Marvel Comics has really been pushing for diversity over the last couple of years. Jaws hit the floor when they announced they would be making Thor, God of Thunder – a woman. Now, according to the latest reports they will be unveiling the first black Captain America.
According to the Verge, the announcement was made on the Colbert Report that the mantle of ‘The First Avenger’ will be passed from Steve Rogers to Sam Wilson, whose alter ego thus far has been the Falcon. This will make Wilson the first official black Captain America. This is not the first time Marvel has featured a black superhero, their first superhero was the Black Panther.
In the comics, Falcon and Captain America have been long-time allies. Wilson will step in to take on the iconic suit and shield after the original Captain Rogers is unable to defeat his latest nemesis Iron Nail.
The Falcon was first created by Marvel back in 1969. In an interview, series editor Tom Brevoort has stated that, “While Sam shares many of Steve’s beliefs in a general sense; he’s also a very different person with a very different background. He didn’t grow up in the 1930s; he’s a modern day man in touch with the problems of the 21st Century”.
Wilson is also not the first person to take over the role of Captain America from Rogers. The Winter Soldier James “Bucky” Barnes had also previously stepped into his shoes.
This is also not the first time Marvel has strived to be diverse either. Pakistani-American student Kamala Khan was given the honor of being the first Muslim Ms. Marvel. The first Black-Hispanic Spider-Man as depicted in ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ was also well-received by the fans.
However, it doesn’t appear as though these character changes will translate to their blockbuster counterparts. In the upcoming ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, Captain America is still portrayed by actor Chris Evans and Thor by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.
One must acknowledge these praise-worthy moves by Marvel to attract new audiences, outside their usual comic-book fan base.