What If Only Black People Could Get Superpowers?

What If Only Black People Could Get Superpowers?
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A young black person gets shot by police. This time, he gets up, discovering that he’s more powerful than he ever could have imagined.

Cover Art for BLACK #1, by Khary Randolph

Created by Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, and Khary Randolph, BLACK — which took Kickstarter by storm earlier this year, and is now being published by Black Mask Studios — follows Kareem Jenkins, a young African-American who discovers that he has superpowers — in a world where only black people can get them. We’re excited to bring you this exclusive preview.

In a time when the African-American community’s fraught relationship with the police is making headlines across the world, BLACK is shaping up to be a superhero comic ripped right out of some of modern America’s biggest social issues. Here are the first five pages of the comic.


  • This reminds me of that old Arthur C Clarke short story about aliens coming back to Earth to rescue a colony they had to abandon. They had to abandon the colony because of a plague that disfigured the infected – they didn’t want the plague spreading to other worlds. But now they know how to defeat the plague and innoculate against it. The last line of the story is: “If any of you are still white, we can cure you.”

  • so police shoot people with magical bullets? also what kind of clickbaity title is that? cmon kotaku where has your class gone?

    • Same here, I fail to understand why the above commentors are having such a sooky la la about it.

      • Because they are the people who are wrong with the world. Anything that isn’t celebrating white men sees them flip out.

      • Because that is the state of issues in our current environment.

        The vocal minorities tend to generalise in the name of their own agenda, focusing only on the positive while painting the opposition in negative.
        For example, one side likes to call the other SJW’s, yet they themselves are championing their own view of social justice.

        Such practices have one purpose, to ensure issues never reach a conclusion but instead stagnate in idiocy.
        I call it artificial division, the act of creating barriers between people by eroding practical discussion on issues and ensuring that the complex grey areas are avoided.

  • While I see some potential “Shoe on the other foot stories” rising from this, I don’t really see how the concept is really different from any other superhuman story. You have a race who are hated and disliked for being different becoming a race of superhumans who will still be hated and disliked for being different. It’s X-Men but they’re all black people as well as being mutants.

    I’m sure it’s more about the individual stories, but it would grab me more if it were a world-wide extinction event that wiped out almost all white people but didn’t affect those with coloured skin, thus turning the current ethnic minorities on their head.

    • I hope it would be an examination of power structures in society and what it means to truly be empowered, given the background of black disempowerment in America.

    • I imagine there would be a lot more Magnetos and a lot less Xaviers if the mutants had suffered hundreds of years of prejudice and persecution before they got their powers.

      As I see it, the x-men is a case of ‘what happens when some people among equals get given these crazy powers’, whereas this is ‘what happens when the less-than-equals get given powers’. Subtly different, but it’s an interesting idea.

      • Perhaps it is not hundreds of years of persecution, but Erik Lehnsherr grew up Jewish in the midst of Germany’s Nazi reign. He was a holocaust survivor.

  • Would be really interested in reading this. I really loved watching Straight outta Compton and seeing the blatant racism and discrimination the African Americans recieved from Predominantly white US police officers.

  • So it’s the original x-men run, but instead of subtext it’s just text?

    I’ve no idea how this story will play out, but if anyone in the real world got super-powers? Instant celebrity – book deals, interviews, endorsements, the works. Scientists and universities would be lining up to study them, companies and local and national government agencies would be trying to recruit them. The idea that there would be some sort of conspiracy to suppress knowledge of them is ridiculous.

    • Why is that so ridiculous?

      The suppression of information is a constant in this world. Knowledge is power, wasn’t just the MK3 tagline.

  • Have this ongoing discussion with the wife regarding double standards of racism. Today I said there is a new comic that only had white people getting super powered. Her response, “that’s a bit racist”. But when I said it is actually black people, “oh that’s an interesting take on it”…

    • I do think the way we talk about race and whether or not it should be deemed racist is more about the context though. I don’t think this is a case of double standards, given that the majority of superhero characters are white. Placed in that context, as well as the wider social context of racial tensions in America, something like this can be legitimately valuable.

      Granted, if it boils down to, “We’re black, and you’re not, so you suck!” then that’s just racist.

      • Given the only race is human…and skin colour the consequence of who your ancestors slept with…its a display of the ignorance that permeates and divides human civilization. Picking a side isnt the answer. Being right is.

    • I have an ongoing discussion with mine about the double standards of racism, how they are perceived and used.

      What I have noticed is that the most resistance to actual and meaningful discussion, comes with that or the opposing excuse.
      Either side refuses to meet in the middle and instead begins creating phantoms with the express purpose of not having to move toward the middle ground.
      For example, one side will find videos that show white people being racist and perpetuate a stereotype, the other side will find videos of coloured people being racist and perpetuate the double standards.
      This way neither has to make any concessions or face up to the bigger picture.

      Don’t get me wrong, your wife’s view is as common as the opposing. I don’t think it’s wrong or bad that we come to those conclusions.
      But I find it interesting that we ignore complex problems by focusing on the symptoms rather than the cure.

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