It's been just a few months since Amadeus Cho told nine-year-old Lunella Lafayette that she was "the smartest person in whole world" at the end of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #12. In the time since, Lunella has been condescended to by adult scientists, helped take down the Mole Man's monsters, and teamed up with two other girl geniuses --- the new and unstoppable Wasp, and Ironheart, aka Riri Williams.
Lunella's brilliance makes her one in a long line of inspiring, super-smart Black characters in comics that can be traced back decades to the Black Panther's first appearance in 1966's Fantastic Four #52, by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
It's no secret that white male leads have dominated comic books since --- well forever. In the '60s, Marvel and DC finally started to put a change to that with the addition of super-powered people of color, which led to some of today's biggest names in comics. But it still wasn't enough. Eventually the lack of diversity led to the onset of Milestone Media in the '90s, where Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle crafted several intriguing characters. With an increasingly active black nerd, or blerd, community, new black characters are being created every day --- primarily through independent publishers, though Marvel has also kickstarted a focus on one of its most notable black characters --- but more on that later.
To celebrate Black History Month, ComicsAlliance is running down our list of 20 Great Black Comic Book Characters. Our list considers old staples as well as some new favorites, including a certain katana wielding badass, space explorers and of course, plenty of superheroes.
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