Marc Guggenheim, writer/producer for The CW's Arrow and The Flash TV shows -- and various comics including Arrow and The Flash -- will oversee an animated Vixen series set in the same universe as his other superhero shows, the network announced at the Television Critics' Association press tour on Sunday. Vixen will air on the CW's digital platform CW Seed this fall as a six episode mini-series.

Vixen, aka Mari Jiwe McCabe, was created by Gerry Conway and Bob Oksner in the late 1970s, but did not make her debut until 1981, in the pages of Action Comics #521. Though intended to be the first black female superhero to headline her own series at DC, her book was cancelled before launch when DC chose to shrink its line in 1978. The character featured in the famously unorthodox Detroit-era roster of the Justice League in the mid-80s, and was later a member of the Suicide Squad. She finally starred in her own mini-series, Vixen: Return Of The Lion, by G. Willow Wilson and Cafu, in 2008.

The character boasts a broad power-set that could work particularly well in animation, as she can draw on the powers and abilities of any animal, giving her super strength, speed, flight, agility, and more, though only by mimicking one animal at a time. The powers have a mystic origin in the comics, which will help introduce magic to the thus-far very weird-science-focused shared universe of Arrow and The Flash.

Though never a major character in comics, Vixen remains significant because there are so few well-established black female heroes in mainstream superhero comics. She's arguably DC's biggest-name super-powered woman of color, so the fact that so little has been done with her seem especially shameful. The decision to give her an animated series should provide a welcome boost to her profile, and though the CW's digital platform is hardly a marquee name in broadcasting, representation matters more than venue, especially to younger audiences that don't especially care which channel their content comes from. The character previously appeared in five episodes of the long-running Justice League animated series on Cartoon Network, voiced by Gina Torres.

Hopefully the show proves popular enough that DC finally fulfills the promise of almost forty years ago and tries the character out in her own ongoing title. Both Arrow and The Flash will appear in Vixen, and as those characters also appear in each other's shows, it would be nice to imagine that Vixen could return the favor and appear -- perhaps even debut -- in live action on those other shows. No casting announcements have been made at this time, but the CW could conceivably cast a voice actor who could also play the role live.



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