Super Black: American pop culture and black superheroes

Discussion & book signing with Dr. Adilifu Nama

In celebration of Free Comic Book Day, an annual event held the first Saturday in May throughout the United States, Dr. Adilifu Nama, who is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University, will discuss and sign copies of his book, Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes. In the first comprehensive study of black superheroes in mainstream comics, film, and television, the author finds new avenues for exploring racial identity. Dr. Nama contends that black superheroes have, in fact, “provided an escape from conventional representations of black racial identity,” and “have offered a galactic vision of blackness, often as Afro-diasporic figures that fuse the shiny tomorrowland of time travel, interdimensional realities, rocket ships, black mysticism, extraterrestrial beings, light speed, experimental technoculture, and cybertronic robots with the self-esteem politics of ‘black is beautiful.’ In doing so, black superheroes offer some of the most stimulating and ideologically provocative representations of blackness ever imagined.”
Drawing fascinating parallels between comic characters and trends in American politics and pop culture, Dr. Nama concludes that the imaginary black superhero has come to life in the form of President Barack Obama. The acclaimed photorealist comic-illustrator, Alex Ross, secured Obama’s superhero credentials for pop culture aficionados by creating the image of Super “O,” with Obama ripping his shirt open like Superman to reveal an “O” emblazoned on his shirt, an image that, according to Dr. Nama, “clearly defined him as a black superhero preparing to save America.”
The program is free of charge and open to the public; light refreshments will be served.
For further information, contact the Allendale Branch Library at (626) 744-7260 or visit More details are also available at the Allendale Branch Library Facebook page:
Date & Time: Saturday, May 4, 2013, 2:00 p.m. Location: Allendale Branch Library Address: 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106 Information: (626) 744-7260 or visit
Black Goliath 1976


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