If you’re looking for a fun way to kick off Black History Month, DC Comics has you covered. Their new anthology collection, DC Power: A Celebration, features stories about some of the company’s most influential and popular Black heroes, told by some of the genre’s most prolific Black writers and artists.
Writers and artists like Evan Narcisse; Brandon Thomas; Stephanie Williams; N.K. Jemisin; Alitha Martinez; and Darryl Banks worked on stories starring Kid Flash; Cyborg; John Stewart; Vixen; and Batwing. The 100-page book also features work from participants in the Milestone Initiative Talent Development program, which helped mentor and guide up and coming creators of color as they broke into the comic book industry. I had a chance to preview two vastly different entries, each one showcasing how every story will have its own unique feel.
“Own Your Name,” by Dorado Quick, Jordan Clark and Clayton Henry, follows Kid Flash and Aqualad as they deal with the weight of being young Black men who follow in the footsteps of white heroes. What makes the story instantly stand out from others featuring these characters is that it has a real world feel to it. Jackson’s concerns that as a prominent Black hero he receives a lot of hate, while people also expect him to save their lives as Aquaman felt like something that could be ripped from the headlines. While the dialogue has a certain level of authenticity, it also still feels forced at times. But, that’s more of a generational issue–sort of like when your older relatives try to use slang.
“Booyah,” by Morgan Hampton and Valentine de Landro, is a beautiful story where Cyborg grapples with the grief he still feels about his mother’s death, while also protecting a valuable energy source from Livewire. Quick, Clark and Hampton are all from the Milestone Initiative Talent Development program, highlighting how important it is for writers and artists of color to have a clear path for opportunities in the industry. It’s also essential to have these characters’ stories told by people who understand them so they ring true for Black readers.
I definitely noticed how the recent announcement of new DC Studios projects was lacking in Black representation. When you read a book like DC Power, it seems crazy that the company isn’t actively working to bring these characters to TV and movies. Perhaps there needs to be more communication between the various departments.
DC Power: A Celebration is now available to add to your pull list.