Minorities in cartoons: Black Vulcan

Black VulcanThis week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Black Vulcan, an African-American superhero who appeared in the classic 70s/80s series “The Super Friends.”

Background

Black Vulcan was created as a pastiche of then-recently-created DC Comics superhero Black Lightning. Supposedly, various rights issues prevented Black Lightning’s appearance in spin-off media.

Like, well, plenty of other African-American superheroes, Black Vulcan’s powers were electricity-themed. Said powers were often vaguely defined, per being the “Super Friends.” Black Vulcan’s powers included:

  • Generating lightning bolts from his hands.
  • Using his lightning bolts to tie villains up.
  • Flying through the air (or outer space) via turning the lower half of his body into a lightning bolt.
  • The impressive feat of traveling through time under his own power. That’s a feat only matched by Superman and the Flash (via their super-speed).

Black Vulcan wasn’t the only African-American recurring character on the “Super Friends.” Others included Aquaman villain Black Manta and late-season Super Friends member Cyborg (of Teen Titans fame). The 2000s “DC Super Friends” comic also featured Green Lantern John Stewart as a member.

Vulcan was created along with several other minority superheroes to add diversity to the otherwise-all-Caucasian core group of Super Friends. None of these characters made it into the comics. However, the comics introduced similarly diverse heroes, as part of the globe-spanning superhero team the “Global Guardians.”

Unlike Storm (Ororo Munroe), Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce), and Static (Virgil Hawkins), Black Vulcan doesn’t have a real name or an origin story!

Other media

Post-“Super Friends,” Black Vulcan’s turned up several times on the Adult Swim series “Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law.” There, he’s parodied like the other old-time Hanna-Barbera characters. One episode made fun of his name; Vulcan claims the name (and its attention called to his race) wasn’t his idea, but Aquaman’s.

Other than such parodies, however, Black Vulcan’s generally gone unused since the “Super Friends” left the air. Most spin-off media favor using Static and (lately) Black Lightning, when an African-American hero-with-electrical-powers is desired.

Voice actors

Buster Jones voiced Black Vulcan during the “Super Friends” run.

On “Harvey Birdman,” Phil LaMarr voiced Black Vulcan. LaMarr also voiced Static in that hero’s TV series.

(Updated 11/16/16)

9 comments

  1. Hi I’m JarrietFair black Vulcan was and still my favorite super hero. I just got my black Vulcan costume made this year. I made it in honor of buster Jones.

  2. Hello my name is JarrietFair. I just wanted to say that I wish black Vulcan could have his own action t.v. series. Or his own comic book. Because black lightning has his own comic book. I think that’s channel 5, cw should make a pilot series for black Vulcan. I only wish and hope they take that in consideration.

  3. Hi I’m Jarriet. I just don’t understand why other super heroes have there own action t.v.series for example the arrow and flash got there own t.v. series. And before that smallville Clark Kent. Later that’s when they show aquaman bart kid flash & cyborg Victor stone and green arrow Justin Harley. So my point is this! What not give black Vulcan a chance. That’s all I’m saying my brother. Let me know what you think peace.

  4. I just made me my black Vulcan t shirt and poster of me being black Vulcan in costume. To remind people that black Vulcan wss not just a super hero. He was like all the others. But black Vulcan was never prejudice. And off the record aquaman did not give him that name and black Vulcan did not call aquaman white fish. I wish people would stop making racist comic remarks and jokes about black super heroes. I mean seriously.

  5. Hi I’m JarrietFair aka black Vulcan. I am so excited about being the black Vulcan super hero for Halloween night. And Sunday I’m going to comic con in los Angeles ca. Next week I’m going to Hollywood as black Vulcan with Hollywood superman.

  6. Hello I’m Jarriet aka black Vulcan. I just had a great time on Halloween night wearing my costume as black Vulcan. I had lots of people wanting to take pictures with me. Women whistling at me. Saying that they love black Vulcan. Some people thought I was the flash. What? I. Guess some people don’t remember the black Vulcan. How sad. But I was glad to explain and educate them on my super hero cartoon character. This is why DC comics should put black Vulcan in the comic books. I’m just glad people love me as black Vulcan. Black Vulcan has spoken peace.

  7. Hi I’m jarriet aka Black Vulcan. Two weeks ago I went to the long beach comic Con expo in my costume cosplay as the Black Vulcan with my friend Justin Harrison aka Superman together. I had so much fun at comic Con. Everyone asked to take pictures with me and of me and Superman together. No one has ever seen Black Vulcan in a comic Con in Long Beach CA. And in two more weeks with be going to comic Con expo in Los Angeles CA on the 28 & 29& of October as Black Vulcan. It’s so nice to meet other super heroes and fans of love me as Black Vulcan super hero.

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