Minorities in cartoons: Tyroc

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #216
“Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes” #216 (April 1976). Art by Mike Grell.

This week’s entry is Tyroc, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Tyroc (real name Troy Stewart) was created by Mike Grell and Cary Bates. He first appeared in “Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes” #216 in 1976.

Background

Troy’s backstory consisted of his coming from a “Brigadoon”-like island off the African coast that appeared in Earth’s dimension once every number of years. The island’s people were the descendants of former African slaves. A technologically advanced island, its people decided to name Troy (as the only one with superpowers) as their champion. The people (including Troy) disliked outsiders, and accused Earth of ignoring their plight.

After an adventure with the Legion, Troy and the Legion both came to respect each other. Troy was offered membership. After resisting for a few issues, Troy eventually joined the team, taking “Tyroc” as a codename.

Tyroc stuck around off and on in Legion stories over the years, mostly as a secondary team member. He also became president of Earth at one point. After 1994’s “Zero Hour” storyline, Troy was apparently wiped from continuity for awhile.

Recently, the original Legion continuity’s basically returned. As such, Tyroc’s a Legionnaire once more.

Powers

Tyroc’s powers include the ability to generate reality-altering effects (teleportation, telekinesis, forcefields, destructive forces, etc.) all by… screaming. Just like Black Canary’s “canary cry,” only even more powerful. He also uses different screams to achieve the above-mentioned different effects.

Legion artist Mike Grell and Legion scribe Paul Levitz both disliked Tyroc. Grell felt he came off both as a bad stereotype of Black people (per his backstory) and had a dumb superpower. Levitz avoided using Troy, feeling sound-power-based heroes didn’t work in comics very well.

(Updated 11/14/16)

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I'm Anthony, the owner of Diverse Tech Geek.