The History of Bumblebee: DC's First African-American Superheroine

Karen, BKA “Bumblebee”, buzzed onto the scene as DC Comics’ very first African-American superheroine. During a time where race was a notably-charged element in our society, DC Comics reiterated their stance with the debut of Karen Beecher as Bumblebee, in 1976’s Teen Titans #45 (written by Bob Rozakis and penciled by Irv Novick).

Check out the recap of that noteworthy moment in DC Comics history and learn more about Bumblebee’s exploits through time:

What’s your favorite appearance of Bumblebee, and what would you like to see her in next? Let us know in the comments below! :point_down:t5:


I feel like I know more about her history having just read ‘The Other History Of The DC Universe’ #2 but I also realize that’s one version of her history and not the definitive one. I truly don’t know much about her and appreciate this opportunity to learn more. I can only imagine how inspiring it was to an African-American girl in the 70s to see someone that looked like them kicking ass on the pages of their favorite comics.

Edit: Having read ‘The History of Bumblebee’ off that link you provided it’s crazy how good 'The Other History Of The DC Universe" is. To hit on all those notes from the Teen Titans use of Mal and Karen in the 70s and to give their perspective of it all…man that’s good. Those books are gold and DC has guts to print them because they are shining a light into the dark corners of their past that most of us would rather ignore. It’s important to tell those stories and be honest, though - good stuff.

Thanks again for posting this. As a newish fan to DC it’s fun to learn more about characters that are commonplace now but weren’t always treated as such.


Great Read, I had forgotten a lot of that.


I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know Bumblebee was DC’s first black female superhero, but I loved her on the cartoon Teen Titans. I even dressed up like her for Halloween one year. Haven’t read Other History #2 yet, but I look forward to it. #1 was fantastic.


Fun fact! :nerd_face: Nubia is actually DC’s first black superheroine- but she is, of course, Amazonian, not American. That makes Bumblebee the first African American superheroine :slight_smile:

No need to be embarrassed, there’s so much DC history out there. We’re just glad to share the love! :honeybee:


Ahhh. That makes more sense.


Yeah, and like was mentioned above, I knew of Bumblebee, but after reading the second issue of John Ridley’s THE OTHER HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE

I love the character now.

An excellent, excellent series, I think.

And I guess by default THE OTHER HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE #2 is my favorite appearance of Bumblebee.

Yeah, I haven’t bought a physical comic since 2010, since the iPad, but if DC were to make an omnibus or absolute edition of THE OTHER HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE, then they got my money.

The series is that crazy good to me, good enough for me to buy it twice.

But yep, nice article. And it’s always fun to see that “classic” 70s art.

And I learned some stuff today. So it was a good day.


So far I’ve really only seen her in Young Justice and read her in the Rebirth Era of Titans, which were all pretty good stuff. Haven’t read Other History #2 yet, but considering the quality of the first issue, I’m sure that one will top my faves as soon as I do.


Haven’t seen to much of her but from what I have I’ve enjoyed. Wonder if she’d ever pop up in Titans (the show). That would be great :+1:.


Nice summary of Bumblebee’s history! I’ve always liked George Pérez’s redesign of her costume.


Not just female she was the 1st black period. as a Black man Im happy they used a woman 1st.


now this I did not know lol I always thought it was Bumblebee.


Wow! Longtime fan and I had no idea she was the first! Loved her in The Teen Titans and Doom Patrol and especially Super Hero Girls but it seems like a comic of her own is waaay overdue!


Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know either. Heck, I don’t even know the first white DC superhero.


We need a live action Bumblebee now.


Her first appearence as Bumblebee is issue #48, which features Two Face (on the cover). I thought that’s interesting that Two Face is there and bought it; imagine my shock when I foundout I own the first Bumblebee.


Me too! She was badass on that show and I’ve got to read her comics now.