Black Vulcan

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Black Vulcan
Black vulcan.jpg
Black Vulcan as he appeared in Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends TV series in the 1970s & '80s
In-story information
Team affiliations Super Friends
Partnerships Apache Chief
Samurai
El Dorado
Abilities Electricity manipulation

Black Vulcan is a fictional African-American superhero on the animated series Super Friends created by Hanna-Barbera. He was voiced by Buster Jones.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Unlike most of the Super Friends, Black Vulcan was not a pre-existing DC Comics character. This is particularly notable since DC Comics' roster did include an African American superhero with electricity-based powers, Black Lightning, who could not be used on the show due to disputes between DC and Black Lightning's creator Tony Isabella.[1]

Black Vulcan appeared in The All-New Super Friends Hour cartoon series (episode "The Whirlpool").

His powers include the ability to emit electricity from his hands. He can also fly by charging his lower body with energy.

On a few occasions, he exhibited powers he had not shown before, such as the ability to assume a form of pure energy and travel at the speed of light (in an unsuccessful attempt to escape a black hole.[2]) He was able to travel back in time[3] by fluctuating his body's energy to open a rift in space-time. Black Vulcan is able to spot-weld microelectronics.[4]

In the final incarnation of the series, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, he was replaced with Cyborg, another black superhero that was already well established in DC Comics.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Black Vulcan made several appearances on the show Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law voiced by Phil LaMarr. He debuted in the season one episode, "Very Personal Injury", in which he was present at the trial when Apache Chief sued a coffee shop. In the episode, he describes his power as "Pure electricity…in my pants." This becomes a running gag; whenever someone makes a double entendre, he utters some variation on "...in my pants." He claims that he previously used the name "Super Volt" before Aquaman suggested his present name, which Black Vulcan believes is a racist slur. Black Vulcan suggests that Aquaman should therefore be called "White Fish". At the end of the episode, Black Vulcan and Apache Chief form "The Multicultural Pals" with other superheroes of color and Jesse Jackson. In "Peanut Puberty", Black Vulcan gives advice to the character Peanut as he goes through superhero puberty and acquires his powers. In the episode "Booty Noir" he has a menage a trois with his ex-girlfriend Norlissa and Reducto.
  • In the first episode of the series Static Shock, one of the outfits Virgil considers as his superhero costume resembles Black Vulcan's but includes pants. Richie rejects it, saying the outfit makes him look like "a battery commercial".
  • In Justice League Unlimited, the character Juice is based on Black Vulcan and is a member of the Ultimen. He has the ability to emit electricity from his body, which he can use to create small electric bursts or fly by charging his lower body with energy. He can assume an electric form which he can use to travel quickly and discreetly. Juice rarely speaks, but when he does his voice sounds raspy and broken up, like a low-quality speaker or radio.[5] After Maxwell Lord reveals their true origins and short life expectancies, Juice shocked Maxwell Lord when he offered to help the Ultimen. The Ultimen battled the Justice League in a desperate plan by Wind Dragon. Juice battled Batman and was defeated when Batman knocked him into some water pipes that shorted out his power supply. Juice is now imprisoned like most of the other Ultimen, their bodies still deteriorating.[5] An army of Ultimen clones were later created by Project Cadmus in an attempt to finish off the Justice League. They were eventually defeated.[6]
  • The Black Vulcan outfit can be seen in the background for the teaser trailer for Black Lightning's upcoming DC Nation Shorts. The episode conflates Black Lightning with the characters Thunder and Lightning.
  • Black Vulcan was combined with Static in Young Justice as part of the show's group of teen Super Friends analogues.[7]

Toys[edit]

Black Vulcan has been released in a Justice League Unlimited three-pack, accompanied by his Super Friends teammates Apache Chief and Samurai. A 6" Black Vulcan action figure was released in Mattel's DC Universe Classics Wave 18, which was primarily dedicated to Super Friends characters.[8]

Comics[edit]

Comic book artist and Super Friends fan Alex Ross intended to create a modernized version of Black Vulcan for his rejected Captain Marvel series. The title would have had the character reimagined as Vulcan, an African American child who could become an adult superhero after accidentally gaining some of the powers of the wizard Shazam.[9]

Black Vulcan made a cameo appearance in the DC One Million 80-Page Giant special as part of one of the many alternate Justice Leagues that accidentally ended up in the headquarters of the Justice Legion Alpha.

References[edit]

  1. ^ LIGHTNING ROD How Black Lightning hurdled racism, knockoffs and wars between creators to become the new powerhouse of Justice League of America By Ben Morse Posted March 3, 2007
  2. ^ Challenge of the Superfriends Episode: The World's Deadliest Game, Pt. 1, September 23, 1978
  3. ^ Challenge of the Superfriends Episode: Secret Origins of the Superfriends, Pt. 2, October 28, 1978, YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsK2Lj6IgYQ&feature=PlayList&p=08F43B2EE17BE792&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=17 4:11
  4. ^ World's Greatest Superfriends Episode: Dive to Disaster, Pt. 3, YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JmiBJWoykw 1:24
  5. ^ a b "Ultimatum", season one, Justice League Unlimited
  6. ^ "Panic In The Sky", season one, Justice League Unlimited
  7. ^ http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=18430
  8. ^ OAFE - DC Universe Classics 18: Black Vulcan review
  9. ^ Smith, Zach (January 6, 2011). "An Oral History of CAPTAIN MARVEL: The Modern Years". Newsarama.