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Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes Paperback – October 1, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This well-conceptualized, well-written book is enriched by Nama's witty turns of expression, occasional corrections of earlier errors and omissions, and fascinating background material." Choice "Throughout, Nama takes a refreshingly nuanced approach to his subject. Nama complicates the black superhero by also seeing the ways that they put issues of post-colonialism, race, poverty, and identity struggles front and center." Rain Taxi

About the Author

Adilifu Nama is an Associate Professor at California State University Northridge. He is the author of the award-winning Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, the first book length examination of the topic. Throughout his books, various articles, and presentations, Nama has explored how race and media intersect in television, film, and hip-hop music with a critical eye toward contextualizing black representation along with black racial formation.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292726740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292726741
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Adilifu Nama's book is a needed contribution to the important topic of diversity in pop culture. Any discussion of superheroes is going to start with comic books, so appropriately, there is a detailed description of major black comic superheroes: DC's Green Arrow, John Stewart/Green Lantern and Black Lightning; Marvel's Black Panther (T'Challa) from his debut in Fantastic Four to versions by Jack Kirby, Christopher Priest and Reginald Hudlin, as well as an analysis of the revampings of Luke Cage; "sidekick" characters such as Falcon in Captain America and Jim Rhodes in Ironman, plus the lesser-known Cloak and Dagger. The book also examines other black characters including Black Goliath, John Henry Irons, Steel, Icon, Nubia (Wonder Woman's black twin sister), X-Men's Storm, Frank Miller's Martha Washington, and Brother Voodoo, as well as titles like Truth: Red, White & Black and The Crew.

Superheroes also crop up in film and television, so the book moves on to discuss blaxploitation films and various representations of Muhammad Ali and President Obama. Depictions of several black superheroes are described, including Eartha Kitt's Catwoman, Avery Brooks's Hawk, and M.A.N.T.I.S. There are long critical analyses of films like Spawn and Blade, and brief mentions of parodies The Meteor Man and Blankman, as well as Unbreakable, Spiderman 3, Hancock and Transformers.

Well-researched, balanced, and convincingly argued, this book features copious notes, references, and lots of illustrations featuring the comic book panels under discussion - mainly black and white but several in color (especially of covers) as well. The book is arranged by theme rather than by publisher or date, which makes it engaging to read but a little harder for research, thankfully there is a thorough index.
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Format: Paperback
Whether you are a comic book fan, academic (specifically African American Studies or American Studies), this book is for you. I personally found this book an enjoyable read, with perfect pacing.

The author, Adilfu Nama, did extensive research chronicling black superheroes of all types (which include our President Barack Obama, who has a few comic titles and appearances under his belt).

A superhero that author forgot was the short-lived Orpheus who was introduced into the "Batman Family" in his own five-issue series, then later killed off in the "War Games" series. Of course, being that there are various black superheroes that have shown up throughout the years...this oversight can definitely be forgiven.

This book can be a good companion piece to "Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans" by Jeffrey A. Brown.
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I purchased this book because I wanted to learn about African-Americans in science fiction. I was amazed by the history, the education and the artistry of Black science fiction. I learned about the negativity, as well as the positivity of Black sci-fi characters in comic books, television, movies and documentaries. It is important for African-Americans to become more involved with sci-fi because there are plenty more stories about Black History to be told through sci-fi and other genres of literature.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I throughly enjoyed this book which gave a terrific history of the Image of African Americans in Comics. The author did extentsive research and presented his findings in a clear and concise manner.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the shish!!! I got this from the library and was mad it had to go back. I wasted NO time finding it on Amazon that same day! The author is very informative and shares useful and historical information about the roles of both past and present black super heroes in the American pop culture. I wish he would write one about black actors in movies.
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This is an excellent introduction (or review) of the history of Black superheroes. It takes into account some perspectives that have certainly not been considered or highlighted in more cursory evaluations. I don't agree with some of the points in the latter half of the book, but I found it a great read nonetheless.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an amazing read! Dr. Nama presents a clear and compelling analysis of the role of race in super hero comic books. Super Black gives language to the experiences of African Americans seeking authentic representations in American Pop culture.
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Format: Paperback
Nama here provides a great service to comics and pop culture fans with this thoughtful and concise look at black superheroes in mainstream comics publishing. Focusing almost exclusively on Marvel and DC heroes, he looks at not simply how those characters were portrayed and their evolutions (where such occurred), but also, and more importantly, how they reflected their times and how they were often perceived by readers, in particular black readers. He also follows those characters (where such did so) into television and movie representations.

While he may miss a character here and there, this is pleasantly inclusive and, frankly, introduced me to a few characters I was previously unaware of, and his comments and conclusions are generally well laid out. There are a few awkward turns of phrase here and there, but overall this is well-written and the academic jargon is at a minimum. The book is quite accessible to the average interested reader. Recommended.
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