BUMBLEBEE – DC’s First Black Female Superhero Deserves Some Buzz

BUMBLEBEE – DC’s First Black Female Superhero Deserves Some Buzz by E.Winston , May 25th, 2016 at 5:49pm Share on Facebook Share to TwitterSurprisingly, the depiction of black superheroes is now viewed as overdue, mainstream popular and dare I say, cool. This year alone fans have been introduced to BLACK PANTHER in Captain America: Civil War (and will go on to star in his own stand alone film in 2018), and a glimpse of CYBORG in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (who will also be getting a stand alone film in 2020).Add in the eagerly anticipated Netflix show LUKE CAGE that will premier this fall (September 30th), and the ardent championing from a large portion of fandom to have JOHN STEWART play the main, or at least co-star in the upcoming Green Lantern Corps film (2020). Plus, the recasting of STORM (Alexandra Shipp) in X-Men: Apocalypse rekindling hopes of a revitalization of the character in the franchise, the black superhero is experiencing a comic renaissance.It seems though that one hero, better yet heroine, is not receiving the same type of notoriety that should go along with being DC Comics first African-American female superhero . BUMBLEBEE deserves better.BUMBLEBEECreated by Bob Rozakis, KAREN BEECHER-DUNCAN first appeared in Teen Titans #45 (Dec. 1976). It would be three issues later where she donned the black and yellow costume and assumed the identity of Bumblebee. She predates many of the more popular black superheroes (BLACK LIGHTNING-1977, CYBORG-1980, VIXEN-1981) with only the “Big 4” debuting before her; Black Panther, John Stewart, Luke Cage, and Storm.With a power set derived from Marvel Comics own WASP (aka Janet van Dyne, who debuted in 1963); a “super-powered” high tech battle suit that augments all physical attributes while decreasing her size, enabling flight by insectoid wings and producing electrical bee-like stings. At one point she was permanently reduced in size to 7 inches. But while the Wasp has been featured in many major story lines, Bumblebee has been relegated as a support or more often sideline character.A member of both the TEEN TITANS and DOOM PATROL , her first appearance was in service to her then boyfriend Mal Duncan, a member of the Titans. Her attack on them to make him look more capable was ignominious at best, but it did prove her own worth and garner an offer to join the group. Her on-again off-again hero status and romantic status seems to be the gist of her characterization, culminating in her NEW 52 presentation as retired, married and pregnant.Bumblebee’s multiple depictions in non-comicbook mediums has been more varied; appearing in the animated tv series TEEN TITANS , its spinoff TEEN TITANS GO! , as well as a playable character in their follow up video games, and the highly popular YOUNG JUSTICE . She also makes a brief appearance in the JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS film.In 2015 DC/WB and Mattel thought enough of her to include Bumblebee in their toy line and accompanying Web series DC Super Hero Girls , aimed directly at young girls. It is noteworthy that she was included in the lineup to promote diversity at all.So while it seems DC/WB recognizes her historical relevance, they are also content to push another black female superhero to the forefront, namely VIXEN (the character appears in her own web series on CW Seed , and was portrayed by Megalyn Echikunwoke during the fourth season of the tv series Arrow , with talk of a spinoff ), Bumblebee deserves more prominent story lines, features and coverage that are equal to her place in comic book history.My FANCAST…Keke Palmer!Do you agree that Bumblebee deserves a more prominent place within the DC universe?Have fun!