The Black Electrician
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Throughout comic book history, several black superheroes have been introduced who possess similar electromagnetic abilities. Such heroes include DC Comics' Black Lightning, Lightning, Static, Thunder Fall, and Black Vulcan. Marvel has featured heroes such as the X-Men's Storm who can control lightning.
Here’s a list of major Black superheroes who have primary or secondary electrical powers, or whose name/heroic identity ties into such somehow. This is both going off the top of my head and checking sites like Wikipedia and TV Tropes.
Lightning, Black Lightning’s daughter
Black Vulcan (“Super Friends”)
Juice (“Justice League Unlimited”)
Soul Power (from “Static Shock”)
Sparky (“Static Shock,” Soul Power’s sidekick)
Bumblebee (“Teen Titans”; her suit lets her fire electrical “stings”)
Spider-Man (Miles Morales) (has a bio-electric “venom strike” power)
Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) (has an electric eel-like bio-electric power)
Jakeem Thunder (no powers, but could command the magical genie-like Thunderbolt)
Electro (“Amazing Spider-Man 2”) (a supervillain, but I’m listing him anyway)
Lightning Lad (from the 2019 Legion of Super-Heroes reboot)
Lightning Lass (from the 2019 Legion of Super-Heroes reboot; the twin sister of Lightning Lad)
Electricity/electromagnetism is a frequently used superpower in superhero stories, so this might be another factor. There’s plenty of electrical-themed superheroes, from Lightning Lad and Lass of the Legion of Super-Heroes to Marvel’s Thor.
The advantages of electricity/electromagnetism:
It’s a very flexible power, especially combined with the equally flexible nature of comic book physics.
It looks flashy and impressive on the comics page, as well as in movies and TV shows. And for the latter, it’s likely also an easy/affordable special effect.
It’s a powerful, well, power. Sure, Superman (well, most versions) can shrug off lightning, but generally, electrically-powered heroes are considered among the more powerful superheroes for a reason.
Overall, there’s a very large number of Black superheroes with electrical powers. The reasons I can gather for this are: Black Lightning’s a popular and influential early Black superhero, spawning many pastiches; electricity is a popular, versatile and impressive superpower; and possibly also the popularity of Storm and Static.
What I find interesting in all of this is that a majority of heroes we commonly know tend to be based on past mythological heroes like Hercules, Thor, Wonder Woman and the Amazonians etc. which is a shame the major companies have missed out on an a large source since most of African stories tend to lend themselves to teach and explain the world we live in.
As for whether increased awareness of this tendency will change anything in superhero stories, it’s hard to say. Still, the popularity of Black electrical superheroes like Black Lightning, Storm, and Static doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon.