In conjunction with Black History Month, Somos Arte, a Brooklyn based studio has teamed with Marvel Comics to celebrate literal superheroes who are also African-American for an exhibition in Midtown. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
A new Manhattan exhibit is celebrating six of Marvel Comics' most popular superhero characters in honor of Black History Month."Marvelous Color,” presented by Somos Arte at the Caribbean Cultural Center in Midtown, features classic African-American comic book characters like The Black Panther, Storm from "The X-Men," Harlem crimefighter Luke Cage, vampire-slayer Blade and James Rhodes, who has been both "Iron Man" and "War Machine." The comic book pages on display show interpretations from artists from different generations.
The exhibit's curator, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, says the Marvel characters have served as an inspiration for decades.
"This is definitely an inspiration for many generations of young people and adults to this day, because these characters have been around for over 40 years, so they have inspired and influenced a lot of people of all backgrounds,” Miranda-Rodriguez said. "Many of these characters have been translated into not only comic books, but film, television, video games, toys." Artist Shawn Martinbrough has given superhero Luke Cage a new look called "Luke Cage Noir," moving the story from the 1970s to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.
"Representation is always great, it is always inspiring," says Martinbrough. "It is always great to see someone who looks like you being able to do fantastic things, being able to be a hero."
Comic book artist Dennis Calero, who is of Latino descent, has contributed his take on Blade, which uses the cover of an old "Tomb Of Dracula" comic as his inspiration.
"It was nice every once in a while to see a character that was not a white, Anglo-Saxon type of character and marvel knew that I was out there," says Calero.
Not only do the comic book characters themselves inspire, but the people that draw them have also been role models. "People don't know who the people are who draw and write these books for the most part, so a lot of times if I go to a signing or if I do an interview and sometimes they say, 'Oh my god, you're black. I've been following your work for years,'" says Martinbrough. "And that will inspire people to say, 'I can do this too.'"
"Being of Latino heritage, it's always important to me that Marvel has characters that are of various, different backgrounds so that everyone can feel included," says Calero.
The exhibit has a "Family Day" this weekend and a "Meet The Artists" night next week.
"Marvelous Color" can be seen through February 26 at the Caribbean Cultural Center, which is located at 508 West 58th Street. For more information on the exhibit, go to MarvelousColor.com.