From DC Universe Classics Wave 18, a hero that never existed in the DC Comics Universe: Black Vulcan! Like Apache Chief, Samurai, & El Dorado from Wave 18, Black Vulcan was created for the popular Hanna-Barbera animated television program, Super Friends. I didn't see a lot of this wave in these parts, but I was mainly interested in this guy & Bronze Tiger, which I picked up at Wal-Mart awhile back. I won this guy for only six bucks on eBay- shipping included!
While many complained about reinforcing negative racial stereotypes by introducing this small ethnically diverse group into the show with the Justice League, I remember liking these characters as a kid- especially Apache Chief, Samurai, & Black Vulcan. As Phantom Troublemaker said over at Needless Things concerning the trivializing of these characters:
"Yeah, it was a heavy-handed diversity full of stereotypes; but younger me didn’t care about that stuff. Younger me just saw a black guy, a Native American and a Japanese guy (like I said, we’ll get to El Dorado later) working side by side and on equal terms with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman."
Oddly, a similarly powered African American superhero, Black Lightning, debuted the year before Black Vulcan did. But Black Lightning could not be used due to a issues between his creator, Tony Isabella, & DC Comics.
Black Vulcan came with two wrist mounted lightning bolts that are molded of a flexible rubber that works okay- I would have preferred they be slightly more rigid so they held in position my securely, but they don't fall off, so... While simple, the paint apps here have come a long way from the Wave3 Sinestro, and look relatively clean. Paint must be the hardest to get right- like the icing on the cake however, its crucial in the overall success of an action figure for many.
At the beginning of the Super Friends show Black Vulcan had pants, later episodes showed his legs bare, however. Mattel must have decided the legs bare version was best, and I've seen positive comments concerning this, for what reason other than preference, I'm unsure. I did however find a funny, if not politically correct tribute page on our esteemed hero with an interesting "explanation" about the pants :D
I realized upon getting this figure that four African-American DCUCs have found their way into my collection in the last month: Bronze Tiger, Black Vulcan, Cyborg, & Firestorm. While I had a John Stewart Green Lantern DCUC, & a DC Direct Black Lightning, that was about it. Check this grouping out!
More Later- Keep It FUN!