A short take on Storm, an African woman who has the power to control weather.
Written by Stephyn Phillips
Read by Gigi Monroe
Historically, the early decades of comic books were primarily filled with generic, cookie-cutter characters. These superheroes were many things, but they were not diverse when it came to gender or race.
As comics had a resurgence in popularity in the 1960s, fans who grew up with the medium started to write and draw books, and these new creators made an effort to make characters that represented different kinds of people. One of the most significant characters that grew out of this movement is Storm, an African woman who has the power to control weather.
You’re listening to Remarkable Receptions—a podcast about popular and critical responses to African American novels.
Created in 1975 in an effort to present an international X-Men team of superhuman mutants, Storm was the first superheroine of color to be a featured character in an American comic book. While not always presented in the most favorable light during her formative years in the pages of X-Men, the character grew to become one of the most recognized and popular characters of all time due to her leadership and presence.
The Marvel Universe was full of powerful male characters, so a woman who could control the weather was a gamechanger.
The evolution of Storm was a vital part of the X-Men storylines—the best-selling comic in the world. Storm was reinvented after losing her powers and, remarkably, became even more popular without them. As a hand-to-hand combatant, Storm assumed leadership of the X-Men team and took on a new iconic look with a mohawk. In turn, she became the most popular Black character in all of comics at the time.
As X-Men’s popularity transitioned into other mediums, Storm has represented Black female characters in film, animation, video games, and action figures. Storm also shattered other comic stereotypes, as she starred in her own monthly solo comics—something that is rare for women of color in mainstream comics. The biggest realization of Storm’s popularity and significance historically as a character may have come when fans and writers realized she was Marvel’s answer to Wonder Woman, and she defeated the Amazon in an intercompany crossover.
With a powerful presence and longstanding popularity as a Black female character, Storm has received a remarkable reception.
This episode was written by Stephyn Phillips. The episode was edited by Elizabeth Cali and Howard Rambsy.
This podcast, Remarkable Receptions, is part of the Black Literature Network, a joint project from African American literary studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. The project was made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation. For more information, visit blacklitnetwork.org.