First Appearance: The Adventures of Superman #500 (1993)
Creators: Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove
Movie geeks, put your memories of Shaq aside. Comic book stans, forget that Steel was created to be a wannabe Clark Kent during the “Death of Superman” storyline. Because despite those inauspicious beginnings, Steel's become one of DC’s most recognizable black characters.
Inspired by the John Henry folk legend, Dr. John Henry Irons is a former weapons engineer who decided to stop making instruments of destruction for large corporations in favor of fighting crime with his powerful armor.
After his debut, Steel managed to stay relevant in DC and avoid becoming a cheap Iron Man knockoff because of real personality and cool armor enhancements. Check out DC's New 52 reboot for proof.