Monday, February 13, 2012

Black Vulcan

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

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.

Originally introduced as a way to add a more culturally diverse roster to the team in the All-New Super Friends Hour series, Black Vulcan was the Super Friends' resident black superhero, although his character mostly refrains from being seen as a harsh stereotype. As originally depicted, Black Vulcan's costume had the super-hero equivalent of pants, but in later episodes his legs are bare.

His powers include the ability to emit electricity from his hands, as well as 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 (Challenge of the Superfriends: The World's Deadliest Game, September 23, 1978) (in an unsuccessful attempt to escape a black hole, which, according to theory, is a feat not even light is able to accomplish once it has passed inside the event horizon). He was even able to travel back in time by fluctuating his body's energy in such a way that it opened a rift in space-time (Challenge of the Superfriends: Secret Origins of the Superfriends, October 28, 1978). Finally, Black Vulcan is able to spot-weld microelectronics (World's Greatest Superfriends Episodes: Dive to Disaster).

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 the DC Comics lineup and possessed a more developed personality.

Black Vulcan has 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 the episode, he describes his power as "Pure electricity…in my pants". This becomes a running gag: whenever someone makes a double entendre, he will often appear to utter some variation on "...in my pants." He also 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. It is said that he used to go by the name of Super Volt before Aquaman suggested his present name, which Black Vulcan believes is due to racism; Black Vulcan responds that maybe they should just call Aquaman "White Fish"

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.

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