In honor of African-American History Month, DC Comics News presents the characters, artists, writers and actors of color that helped to shape the DC Universe. Today Staff Writer Kevin Gunn takes a walk on the wild side with the superheroine Vixen!
Vixen made her first official appearance in Action Comics #521 in 1981, created by Gerry Conway and Curt Swan. Although she was scheduled to have her own series, it was canceled prior to publication. Since her debut, Vixen has appeared in numerous team books, including Justice League and Suicide Squad.
Mari Jiwe McCabe heard the legend of the “Tantu Totem” from her mother. She heard it while growing up in a small African village in the fictional nation of Zambesi. The totem was rumored to offer its wearer all the powers of the animal kingdom. But only if the wearer would use the powers to protect the innocent. Mari’s family was killed by her uncle, General Maksai. He was in search of the Tantu Totem, which he believed Mari’s father (his half-brother) possessed.
Mari moved to America and became a supermodel. She used her wealth to travel back to Africa. Mari would confront her uncle and take the Tantu Totem. She then used the totem’s powers as the costumed superhero Vixen.
Vixen was part of several groups prior to the New 52. She served with the Justice League, the Suicide Squad, Checkmate and the Ultramarine Corps. Vixen has the power to mimic any animal’s abilities: she can fly like a bald eagle; she can increase weight to that of an elephant, while still keeping her original shape; and she can crawl walls like a spider. In the New 52, Vixen is a founding member of Justice League International.
This fall, Vixen will star in her own animated series on the CW Seed site. The series will share the same universe as CW shows Arrow and The Flash.
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