Sunday, February 18, 2018

Waku, Prince of the Bantu, Marvel's first major black hero


I've noted often that in the 1960s, Marvel was better with race and DC was better with gender. Marvel was better with race in the 1950s too. Their first black character to win cover status and an on-going series was Waku, who appeared in Jungle Tales:
One regular feature in Jungle Tales, "Waku, Prince of the Bantu", starred an African chieftain in Africa, with no regularly featured Caucasian characters. Marvel Comics' first Black feature star,[3] he was created by writer Don Rico and artist Ogden Whitney, succeeded by artist John Romita Sr. Waku, who predated mainstream comics' first black superhero, Marvel's Black Panther, by nearly a dozen years, headlined one of four regular features in each issue. It would take a decade for the first African-American series star, the Western character Lobo, to appear, and nearly two decades before the likes of the Black Panther, Luke Cage, and the Falcon would star in solo series.
Image via Eric Wilkinson-Gilyard