From a distance it looks like black folks are movin’ on up like the Jeffersons as far as inclusiveness in the comicbook arena is concerned. There’s now a Black Spider-Man, a Black Iron Man, Warner Bros went with the Black Firestorm with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and there’s now a Black Captain America who actually was blessed with the famous star-spangled shield by none other than Steve Rogers himself,
This is shaping up to be the year that Warner Bros and DC Comics get some of their creative clout back in the movies and in the pages of its comicbooks as well.
Additionally, the CW Network has laid significant building blocks in bringing as much of the DC Universe as possible onto the small screen. Though Marvel Comics are still outselling DC, June saw DC Comics close the gap a bit with its “Rebirth” storyline.
Indeed, into this maelstrom of comicbook inspired creativity we find some Black characters from both DC and Marvel getting long overdue play as well. Aside from writers “nerphing” Storm in yet another horribly written X-Men movie, Black Panther wrecked it in Captain America: Civil War, Iris West and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin and Candice Patton) are the cutest bi-racial thing going since the black-and-white cookie. A black Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) is about to debut next season, Vixen is slated to appear on Arrow next season, and Suicide Squad stars three Black actors in leading roles.
However, I have just one question for the editors over at DC Comics. Where the hell is Nubia aka Nu’Bia aka one of the few women in the DC universe who could go 12 rounds with Wonder Woman and still live to tell the tale? Through Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint, New 52, Convergence, Rebirth and all other continuity altering events in the DC realm we still see very little of arguably the most powerful sister in all of comicbook-dom?
Some casual comicbook fans would blink long and hard at that name, and understandably so.
So, I’ll take a trip in the “Way Black When” machine and bring you guys up to date and explain why she should be heavily featured in a comicbook, cartoon, TV show or movie ASAP-ish.
Created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Don Heck in 1973, Nubia made her first appearance in Wonder Woman #204 (Vol. 1) in January 1973. She goes toe-to-toe with Diana of Themyscira from the jump and actually defeats her, but refuses to kill her. Man, that’s not only one heck of an entrance for a black character but any character. Especially when considering all the tail Wonder Woman has kicked in her nearly 80-year illustrated career.
According to the story, Queen Hippolyta fashions two babies out of clay; one white and one black. They are brought to life by Aphrodite but Nubia is kidnapped by Mars, the Greek god of war. She appears again in December 1973 in Supergirl #9. This time she’s sick and Kara is sent on a mission to find a cure for her illness. She isn’t seen again until six years later in Super Friends #25 trying to liberate women on the continent of Africa (Yes, the whole continent) from male oppressors. She fights WW again but they depart as friends.
Nubia possess super strength, speed, agility…basically everything Wonder Woman can do.The exceptions being a paralyzing gaze, becoming the ability to heal and cleanse herself of toxins by using the Earth and the ability to teleport between dimensions. Additionally, she has a sword that is the only known weapon to counter Diana’s magic lasso.
Pretty bad-ass, right?
Imagine having a character designed to be able to stalemate the second or third most powerful hero in the DC Universe, then imagine how you’d feel if you watched her be diminished for no clear reason? Well, that’s kinda what DC has been doing for the better part of 43 years. She has only appeared in about 30 books in that span.
Major comic imprints are all simultaneously riding the diversity wave like it’s some hip, new trend. Yet, still no Nubia in sight.
Nubia was erased from the DC continuity during Crisis on Infinite Earths, remixed as Nu’bia after Crisis, and in New 52 as Wonder Woman of Earth 23 in Final Crisis (only appearing in the last issue), but the original version was never heard from again.
What gives? Heck, somebody thought the character was a good idea at one time. She even had an action figure in the 70s. That was rare for any women character let alone a black one.
Hopefully, somebody is writing a rather kick-ass solo title featuring Nubia or perhaps she’s slated to be in the upcoming Wonder Woman movie and this entire article is a complete waste of time. Wouldn’t that be dope?
But I wouldn’t hold my breath unless you enjoy gasping for air and flopping around like a polluted Hudson River catfish.
In the meantime, Blerds and geeks throughout the blogosphere only have scans of yellowish pages to reminisce upon what could have been and what should be. Meanwhile, I’ll be in a comicbook forum near you like ‘Hey, DC! What the (expletive) are you doing with Nubia?’