Director Gerard McMurray, who is known for his work on The First Purge, is currently developing a movie adaptation of Black, a controversial comic book (written by Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith with art by artist Jamal Igle) set in a world where only Black people have superpowers. As you can imagine, the premise has caused quite a stir on the internet.
Greenlit by Studio 8 and distributed by Warner Bros., the live-action movie will closely follow the story of the comic book, which focuses on a world where black people are hated and feared. Black follows the story of Kareem Jenkins, a young man living in New York who joins a secret underground group of black superheroes. After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, he learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether or not to live his superhero life in secret and create change in his community or use his new abilities (which includes healing, strength and speed) for personal revenge against trigger happy cops.
The comic book’s official synopsis reads:
In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers? After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free. “X-Men” meets “The Wire,” BLACK’s Kickstarter blazed through Black History Month 2016 earning $91,973, more than three times its funding goal.
That’s one hell of a hook.
And as you can tell, Black draws heavily on X-Men mythos — which also draws attention to issues of racism, discrimination, oppression, police brutality, and, of course, prejudice. Born from a Kickstarter project, the comic book series (which collects six issues) is pretty action-packed and dense. It’s not a lighthearted fun comic book character like Black Panther or Falcon. Black deals with a superhero who has to answer serious questions for himself.
Whether or not Gerard McMurray (who was a classmate of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler at the University of Southern California) will carry the same tone as the comic in the live-action Black movie remains to be seen. The good news is that it isn’t another rehash of a classic DC or Marvel story. It’s something different and unique. In the sea of comic book movies we’re getting right now, it’s good to see Warner Bros. taking on something a little more interesting.