2017 New York Comic Con - Day 2
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Non-DC/Marvel Comics: 15 Black Superheroes You Should Know

For those anxious to see Black Panther, here are a few black superheroes who might not be in a movie anytime soon but you should meet anyway.

When asked to name black superheroes, you'll probably refer to the core four: Luke Cage, Storm, Blade and now Ryan Coogler's reboot of the Black Panther. But the world of superheroes is far more diverse than is reflected by mainstream media. As you may have guessed, a lot of these superheroes are just under the radar and not televised. Black superheroes go back a long way.

As many of the issues plaguing black people are structural and more complex than a simple plot could cater to, visual stories have helped to give out a message and entertain at the same time.

The first black superhero, Lothar, an African would-have-been prince, was actually introduced in 1934. It wasn't said overtly but the implication is that he was a slave to Mandrake. Later, the character was revamped as an equal. In fact, a lot of black comic books included slavery as a contrasting point for progress. Using political discourse to drive the narratives, authors drew and continue to draw from their environments.

For those anxious to see Black Panther, here are a few black superheroes who might not be in a new movie anytime soon but you should meet anyway.

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1. Spawn

Powers/Abilities: Regeneration, shape-shifting, super strength

In Volume 1 of Spawn (1992), Albert Simmons is introduced as the world’s greatest soldier and assassin, escaping deathly battles unscathed and eliminating targets without a trace. He was even called on to protect the president from outside forces and after his success, he proudly joined the U.S. Task Force. As it turns out, Al knew too many government evils and secrets so he was killed—sent to Hell to burn eternally for the assassinations of innocent people. He trades his soul with an evil force in exchange for the freedom to see his wife on Earth again. The demon he makes the deal with disfigures his body so when he returns to Earth, an anti-hero, he fights on the side of humans.

Todd McFarlane, who worked on The Amazing Spider-Man and the original Spawn, is expected to bring Spawn to television again.

2. Bulletproof

Powers/Abilities: Damage resistance, pain suppression

The superhero was born Zandale Randolph, identical twin to Tyrone Randolph. As the point of display for Tyrone's scientific abilities, Zandale was given superpowers. Tyrone was enamored with super dominion so he conducted a project in which he could impart them to someone with his DNA. Zandale was the test subject, but in the process, Tyrone was killed. His brother then adopts the name Bulletproof and takes on a duty to the people after learning to hone his powers. Bulletproof was first seen standing in for Invincible in the comic book after the same name.

3. Marsha Bradley

Powers/Abilities: Harnessing electrostatic energy

When the world was under attack, Marsha Bradley rose to the task, using her ability to manipulate electric currents and emit energy for protection. Her mother, Rapture, was killed when she was just a child and she lived with her father. Shortly after, she loses her father to the fire lords. They then attempted to kill Marsha but Malcolm, the Savage Dragon came to her rescue.

Initially, she thought him to be a villain but Malcolm, her half-brother, confessed this detail to her. Once the two learned that they were allies, they were able to defeat the fire lords and return home. Later, she met Thunder Head, another black superhero. They all battled together to defeat Mr. Glum, a well-known terror to the city.

4. Lothar

Powers/Abilities: Super stamina, super strength, manmade weapon resistant

The hero first appeared alongside Mandrake the Magician in 1934, fitting the description of a manservant and some even went as far as calling him a slave. He wore small shorts, leopard skin and a red fez. Initially, Lothar’s dialog was minimal and if there was any, it was unintelligible. He was brawny and couldn’t speak English well, fitting the Mandingo stereotype. His loyalty was one of subservience as he was the “Prince of Seven Nations” in Africa but he opted, instead, to travel with Mandrake and fight evil (or whatever Mandrake told him was evil). In 1965, Lothar was reinvented by Fred Fredericks and made to be equal.

5. Lady Sentinel

Powers/Abilities: Supreme technological proficiency

Lady Sentinel appears in the comic book, Youngblood. She’s the sister of the tech wiz, Sentinel, and has similar abilities. She crafted her own exoskeleton and, in the comic book, is recognized by Obama’s administration. She joins the campaign trail to contribute to the administration’s appeal and protection.

6. Michonne

Powers/Abilities: Sword fighting, fencing

You may recognize this character from the television show The Walking Dead. The show is actually based on the 2005 comic book. Michonne fenced as a hobby as a child but when the undead return, she revisits the sword to cut the jaws and limbs off of her boyfriend and his friend after they’re infected. To ward off any other zombies, she drags them around in chains. After fleeing to safety and watching a new boyfriend get murdered by a governor, Michonne relocates to a territory where there is no undead.

7. Elijah Jones

Powers/Abilities: Armed combat

In line with Michonne, Elijah Jones is a former slave with remaining anger. He channels that anger to battle the undead that seems to be crawling from all four corners. Elijah is representative of the surreality of immediate immersion after sustained trauma. In many ways, those "undead" are symbols of the demons or memories that remain in the subconscious after the conditions of slavery.

8. Ebon

Powers/Abilities: Super strength, super speed, flight

Valentine Jones is the descendant of Jom, a man who came to live amongst earthlings generations before him. His ancestor came to Earth to look after mankind eons earlier but died around the time that they “learned” war. Valentine felt lost after the death of his mother but Oju, a black man from another planet, tells Valentine that he is the ancestor of Jom and gives him access to his powers that are similar to Superman’s own. Valentine rechristens himself "Ebon" and continues the work of his ancestor. Ebon is considered the first independent black superhero and was the first comic book to be written by an all-black team.

9. Megaton

Powers/Abilities: Recuperative powers, super stamina, superhuman strength

Megaton is the namesake comic book of the Megaton Comics company. The main character, Matthew Scott, was born with myriad irregularities including two hearts and a hyperactive circulatory system, though they never posed any health risks. He toured with circuses and spent most of his childhood performing. But his hearts began to beat out of sync. A scientist proposed to help him and others like him and when he was the only subject to come out of the experiment alive, he became a superhero.

10. Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline

Powers/Abilities: Street fighting skills, thorough knowledge of law

Antonio Valor follows in the footsteps of his father. Presented with opportunities to navigate the political system, he opts instead to protect the world by his own hands. Valor decides against monetary rewards for the sake of the greater good. His powers aren’t supernatural but they are necessary. Brotherman Comics artwork and memorabilia are on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. His character was meant to promote knowledge as a strategy for protection.

11. Icon

Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, unlimited stamina

Icon’s alien ship crash-landed on Earth during American slavery on a cotton plantation. Alien in form, his life pod duplicated the DNA of the closest lifeform, the woman who’d become his Earth mother. He grew to love her and his siblings. Because he was young when he arrived, he was not entirely cognizant of his powers but when he learned that he had them, he used them to lighten the loads of the slaves.

Icon is immortal and has lived through all of the major American events such as the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Harlem Renaissance. He was active in them all. He acquired wealth and grew distant from society, watching his loved ones die off but amid the Harlem Renaissance, he fell in love with Estelle Jackson, another superhero, and had a child. As a superhero, his duty was to protect the rights and safety of blacks.

12. Rapture

Powers/Abilities: Harnessing electrostatic energy

Sharona Jones was a normal woman, kidnapped by Dr. Nirvana, who was trying to create superpowers similar to those possessed by Mighty Man and used the homeless as guinea pigs. All of the test subjects died, but Sharona lived. And the experiment, instead, left Nirvana in critical condition. She became Rapture and her power was generating electricity. She later joined the police force.

13. Spirit

Powers/Abilities: Flight, martial arts, astral projection

Hey Everyone! I want to say from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for supporting my comic book. I recently introduce my comic book character “Spirit” the first female Haitian superhero. I am blessed to have made it this far. To everyone who has been asking how to purchase a book. Please click on the link in my bio. Much Love thanks #RedBand #SpiritBoy #Haiti #Haitian #spiritsdestinycomics #comics #comicbooks #animation #blacksuperhero #comic #comicbooks #comicarts #comicpanel #sequentialart #spiritsdestiny #spiritsdestinycomics #superhero #superheroes #superherione #superheroine #blacksuperhero #blacksuperheroes #comicfan #comicbookfan #haitiansuperhero #indiecomics #toonboom #cartoons #2danimation #haitian #haitiansuperhero #haitiansuperheroine #ShortFuseRedBand

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Destiny Mitsu Jean is just another troubled teen to the rest of the world. She's distant and can be lethargic but it's all a response to childhood abuse. She withholds the information from her mother and grandmother for a long time but she tells them, eventually. She's close to her grandmother, the matriarch, but her relationship with her mother is cleaved. Still, Destiny's mother, a Navy SEAL, nearly beat them to death, and her grandmother cast a spell on them. On an unsupervised and forbidden trip to her mother's lab, Destiny has an accident and chemicals leave her altered irreversibly. Grateful for having lived and now able to communicate with the spirit realm, she uses that connection to rid her community of injustice.

14. June X11

Powers/Abilities: Teleportation, telepathy, super strength, invisibility

June doesn’t have any true origin story. All people know is that he’s from Nigeria. His only mission is to bring peace wherever there is turmoil. Not exactly defined as a superhero, he’s on a continued quest for equality and brings about justice when he finds that it's disrupted. The hero's theme of unity is very likely borrowed from the June 12 election of President MKO Abiola in Nigeria. For the first time in a decade, the people voted together, no matter their region and no matter their tribe, to protest the lengthy military coup. June XII is a reminder that the country is a democracy. For that reason, the hero is, himself, a physical manifestation of Justice.

15. Wise Son

Powers/Abilities: Super intelligence, injury resistance

As a member of the Blood Syndicate of Dakota City, Wise Son planned to meet with fellow gang members and opposition for a final war called the “Big Bang,” but police came to stop the battle before it could begin. Gangs were sprayed with a tear gas made with Quantum Juice, killing many and giving powers to the surviving few. Wise Son went down almost immediately but when he woke up, he saw and heard the cops so he ran. Eventually, he bumped into those cops and thought that was it. But their van blew up and he found himself underneath it, unharmed. He then realized that he was indestructible and decided to count his blessings and protect the city. Eventually, he partners with Icon.

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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A look back at the collaborator's up and down relationship.
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Remember The Time: 10 Times Drake And Kanye West Were Stronger Together

Kanye West and Drake aren’t exactly in the best place at the moment. West’s Dec. 13 Twitter rant detailed their issues, in which he accuses Drake of “sneak dissing” and threatening him.

“You sneak dissing on [Travis Scott] records and texting Kris [Jenner] talking about how’s the family.” he wrote among many other tweets and allegations against the Scorpion MC.

While this is a bump in the road, the two haven’t always been enemies. Despite the shenanigans surrounding them, Kanye West and Drake have had a very fruitful relationship. All drama aside, the duo have created many memorable moments in hip-hop and pop culture. They’ve written and recorded some incredible songs and shared countless stages during concerts and tours.

To abstain from dwelling on the negativity, VIBE has collected a list of moments taking you through the high points in the rappers’ relationship. Check it out below.

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Drake's Freestyles Over Many Beats By 'Ye

Before he was one of the most sought-after rappers in the world, Drizzy has looked up to Kanye West and sampled his work. For “Say What’s Real,” a single off his mixtape So Far Gone, the “In My Feelings” MC sampled Yeezy’s “Say You Will” off of his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. The admiration continued throughout the years, resulting in more freestyles over songs like “Swagga Like Us” and “Barry Bonds.” Both tracks feature beats created by the Chi-town native. 

‘Thank Me Later’ Proves Their Shared Power 

After meeting in 2009, the duo came together to bring Drake's Thank Me Later album to the next level. They collaborated on two tracks- the futuristic love songs “Show Me A Good Time,” and “Find Your Love.” With West holding down production, deep-pocketed 808’s and table-top scratch sounds were highlighted. The accolades for the latter song resulted in the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as they created their own lane.

Drake Calls Kanye “The Most Influential Person”

In a 2009 interview, the then-industry rookie had some nice words for West. Speaking specifically about the 41-year-old’s 808’s and Heartbreak album, the Toronto rapper described ‘Ye as "the most influential person” who was important to young emcees in the game.

"Before I ever got the chance to meet him, Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes," Drake said. He knows how to utilize great sounds and great music. So before I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I'd even go as far as to say he's the most influential person as far as a musician that I'd ever had in my life."

Their Collaborations On Wax 

The pair has been making music together for nearly 10 years, with some standout tracks including “Forever,” the remix to “All Of The Lights,” and “Pop Style.” On their 2017 song “Glow” off of Drake’s playlist More Life, both rappers discuss their growing, limitless success. West was rumored to initially appear on Drizzy’s smash-hit “Nice For What.” He reportedly had a verse on the critically-acclaimed track until the beef between Drake and his G.O.O.D. Music cohort Pusha T became lethal.

The Joint Mixtape That Never Happened

Drake and Kanye are no strangers when it comes to making joint albums with other artists. Drake worked with Future on the platinum-selling album What A Time To Be Alive, while Kanye released Watch The Throne with JAY-Z to critical acclaim. However, it has been hinted for the longest time that the two were working on a full-length album of their own.

Kanye confirmed the plan to release an album with Drake to Vogue in 2016, shortly after hinting at a joint project during OVO Fest. The Take Care rapper co-signed the announcement, saying "What my brother was asking before was, are you ready if we make an album?"

Drake Writing For Kanye’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’

Drake wrote a song for Kanye’s 2016 effort, The Life of Pablo. The Canadian hip-hop star helped pen the Isaac Hayes and Nelly-sampled “30 Hours.” Drizzy was also reportedly on the original, unreleased version of Pablo’s “Wolves,” which featured Icelandic artist Bjork (the album version features Vic Mensa and Sia).

The Duo Become Friendly, Competitive Neighbors

By the time of their initial meeting in 2009, Kanye already clocked in nearly a decade of music industry knowledge, and Drake was making the transition from teen TV star to full-time rapper. But who would have thought the duo would have eventually become actual neighbors?

Drake eventually moved to Calabasas, Calif.- a neighborhood in Los Angeles many celebrities call home- around the same time West began publicly dating his now-wife, Kim Kardashian. In the 2016 bop “Summer Sixteen,” Drizzy jokes, “Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye / And look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine's just bigger's what I’m saying.”

 

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There goes the neighborhood

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Kanye Supports OVO Fest

Drake created a hip-hop festival called OVO Fest in 2010. Not only does it feature notable acts in urban music, but it also gave a platform to upcoming artists from Canada who might not have gotten a platform back home. Kanye West was one of the first supports of the music event, performing at three of the festivals.

He also admitted that Drake inspired him and JAY-Z to record Watch The Throne during 2013’s OVO Fest, stating, "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this ni**a wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects.”

Kanye Apologizes To Drake Over G.O.O.D. Music Album Rollouts

Earlier this fall, Kanye West apologized to Drake in a series of tweets for planning the rollout of albums by artists under his G.O.O.D music roster around the proposed release of Scorpion.

In one of the tweets, Kanye wrote “Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place. We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.” In another tweet, ‘Ye revealed that he never listened to the diss tracks between him and Pusha, and didn’t have conversations regarding Drake’s child with him.

Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place … We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.

— ye (@kanyewest) September 5, 2018

They Shared Laughs Over Meek Mill Memes

Drake and Meek Mill were in an infamous feud back in 2015. After performing his diss track aimed at Meek- "Back to Back”- at the 2015 OVO Fest, Drizzy, Kanye, and Will Smith enjoyed a laugh over the countless memes mocking the Philly MC.

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VIBE / Nick Rice

Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

What a year 2018 has been for music lovers.

Listeners enjoyed a buffet of diverse melodies, savoring in the choice of curating the tunes they craved as opposed to consuming more than they can digest. Rumored albums from veterans like Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V and The Carters' first joint project battled its way to the top of our personal charts alongside music's innovators like Noname, The Internet, Buddy, and Janelle Monae.

Within that aforementioned list of artists, a new generation of lyricists and vocalists found their footing with fans and critics alike. The rising crop of talent released projects that should motivate each of them to carve out space for forthcoming awards. While we took into account the albums released from Dec. 1, 2017 to Nov. 20, 2018, that moved us emotionally, we also checked off a list of requirements like replay value, overall production, critical reception, and cultural impact.

Here are the 30 albums (in alphabetical order, not ranked), that instilled pride in our culture, made us take a look within, and encouraged us to appreciate music all over again.

READ MORE: 25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

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