Wrapped Up in Cloak

Marvel’s Newest Home Run in Promoting Original Black Superheroes

Aaron DeBee

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On the heels of the phenomenal box office success of the Black Panther character, Marvel has hit the mark again with the new retelling of Cloak and Dagger on Freeform. Brilliantly written, based on the first two episodes that aired last night, Cloak proves once again that existing black Marvel heroes had the ability to succeed on their own all along, if only they were properly handled.

Listen, Michael B. Jordan is a great actor, and he deserves not only all the success he’s earned so far, but all that is coming to him. That being said, the 2015 version of the Fantastic Four story in which Jordan played Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) should have never been made. The movie was an unnecessary and catastrophic failure that raked in Golden Raspberry awards for the worst work in an alarming number of categories.

The original Johnny Storm character was not only one of the most widely recognized white characters in the Marvel universe, he was supposed to be the brother of Sue Storm, who remained white in the retelling. This was lazily explained in the movie by adoption, but was vehemently rejected by fans.

The movie was a reboot of a franchise that didn’t need to be rebooted in the first place, and it was painfully clear to many that it was intended to be the flagship in Marvel’s widespread, well-intentioned, and misguided diversification efforts.

Anxious to better represent women and ethnic minorities, Marvel launched a campaign to transform a number of iconic white male heroes. When the question was raised regarding why canonical characters needed to be changed instead of simply promoting existing ethnic minority and female characters, the common answer was that it was predicted that fans would not respond to the existing characters.

That answer could not have been more wrong. Lifelong comic book fans pushed back against the identity changes to their beloved heroes, and new fans were not inspired by the new versions. Then Marvel did what fans had suggested all along: they just improved and…

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Aaron DeBee

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor, veteran, Top Rated on Upwork, former Medium Top Writer in Humor, Feminism, Culture, Sports, NFL, etc.