Like all forms of populist art, comic books have had the unwanted fate of growing up in front of our eyes, constantly shedding its skin and showing off its warts and bad haircuts. And there's no worse wart than that of racism. Seeing your favorite superheroes toss around racial epithets and fight enemies based on their color and heritage isn’t fun, and in some cases it genuinely hurts to see a few of the panels that we’ve included on this list – but we think it’s important to see where we come from and far we’ve progressed since The Shadow was tooling around with an awful caricature of Black culture. This list of the most racist moments in the history of comics should be seen as a historical marker to be learned from, not an unsightly blemish to avoid at all costs.
Living in the 21st century (as one does), it’s hard to contextualize the only representation of non-Caucasian races being either sneering, cowardly villains, or as lazily slapped together distortions of a culture, but somehow almost every comic book writer from 1930 to the late '60s managed to do it. And even some modern comic artists still strive to create racist garbage, and yes, we’ve collected them all on this list of racist moments from comic book history.
Captain Marvel's '40s Sidekick Was An Extreme Racial StereotypePhoto: Marvel
Ebony White, Or, What Was Wil Eisner Thinking?
Superman, Defender Of White Owned LandPhoto: DC Comics
Murray Boltinoff Was The Worst
The Comics Code Censored Judgment Day