Tag Archives: Avengers Academy

Latino Heritage Month Spotlight on White Tiger! — 1st Puerto Rican Superhero & His Dope SuperLegacy

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Hispanic & Latino Heritage Month kicked off September 15th, and here in geekland we’re celebrating by shouting out superheroes of Hispanic & Latino heritage. While we’ve given a nod to some of the indie creators writing comics with Latino themes and/or characters in the past, today we’re talking mainstream superheroes, because if we don’t show some love to the Latino heroes already in the mainstream, we might find that the major publishers aren’t to keen to keep up what’s been a nice increase in the diversity of comics. Also, ’cause these heroes mad dope:

First up…

White Tiger!

The White Tiger identity has now been taken on by five different heroes, though only three of them gained their powers by inheriting the Jade Tiger amulet that endowed the first White Tiger, Hector Ayala, with his powers.

hector ayala
Hector Ayala – the original White Tiger karate choppin’ the way for Latinos in comics

First appearing in Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu in 1975, Ayala became the first Puerto Rican superhero in comics and Marvel’s first Latino superhero. A college student at NYU, Ayala found the Jade Tiger amulets and used them to fight crime using a secret identity– White Tiger. He went on to fought alongside big wigs like Daredevil, Spider-man, and Iron Fist. Unfortunately he was later framed for a murder and shot and killed trying to escape capture.

angela del toro
Angela Del Toro – sad tortured, magic-ed-into-evil White Tiger

But in 2003, the White Tiger identity was revived by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, when FBI agent and  Hector Ayala‘s niece Angela Del Toro discovered the Jade Tiger amulets and the White Tiger legacy.  Angela reluctantly takes up the mantel as the masked vigilante under the guidance of Daredevil, and soon finds herself fighting with her uncle’s old friends like Luke Cage, Spider-man, Black Widow.  However, she is later magically corrupted and now operates under the influence of The Hand as an assassin.

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Ava Ayala dunkin’ on some fools

All hope for the White Tiger legacy is not lost, however, as Hector Ayala had a younger sister… The young Ava Ayala took up the mantle of White Tiger in 2011 when Christos Gage and Tom Raney wrote her into the Avengers Academy series. Strongly tied to her legacy and her heritage, she has been critical of other Latino heroes who do not embrace their heritage (namely Reptil). She’s also very likely the dopest and most popular to take on the identity. Though Avengers Academy was later cancelled, she is a regular in the Ultimate Spider-man animated TV series, and she recently appeared as White Tiger in the brand new, promising (and awesomely diverse) Mighty Avengers series. Though issue #1 opens with her quitting Luke Cage‘s new Heroes for Hire revival, it’s looking pretty good that she’ll be back!

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Kid Superheroes of Color! Nova & Spider-man Leading the Way to Diverse Heroes for All Ages


If you know Brian Michael Bendis‘ work, then you know he’s been huge in helping making comics more diverse. He gave us a super cool and hardcore real women in Jinx and Jessica Jones, he made Luke Cage a major player in the New Avengers before hooking him up in an interracial relationship with Jessica Jones, and he even started his own creater-owned comic Takio with sister superheroines one of whom was adopted and of Asian-descent.

But his biggest win for heroic diversity in comics was when he killed Spider-man and made him a mixed Black and Puerto Rican kid, Miles Morales!

It was a insanely dope move on his part, and bold as hell.  And as far as I know, Ultimate Comics Spider-man isn’t going anywhere. That said, Miles Morales is an alternate universe Spider-man. Alternate universes have been used to make changes in race and sexual orientation for several superheroes at this point, like Earth 2‘s gay Green Lantern and Filipino Captain Steel.  And though Spider-man is a big win, the majority of heroes of color or LGBT heroes are part of teams or relegated to the sidelines, like Reptil and White Tiger (who’ll soon be joining the new Mighty Avengers) in the recently cancelled Avengers Academy, and Hulkling and Wiccan in Young Avengers.

The tide is definitely changing and it seems to be most prevalent with the kids.

And Miles Morales isn’t the only kid hero of color with his own comic. In 2011, Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness introduced half-Latino Sam Alexander as the son of the superhero Nova…

Keep reading at Unleash The Fanboy!

TOP 5 Asian American Comic Book Heroes In The Mainstream

May and the official Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month are coming to a close, but we can continue celebrating Asian American culture year-round and we can do it all geeky like with some on-going comics featuring Asian American & Pacific Islander heroes!

Non-stereotyped or side-kick-ed Asian/ Asian American heroes are a rare thing in comics history and present, but right now there are two major ongoing series with leading AA heroes – the slicing and dicing Japanese transplant Katana in her own self-titled series Katana (DC Comics) by Ann Nocenti and Alex Sanchez and the crime-fighting cibopath Tony Chu in Chew (Image) by John Layman and Rob Guillory. 

Tony Chu – Chew

Tony Chu in Chew

If you’re not already reading Chew, go pick up volume 1 now. It’s amazing. The storytelling, the art, Tony Chu… Often disgusting, usually hilarious, always incredibly imaginative, Chew is one of my favorite comics four years running. John Laymanhas created a world where birdflu ran rampant killing millions of Americans and turning the FDA into one of the most powerful agencies in the country. And that’s where Philadelphia police detective Tony Chu’s story starts off. A scrawny sickly looking guy, Tony Chu is a cibopath, meaning he can get psychic visions from anything he eats.  Anything. Yep, just imagine all the potential for gross. But beyond the disgusting, Chu is stone-cold cop with a wacky ability in an absurd world, and he isn’t the only one with “special” talents…

Continue Reading at UnleashTheFanboy.com