Black or Not? Black Adam

Welcome to our new spotlight feature where we discuss characters who may not look “black”, as in have dark skin tone or can we trace their genetic line to prove they have black ancestors. Some of these characters I can justifiably include on the website because my research or based on interviews or conversations with the creators have yielded unequivocal proof that they fall under our broad classification of “Black”.

Black Adam
Black Adam in the New 52

This month let’s discuss Black Adam/Teth Adam

First Appearance:The Marvel Family #1, 1945

Created By: Otto Binder & C. C. Beck

Origin

Born to Pharoah Ramses the II in the fictional state of Kahndaq he grew up to become his high priest. When the wizard Shazam needed a successor for his power he chose Teth because of his inherent virtue and heroism. Shazam’s half demon daughter Blaze subverted Teth’s future by striking a bargain with the God Set so that when he spoke the word Shazam (to activate his power) instead of becoming the avatar of the wizard’s deific patrons, he became the avatar of the Egyptian gods Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen.

He then served the Egyptian Pharaoh as his champion for many years and even started a family. While away from his home country his family was killed. This event sparked a darkness in Teth as he exacted  bloody vengeance on the murderers of his family.

Teth continued to serve the Pharaoh but fell from the wizard Shazam’s grace because he became a dictator in Kahndaq after being corrupted by his powers  and plotting conquest with Blaze. This lead to his soul and powers being trapped within a mystical Scarab Amulet until modern times.

Recently

He’s most famous for being the main enemy of Billy Batson/Captain Marvel.

Recently he was reintroduced in the Justice League ongoing which debuted under the new 52 banner penned by Geoff Johns.

black or not- Black Adam

What do I think?

Now he’s classified as black by some but I don’t get why…..help me work this one out logically because Ive always perceived him more as Arabic than black.

He’s portrayed as a white guy more often than not but that could just be because Egypt in the mass media, comics included seems to think Egyptians looked exactly like Europeans; what reason would be given for Teth Adam being Black?

Sound off below or on our Facebook page!

Update March 25, 2013! Facebook discussion

WOW on the feedback guys!

Let me see if I understand this. In real world history at the time when Black Adam was supposed to have existed, blacks were the dominant force in Egypt and as the son of a Pharaoh of the times he should at least be part black. + He existed before the Ptolemaic dynasty which is where the European bloodline (light skin) would have entered the royal line of Egypt. 

BUT

DC comics allot like Hollywood typically portrays Egyptians whether pre or post Ptolemaic as just white. one user points out “The current inhabitants of Egypt are the descendants of the last conquerors of that land and not only do they come from what is now the Middle East they do not identify with Africa or its ancient kemetic history.” Recently DC has started portraying Black Adam as Arab….despite this being historically inaccurate. XD

There is also no debate that Egypt is in Africa so he can be classified as African but that in and of itself does not make him “back”.

I’m also going to check out the JSA line of books where I’m told Adam is portrayed in the past (his original body) as ‘black”. I’ll keep you posted on any further developments!

admin

I'm a Caribbean born Lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; with backgrounds in Philosophy, Social Studies and Geography; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for Islandstage.net where my writing inspired the music compiliation "Kindah" available in multiple languages on Itunes, The Caribbean Journal of Education, The University of the west indies, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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0 thoughts on “Black or Not? Black Adam

  • March 25, 2013 at 12:54 am
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    The only reason I could come up with is the darkness of his soul, created when his family was murdered, beyond that like the author I’d just knew him as being Egyptian.

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    • March 25, 2013 at 6:34 am
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      I can dig the last line. Thats how I saw him as well.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 1:00 am
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    I’ve always seen him as a light-skin African. Much like South Africa or America.

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    • March 25, 2013 at 6:33 am
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      I can dig that.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 1:03 am
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    Because a lot of people tend to forget that Egypt is still a part of Africa. So technically speaking he IS of African Decent.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 1:09 am
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    He’s African. Period. Why too many people, especially many Black people in the West feel that they are to decide who is African and who is not based on their own western lens reeks of colonialism and Darwinism.. For people to see North Africans as being ‘Arab’ or ‘Middle Eastern’ is really insulting to me as an African. Black Adam is a great charactor, and he’s African, and that is so cool…

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  • March 25, 2013 at 2:01 am
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    Egypt is in Africa . I would conclude that the comics industry is well aware of the resurgence of african consciousness in the black community and with the influx of historically white characters who have been remade to be black they’ll put on a black face but continue to have the white writer’s mind behind them. What does this mean? We’ll give you your black hero but he’s still gonna be “OUR” boy.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 2:04 am
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    if the Egyptian are black so is he if they are not then he isn’t it how you look at it

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    • March 25, 2013 at 6:22 am
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      It’s a little jarring to see way too many Black Americans defining other people and cultures based on what they’ve read in a book or watch on youtube, the way they themselves do not want to be defined. Then again, most people think Storm is Kenyan even though she was born in upstate New York to a Black American father and Kenyan mother.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 2:19 am
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    If black Adam is from ancient Egypt then he is black. The current inhabitants of Egypt are the descendants of the last conquerors of that land and not only do they come from what is now the Middle East they do not identify with Africa or its ancient kemetic history. I want you brothers to check out two DVD’s, Hidden Colors part 1 and 2. I think y’all might dig it.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 2:30 am
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    I’m sure there is an Ethiopian, Libyan, and Ancient Egyptian combination. Some of the S Sudanese resemble your typical American (you know).The race must have few survivors. Look at what they did with B.A. as a protector of his people then a crazed maniac. Hmmph

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  • March 25, 2013 at 4:18 am
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    all fictional characters in any narrative are ‘original’ ‘african’ ‘black’ the stories of myth spiritual alagorical fiction and real all come from the original melanated beings on the planet, should the be written by some other then original their source is the black people of the planet, let not get in to super continent…. thor thoth heru horus jesus oisirus sirius odin

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  • March 25, 2013 at 4:24 am
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    True,but that’s a small strain from those that mixed with the hyksos,greeks,romans,ottmans,persians,arabs and many others that invaded our holy land to which africans were enslaved. Dr. Phil Valentine teaches that the ancient Egyptians were scattered towards the north and west and that the word gypsies is a play on the word Egyptian. And that the reason that african Americans are so fascinated with Egypt is because many
    of us are descendants from the Moors and Dogon people of Mali who he says are descendants of the Egyptians like Benjamin Banneker .

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  • March 25, 2013 at 8:54 am
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    Technically he is Black/African. I say technically because the whole time I was growing up, he was White, period. It’s only in recent years they have suddenly darkened his skin and made him appear Egyptian. So yeah you can say he is Black…but personally, he is just some White giy they turned Black because as always with DC, they are too lazy to put in any work when it comes to Black characters.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 11:26 am
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    This is a really interesting point. Race is a socially constructed concept. There has long been a debate about how media depicts the African Diaspora. Egyptians can’t be defined by European standard (or shouldn’t) so Black Adam, and by extension Captain Marvel, should be defined by European features. They should be depicted in a way that reflect the diversity of identity found in Africa.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm
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    He was part of the pre-Ptolemaic dynastic period. Even given the Semetic influence of the Hyksos from the 13th-17th dynasties, that’d still make most people in Kemet pretty much mostly African. Would the people of Kemet, reeling from hundreds of years under a foreign power, really accept somebody who didn’t look like them as their “hero?”

    “But he’s from Kahndaq!” some would say. Really? What’s Kahndaq? Is it far enough from where Egypt currently is to be a wholly different genetic stock? Are we forgetting that even the Persians of the period were darker than Wesley Snipes and had nappier hair than W. Kamau Bell? Moreover, Kahndaq has been shown to have *many* Kemetic influences, so if the spinoff Kemetic colony Khart Haddas (Carthage) all the way over in what’s now Tunisia was still a nation full of people who looked like the Goodie MoB, then somewhere closer that clearly was following a direct Kemetic path, would be as well. Those nations didn’t really become “Arabic” for many, many centuries after that.

    Black Adam, by any logical standard, *should* be Black. DC has decided to make him Arabic, whereas the original comics clearly showed him as just plain white.

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  • March 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm
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    Black Adam is from Kahndaq, which is located near Egypt in the D,C. universe and that’s in Africa and he’s of African descent so I guess that technically makes him African!
    In his earlier incarnations he was white which was standard practice for that era. More Recently D.C. tried to be more realistic and make him look Arabic do to his place of origin. However, for the sake of argument he’s African. Born near Egypt and of Egyptian descent so he’s black people!

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  • March 25, 2013 at 11:15 pm
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    I always thought he was. Egyptians were Black. The Vatican ordered to colored the artifacts lighter in the Egyptian Pyramids. The people who are inhabited now are Morrocans who lives in Egypt calling them egyptians. Thats like us White and Black calling ourselves american where we are inhabited. EVerything in Africa was African especially the dynastys. Its just that Otto Binder & C. C. Beck didn’t know the true of Egyptians history at that time.Cause Egyptian history in Media always depicted as egyptian were European Looking or Tan color European people. But I always considered him black. That’s like Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur)
    He was a citizen of Aqaba 5000 years ago of the Edomites; who were black would that made him black? I agree with this article 100%

    Reply

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