Courtesy of Jon Daniel
The Afro Supa Hero exhibition celebrates the importance of role models and icons, through Jon Daniel’s collection of pop cultural heroes and heroines of the African diaspora.
Jon grew up in South West London in the 1960s and 1970s. Looking back at his childhood he sees himself as a typical British-born, first generation child of West Indian parents – a young boy trying to find his place within a culture he couldn’t always relate to. In his late 20s he began collecting comics, games, action figures and memorabilia featuring positive Black role models of history and fiction, feeling that they most strongly embodied the era of his childhood and his search for identity.
"Action book heroes and superheroes were around before I was born but during my childhood the effects of the Civil Rights Movement in America were beginning to be felt more widely. Comic book writers and artists began to embrace this new Black pride and soon new superheroes emerged, ones that reflected my own heritage and that I really related to such as Luke Cage and the Falcon." Jon Daniel
Today fictional superheroes are more popular than ever before. There has been an explosion of films and TV programmes based on characters such as Iron Man, Thor and Daredevil, with the Avengers film franchise breaking box office records worldwide.
In 2016 the character Black Panther was introduced to the Avengers film series, in 'Captain America: Civil War'. Ruler of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, Black Panther was the first African superhero in mainstream comic book history, appearing in issue 52 of the Fantastic Four comic book in 1966. A Black Panther comic from Jon's collection is on display in the exhibition.
It would be great to see even more of these invincible Black superheroes, both men and women, break through onto the world stage and create a truly diverse universe of characters to inspire, thrill and entertain audiences worldwide.
Don't forget to catch the Afro Supa Hero exhibition at the International Slavery Museum before it closes on Sunday 11 December 2016.
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