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”.
This month let’s discuss Black Adam/Teth Adam
First Appearance:The Marvel Family #1, 1945
Created By: Otto Binder & C. C. Beck
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.
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.
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.
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!