African-American hero soars to the mantle of Captain America

Marvel Comics revealed Wednesday that Sam Wilson, the African-American winged superhero known as Falcon, will now don the red, white and blue Captain America costume.

Marvel’s chief creative officer, Joe Quesada, appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” to announce that Wilson will pick up the stars-and-stripes shield from longtime ally Steve Rogers, after Rogers is drained of the “super solider serum” that granted Captain America his powers.

Falcon first appeared in comics in 1969 as one of Marvel’s first African-American superheroes. Movie audiences will also recognize Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, from this year’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” where he joined a couple of Avengers in their derring-do.

Following several shake-ups among the Avengers superhero team, including a female Thor, a new ongoing comic book series titled “All-New Captain America” will debut in the fall with writer Rick Remender and artist Stuart Immonen as part of the creative team.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun writing Sam. It’s a completely different attitude,” Remender said in an interview on Marvel’s website. “The fact that he’s not a solider shifts things up a bit. Sam’s not going to be Steve. Steve can be very rigid. That can be kind of joyless at times, whereas Sam is absolutely not that.”

Wednesday’s announcement is in line with Marvel’s efforts to diversify its comic book hero roster. Last year, the comics publisher reimagined superhero Ms. Marvel as a Muslim superhero and, after Peter Parker’s comic death in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” title in 2012, Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager, took over as Spider-Man.