Superheroes and race have been a hot topic the last few years, as the comic book industry has strived for greater diversity in its characters. Well, that discussion is about to enter a bold new chapter, as it's being rumored that DC Comics is about to introduce a a Black Batman into the franchise!
The new rumor states that in summer 2020 up through 2021, DC Comics will introduce a Black Batman character into the DC Universe. As reported by Bleeding Cool:
"DC Comics is planning to bring us a black Batman. Not Bruce Wayne, but someone else donning the cowl and cape. Who this new Batman will be, I don't know. All I have been told is that it won't be Duke Thomas, the young man previously teased as taking on the role of Robin and Batman to come."
That's not a lot of information to work on, though BC notes that there are several likely possibilities for how this will go down:
- Batwing - Both David Zavimbe and Luke Fox have worn the Batwing mantle - and both men would arguably be contenders to take on the full mantle of Batman.
- Black Lightning - Batman and Black Lightning have been working together on The Outsiders team. If there's a need for someone to simply fill-in for an absent Batman, Black Lightning has the experience and connections to do it.
There is, of course, always the possibility that DC will introduce a new character who will end up being the Black Batman. It's a move that DC Comics has made before: in 1992 the publisher introduced the character of Azrael into the Batman mythos, as the assassin agent of a pious and violent religious cult; one year later, Azrael stepped into the Batman mantle full-time, after Bruce Wayne's back was broken by Bane.
That's all to say: with a runway of summer 2020 until 2021, DC has plenty of time to introduce a new character and give him a story that allows fans to really get to know him, before seeing him step up to take on the Batman mantle.
As should be expected, this change will no doubt spark the usual (and tired) debate about whether or not changing an established character's race is the way to go, or whether or not expanded diversity means creating new characters of different ethnic backgrounds. DC could arguably walk the tightrope down the middle, if it indeed creates a new black character, but gives him a familiar mantle to inhabit.
We'll keep you updated on the status of DC's Black Batman plans.