National Superhero Day: All The Black Superheroes in TV and Movies You Should Know

black superheroes

On National Superhero Day, let’s take a moment to celebrate the incredible black superheroes that have graced our screens and comic book pages over the years.

READ: 15 TV Shows and Movies That Highlight Mental Health Issues in the Black Community

Black superheroes have been some of the most exciting, dynamic, and empowering characters in the genre. With their unique skills, compelling stories, and inspiring heroism, black superheroes have broken barriers and challenged conventions, proving that anyone can be a hero, regardless of their race or background.

READ: 23 Blackface TV Episodes and Movie Scenes

Join us as we dive into the world of black superheroes, exploring some of the most intriguing and lesser-known characters in the genre, and the actors who brought them to life on screen. From the classic heroes of the past to the rising stars of the present, we’ll show you why black superheroes are more important than ever before.


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Abar was the First Black Superman portrayed in a movie in the 1977 blaxploitation superhero film directed by Frank Packard and starring J. Walter Smith, Tobar Mayo, and Roxie Young. When it was released on VHS in 1990, it was re-titled In Your Face. Upon moving into a bigoted neighborhood, the scientist father of a persecuted black family gives a superpower elixir to a tough bodyguard, who then becomes a superpowered crimefighter.



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Keith David voiced the character Marine Al Simmons aka Spawn in the Spawn animated series and Michael Jai White portrayed him in the Spawn film; a former CIA operative who is resurrected as a supernatural creature with incredible strength and agility.


black superheroes to know

The 1994 comedy Blankman starring Damon Wayans as the amateur superhero, Blankman, and David Alan Grier as his cynical brother. The movie was co-written by Wayans and he uses the homemade superhero angle to his comedy advantage.


Omar Sy portrayed Bishop in X-Men: Days of Future Past; a mutant with the ability to absorb energy and redirect it.



black superhero to know

Robert Townsend’s 1993 The Meteor Man for many of us was our first Black superhero movie since Abar.



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The infamous Catwoman from DC Comics was portrayed physically by Halle Berry, Eartha Kitt and most recently Zoe Kravitz. She always was voiced by Sanaa Lathan, Anika Noni Rose, and more.


Recently Aldis Hodge portrayed Hawkman in Black Adam. There have been several versions of the character but the most popular and enduring incarnation is Carter Hall, an archaeologist who discovers he is the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian prince named Khufu. Hall uses a special harness and wings made of Nth metal to fly and fight crime as Hawkman.




black superheroes

Ororo Munroe aka Storm from the X-Men franchise was first portrayed by Halle Berry and later on Alexandra Shipp


Wesley Snipes’ Blade franchise helped save Marvel from bankruptcy. Blade is a half-vampire, half-anti-hero that was created in the Marvel Universe. There currently is a remake underway with Mahershala Ali attached to it.

black superheroes

Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce) – portrayed by Cress Williams in the Black Lightning TV series; a retired superhero who returns to fighting crime to protect his community.

black superheroes to know

Anna Diop starred as Kory Anders / Starfire, an extraterrestrial royal from the planet Tamaran who has the ability to absorb and redirect solar energy in Titans


Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and Avengers franchise was portrayed by Zoe Saldana.



Laurence Fishburne and his son Langston both portrayed Black Goliath (Bill Foster) in Ant-Man and the Wasp; a scientist who gains the ability to grow to immense size.



Simone Missick appeared as Misty Knight in several Marvel’s Netflix TV series.



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Regina King stars as Angela Abar, also known as Sister Night in the HBO limited series Watchmen.




James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes aka War Machine and later Iron Patriot was portrayed by Terrence Howard and then Don Cheadle in the Iron Man franchise and Avengers franchise.



Deadshot is technically a supervillain and antihero who works for the government in Suicide Squad and he was portrayed by Will Smith in the film


Jurnee Smollett starred as Black Canary in Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.



Michael B. Jordan was the first Black portrayal of Johnny Storm, who’d previously been played by Chris Evans, in the Fantastic 4 film reboot.



Monica Rambeau – portrayed by Teyonah Parris in the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series; a superhero with the power to manipulate energy and matter. Akira Akbar portrays a child version of Monica Rambeau in the 2019 film Captain Marvel.


Falcon (Sam Wilson) – portrayed by Anthony Mackie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films; a former soldier who becomes Captain America’s ally and a superhero in his own right.


Zoë Kravitz starred as Angel Salvadore in X-Men: First Class



Shuri – portrayed by Letitia Wright in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films; a genius inventor and the younger sister of Black Panther who has fought alongside her brother as a member of the Dora Milaje.


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Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok.



black superheroes

John Henry Irons (aka Steel) is a former weapons engineer for the military who becomes a superhero after he witnesses the damage caused by his weapons in a battle. He creates a suit of armor and takes up the mantle of Steel to fight crime and protect the innocent. He was portrayed by Wolé Parks in Superman & Lois, Shaquille O’Neal in Steel, Michael Dorn in Superman: The Animated, Cress Williams in DC Universe Animated Original Movies, and Khary Payton in Justice League: Gods and Monsters.



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Megalyn Echikunwoke played Vixen on Arrow. She had the power to mimic the abilities of any animal.



black supeheroes

Bumblebee (Karen Beecher) – portrayed by Da’Vine Joy Randolph in the DC Extended Universe film, The Suicide Squad; a superhero with the ability to shrink to the size of a bee.



Naomi – portrayed by Kaci Walfall in the Naomi TV series; a young superhero with the power to fly and superhuman strength.


Samuel L. Jackson voices Lucius Best aka Frozone in The Incredibles in 2004.


Cyborg (Victor Stone) – portrayed by Ray Fisher in the Justice League film; a half-human, half-machine hero with a variety of high-tech abilities.


black superheroes

Eden Cupid stars as young Allison Hargreeves and Emmy Raver‑Lampman stars as older Allison in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy.


black superheroes

Phastos, played by Tyree Henry in The Enternals. He was the first openly LGBTQ+ superhero to be featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Green Lantern (John Stewart) – portrayed by Phil LaMarr in the Justice League animated series; a member of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps.


Meagan Good portrayed the superhero version Darla in DC’s Shazam


black superheroes

Static Shock (Virgil Hawkins) – portrayed by Phil LaMarr in the Static Shock animated series; a teenage superhero with the power to control electricity. Bryton James and Eriq La Salle also voiced him.


black superheroes

Samuel L Jackson also portrays Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe.


Luke Cage – portrayed by Mike Colter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series; a former convict with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin.


Cloak (Tyrone Johnson) – portrayed by Aubrey Joseph in Cloak & Dagger TV series



black superheroes

Thunder (Anissa Pierce) – portrayed by Nafessa Williams in the Black Lightning TV series; the daughter of Black Lightning who inherits his powers. China Anne McClain also starred as Thunder



Will Smith’s Hancock tells the story of an angry, frustrated, alcoholic, and self-destructive superhero whose attempts at heroism cause more harm than good. An aloof, alcoholic superhero who’s often downright surly and hated by most of Los Angeles is a great premise.


Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider. He lives in an alternate universe known as the Ultimate Universe, where Peter Parker had died. He is portrayed by Shameik Moore in the animated movies


black superheroes

Jacob Latimore as Bo in Sleight. He’s a young street magician, Bo, who uses his magnetic tricks against drug dealers who’ve kidnapped his sister.


Fast Color was the first film that centered on three Black women superheroes one played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw



Mister Terrific (Michael Holt) – portrayed by Echo Kellum in the Arrowverse TV series; a superhero with a genius-level intellect and a variety of technological gadgets.

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