we think would be a good fit for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Talent.

Superman: A Divided Nation

A Nation Divided is a classic Elseworlds comic book that transports the man of tomorrow to the 1860s to action the Civil War. In this story, a young Atticus Kent leaves Kansas to action with the Union. At first he is afraid that he will never see his house again, but then he takes a Confederate cannonball square from the trunk and immediately gets up. Suddenly realizing the full extent of his powers, Atticus Kent leads the Union soldiers to victory and significantly shortens the duration of the civil war.

Although this one-shot was written with traditionally white Superman, it is a key moment in DC history when Coates was able to change his racist narrative. The comic certainly shows the real reason why we see Superman in the Civil War. It is specifically about giving the man of steel the opportunity to show that he believes in freedom for all humanity. Atticus Kent has to deal with the racial hypocrisy of his Union soldiers, and he finally meets and talks to Abraham Lincoln. The story also refers to several action in which black regiments of Union soldiers fought. While it doesn’t introduce Superman into the mainstream, it’s an interesting premise for Coates.

Superman: Birthright

One of DC’s most iconic storylines, this new origin story was originally written as a standalone adventure. Nevertheless, it replaced the John Byrne reboot Man of Steel as a Canon in The DC universe. Birthright could be one of the best titles for Ta-Nehisi Coates to lend her talents. Not only does it address Superman’s origins and his decision to become a superhero, but it also highlights Clark Kent’s work as a journalist, something that Coates can inform with his personal experience.

Superman: Birthright begins by finishing Krypton, then quickly moves forward to show Clark Kent covering the tensions in West Africa. Here, Clark interviews the leaders of opposing African tribes who are in a political disagreement that could soon turn into war. The conflict seems analogous to the Rwandan genocide of the 90s. The future Superman foils two assassinations with powers still not-known to him. Back in Smallville, Clark Kent learns about his alien origins and we start The story of Superman. But Superman really ends up in Africa.

What is so funny about truth, justice and the American way

In this long Superman title, The Man of Steel takes on a group of young upstarts called Elite. Superman intervenes as he sees the superpowered vigilantes carrying out public executions and using extremely powered means to defeat the delinquents. The elite have gained worldwide recognition for their methods and arrogantly refuse to listen to Superman. The conflict reaches its climax as the reckless group of anti-heroes actions Superman in front of a hundred floating cameras on Jupiter’s moon, Io.

This is a good basis for Coates to build his black Superman, if only because he focuses on Superman’s core values. The elite wants to force society to be moral. While Superman believes that humanity can find the strength in itself to rise above its misdeeds. Maybe the story wouldn’t turn out exactly the same if Coates adapted it, but elements of it, such as the importance of public opinion, the constant presence of cameras and the new generation against the old ones, could all find a home in a modern narrative about a black superman.

 

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