Notes

The Problem with “Black Spider-Man” and “The Batman of Africa”

David Brothers points out exactly what the problem is with the phrases “Black Spider-Man” and “The Batman of Africa.” “…that it is essentially covert, or maybe just casual, white supremacy.”

2 replies »

  1. “The Batman of Africa” is actually referred to officially as “Batwing” but because he is a member of Batman Inc. (a multinational group of Batmen) he is also designated as the Batman of Africa because that is his country of origin and his jurisdiction. There are many other nationalities represented in Batman Inc: Man-of-Bats and Red Raven (Native Americans), El Gaucho (Argentina), Nightrunner (French Muslim), Black Bat (Hong Kong), Knight and Squire (UK), Mr. Unknown aka The Batman of Japan etc.

    If the original Batman was not from America, you can bet he would be reffered to as the Batman of North America within the ranks of Batman Inc. While I do think the expansion of the Bat-Family to include members that are neither white, nor filthy rich is long overdue, referring to Batwing as The Batman of Africa within the ranks of Batman Inc. is hardly indicative of white supremacy.

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    • Hi, Josh–

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Batwing has been referred to as the “Batman of Africa” repeatedly in articles and marketing materials, which is what David Brothers is addressing. Africa is not a country; it is a landmass filled with millions of people from hundreds if not thousands of language, cultural, ethnic backgrounds living in dozens countries but is frequently narrowed down to just being “Africa,” erasing the importance of those differences and, again, that is part of what David Brothers is addressing in his piece. Because of this history, I don’t think there really is any comparison between Batwing, “The Batman of Africa,” and Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson (depending on when you’re talking about), “The Batman of North America,” regardless of continental continuity. There is no threat of the United States disappearing in any construction of North America in the same way that Batwing David Zavimbe’s Congo does in that phrasing. I believe the comments thread in David Brothers’ article is still open–at least it was the last time I checked–and I’m sure your thoughts would be welcome. Thanks again.

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