Next Superman to be black?
With the news that DC and Warner Bros want to cast a black actor as not only Superman but as Kal-El in a new upcoming movie a lot of fans have been left a bit confused as why, when the DCEU is already very unconnected and “elseworlds”, do we need to a character who has always been portrayed as a white Kryptonian and make him a different race? There are youtube channels dedicated to this, along with many many forums and opinions from every side.
Is this controversial? Well we’re not judging (but we DO want Man Of Steel 2 with Cavill BEFORE they re cast Kal-El no matter which direction they go in)
So who are the alternatives that they could consider?
We’ve compiled a list below of existing Super Men that have featured in comics that DC and WB could have possibly considered, and could still possibly consider as the first black live action Superman.
Calvin Ellis is from Earth 23 in the DC Multiverse, his Kryptonian name is actually Kalel (which is why he tops our list as he’s A Kalel without being a Kal-El). Born to Jorel and Lara on Vathlo Island on Krypton Kalel was sent to Earth to escape Krypton’s destruction (seem familiar?) and was found by the very kind natured but very poor Ellis family, he was named Calvin.
Interesting fact about Calvin is he is based on Barack Obama, as once, before being elected, Barak once joked on TV that he was sent to Earth from Krypton by his father Jor-El”. During his first appearance in comics during Final Crisis #7 he had no name and people assumed he was just Barak, then in Action Comics #9 (New 52 era) he was given his name.
On Earth 23 Calvin is actually the President of the United states and uses Brainiac as his computer and still acts as Superman whilst being covered for by Brainiac.
Val-Zod exists on Earth 2 in the DC multiverse, he became the last of his family when his parents were executed by the Kryptonian courts, he made friends with fellow orphan Karak Zor-El and was one of only a few children to escape Krypton thanks to the original Superman’s parents, Jor-El and Lara. He learned via his parents knowledge during his journey to Earth and was taught the violence was the stupidest way to resolve conflict, He learnt at this time to become a pacifist.
When he reached Earth he was offered asylum by Terry Sloan whilst actually capturing him and during this time he helped Sloan create the firepits (An entire Apokolips/Darkseid thing for another time).
One major issue Val-Zod had to overcome was his Agoraphobia which had manifested from his time not only in the pod from Krypton but also from his incarceration by Sloan. When he was found by the Wonders who were searching for the Alien to assist in fighting a brainwashed Kal-El. Whilst Lois was teaching him it's OK to be afraid and how to use his powers, Superman (Kal-El) attacks with an army of Parademons. This led to his first big fight with Superman, who he defeated and then he descended into the fire pits to defeat more powerful foes. This is an epic story that needs an entire article to explain.
Val-Zod was the second person to carry the mantle Superman.
Steel (John Henry Irons):
Doctor John Henry Irons was an inventor and weapons engineer for AmerTek Industries. He created a device, the BG-60 portable energy canon which fell into the wrong hands and was used to kill a lot of innocent people, AmerTek were attempting to coerce him to retain his service after this incident which shocked him that he may have played a part, so he faked his death and went to Metropolis where Superman ended up saving his life, John asked how he could repay Superman and he replied “live a life worth saving”.
During Superman’s fight with Doomsday during the Death of Superman arc, John attempted to assist Superman by picking up a sledgehammer but got buried in rubble and trapped. He awoke after Superman's death saying “gotta stop doomsday”
He recovered but the found the gangs of Metropolis were fighting in the power vacuum using BG-80 canons, upgraded versions of the canon he was working on for AmerTek, he created and donned a suit of powered armour in the memory of Superman to stop the gang wars AND to remove the weapons he helped create from the streets.
During the “Regin of the Supermen” storyline where four new heroes appeared to take up the name Superman after his death, each took on one of Kal-El’s nicknames and Henry became “the man of steel” in his armour, this was later shortened to just “Steel” by Superman himself.
Steel/John Henry Irons was such a popular character that he even gained his own comic series.
He is the only one in this list that is human and not an actual Kryptonian.