Created By: JusticeMan on October 21, 2011 Last Edited By: IchigoMontoya on April 30, 2014

Electric Black Guy

A Black Guy with Electric Powers.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
In 1977, DC Comics revealed their first headlining African-American superhero with Black Lightning. However, due to numerous controversies and licensing disputes, in the many many adaptations of the DCU he has often been used via Captain Ersatz. This eventually developed into a consistent pattern in which Black male superheroes had electricity-themed powers.

Comics

Televison:

  • Black Vulcan from Superfriends, created as an Captain Ersatz of Black Lightling to save on licensing fees.
  • Juice in Justice League Unlimited (whose whole team consists of Expies of the Superfriends).
  • Soul Power, a retro funk character from the Static Shock animated series. He was originally going to be Black Lighting, until lawyers got involved.

Film:

Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • October 21, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    I tried this one years back. Had all but two of the examples you did. They said it wasn't tropeable. Sorry.

    Also, you seem new. Try looking at the formatting guidelines. And (no offense) spell check.
  • October 21, 2011
    TheMysteriousTroper
    Honestly, since Black Lightning himself is a Red Link, I'd just create a page for him from the ground up (check out Hourman or Doctor Fate's source pages for how I did it), and include all this as part of it.
  • October 21, 2011
    dangerwaffle
    Edited the entry for spelling & grammar, hope you don't mind.

    I do think this is tropeable, though. It's common enough to have been lampshaded in Irredeem Able, and The Other Wiki (infamously) used to have a category called "Fictional Black African-American DC Animated Superheroes with the power to manipulate electricity." Seriously, google it. The description should probably note that a lot of times when people say "black superheroes always have electricity powers," they're not realizing how many of them are a Captain Ersatz or deliberate Shout Out to Black Lightning, though.

    Further examples:
    • Rapture from Image Comics, a comparatively rare female example.
    • Jackson Hyde (the new Aqualad, has bioelectric powers in addition to the usual Atlantean powerset)
    • Lightning (Black Lightning's daughter)
    • Sparky (Juice's sidekick)

    Possible examples I'm not completely sure about:
    • Storm (female, African-African rather than African-American, and her power is really weather control - but Shock And Awe is a huge part of her schtick).
    • Jakeem Thunder (DCU. His power involves summoning some kind of thunderbolt genie, or something.)
    • Black Bolt (Marvel. Again, can't remember exactly what his powers are - something to do with controlling electrons? Not sure if it counts.)
  • October 21, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Black Bolt so does not count. Created years earlier, different powers. And he's not even black, racially speaking.
  • October 21, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    I would like to see this launched, though. Especially to validate my earlier efforts. I wouldn't just limit this to African-American characters, but to black characters on a team that's not all black people.

    Black Bolt is not an example. He has sound powers. And he's from the moon.
  • October 21, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I think this is a trope, but I think it might be Too Rare To Trope, in terms of having its own page.
  • October 21, 2011
    troacctid
    I really don't see how this is a trope.
  • October 21, 2011
    Utgardloki
    Would Storm count? Her powers are, of course, weather control instead of being specifically electrically themed, but there does seem to be some sort of archetype here.

    But it might be more worthwhile to look at Black superheroes and how they are portrayed. I don't know if this "more worthwhile" idea is tropable. A Black Superheroes page might be tropable.
  • October 22, 2011
    JusticeMan
    But being Black and a Superhero isnt Tropeable; unless we would take the "Black Hero" types of the 70s and crystilize them into something meaningful. Also lol at Black Bolt.
  • October 22, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Storm is African American. Her mother, N'dare was african, but her father, David Monroe, American.
  • October 22, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    ^^Agreed. "Black superhero" is indeed Not A Trope. This trope, however, is about the bizarre and baffling prevalence of assigning black superheroes electricity-related powers. I think it's a trope.
  • October 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    There may also be a Naming Convention of "Black Something," where the black character has the word "Black" in his Superhero Code Name.
  • October 23, 2011
    Utgardloki
    What about Captain Ethnic? That seems to be what this idea is about.
  • October 23, 2011
    PacificState
    I think this trope needs to be pointed out: it is a rare but interesting phenomenon, from a writer's POV at any rate.
  • October 23, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    It's more an Expy trope. This should probably just be an entry in Fountain Of Expies, since I don't think there are enough to justify a page.
  • October 23, 2011
    troacctid
    ^ That would make much more sense.
  • October 27, 2011
    JusticeMan
    ^^^^This has nothing to do with Captain Ethnic as there's nothing that links being Black to Electricity.
  • October 27, 2011
    foxley
    Black Lightning is not a red link. It just needs to be prefixed by ComicBook/
  • October 29, 2011
    LuxExterior
    Could we call Electro and the Shocker from the Marvel Universe inversions?
  • October 30, 2011
    Ryuuma
    I may sound ignorant or rude, but a single trope dedicated to black characters with Shock And Awe powers that should be already covered by Shock And Awe and Psycho Electro? What next, Eastern Asians with Earth Powers? Hispanics with power over fire? Ice-Manipulating russians? Dunno, is just that this trope sounds a bit much too specific and redundant. Anyway, just to be wide open, I'd say that Kirabi, the Raikage Ei and many ninjas from the Hidden Cloud Village in Naruto count as this, being dark skinned and having electrical powers.
  • December 13, 2011
    JusticeMan
    Well it would be if there weren't a weird association between the two. (Fiery Latina , and Russians Are Cold could both work if we got enough examples) Take a look:http://worldofblackheroes.com/ It's a thing. Just as Psyhco Electro isn't redundant just because we have a page for Shock and Awe and Insanity, this is not redundant.
  • April 30, 2013
    DorianMode
    A lot of these are on the Fountain Of Expies end of things, but many are not; Storm, most prominently. Add in the Hidden Cloud Village examples and things start getting bizarre. It would be nice to have a page to link to when the phenomenon is brought up, which is really the whole point of the website. It would not be the first time a Fountain Of Expies got it's [[darthVaderClone own]] page.

    Here's one more example I don't think's been mentioned yet: The Young Avengers animated movie has one, the son of Black Panther. I believe Storm was implied to be the mother.
  • April 30, 2013
    MonaNaito
    Maybe a page quote or two (from Irredeem Able?) that lampshade this trope would help show people who aren't familiar with the comics in question that this is a persistent trend, not just a random combination of ethnicity and superpower.

    Also, maybe the examples could be divided into two categories; one for Expies and one for non-Expies.
  • May 14, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Added Coldcast and fixed the Irredeemable link. I feel like the person who added it didn't know about brackets and just shoved a capital in there to make it a link.

    Saying this is tropable is... tough. But it's such an oddly prevalent pattern that it deserves some mention on the site.
  • April 30, 2014
    DAN004
    Buuuuuuuump
  • April 30, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    huh. I'm so sure i commented here. was that a different YKTTW?
  • April 30, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ this predates that (Needs A Better Title) one.
  • April 30, 2014
    Earnest
    Here's the more recent one: link.
  • April 30, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I'd argue that this is better developed though.
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