In Case You Didn’t Know: Black Superhero Firsts On TV

superhero misty knight
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 21: Simone Missick attends the ‘Luke Cage’ Season 2 premiere at The Edison Ballroom on June 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/FilmMagic)
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Antman and The Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters today and MCU fans have been eager for it. The movie comes after the franchise released its most recent box office hit, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever featuring an all-female lead cast. With all the superhero conversations happening, the question of who the first Black superheroes were on TV might come up. As always, we’ve got you with this week’s In Case You Didn’t Know.

First Male Black Superhero On TV

We got our first introduction to Black superheroes on the small screen with M.A.N.T.I.S. The character, played by Carl Lumbly, was the first ever black superhero on television. The short-lived series only lasted for one season between August 1994 and March 1995.

The show followed Dr. Miles Hawkins. He was a scientist who was shot in the spine by a police sniper during a riot while trying to rescue a child. Subsequently, he became paralyzed from the waist down.

After discovering conspiracies in the police department, he decides to pursue justice his own way. Using resources from his company, he invented an exoskeleton called The M.A.N.T.I.S in order to fight crime. The invention was completed with bulletproof black body armor. The exoskeleton not only enables him to walk while wearing it but also gives him superhuman strength, speed, and agility. He is also able to fire nonlethal paralysis darts from his wrists.

First Black Female

The first Black female superhero on TV came much after M.A.N.T.I.S. Meet Misty Knight. She is a character in Netflix’s Luke Cage and was introduced to us on our television screens 22 years after M.A.N.T.I.S., in 2016. Actress Simone Missick plays the star.

Knight is an officer with the New York City Police Department. While fighting on the job, she lost her right arm and it was replaced with a bionic arm. She later worked with Luke Cage to fight off crime in NYC.