Tyroc, the Legion of Super-Heroes’ first black member, is someone who tends to invoke extreme reactions. First introduced in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #216 (April 1976), Tyroc was one of DC Comics’ earliest black heroes. Mal Duncan of the Teen Titans predates him, but Tyroc even predates Black Lightning by a year. Still, he is hardly the household name that many of today’s black heroes are and he definitely falls into the “lesser known” Legionnaires among many readers.

So why do some love him and some hate him? Probably both for the same reasons. Tyroc, created by Cary Bates and Mike Grell, is definitely a product of the times with large afro and a discoesque costume. His powers were sonic based and varied. From teleportation to vertigo, from pyrokinesis to weather manipulation, and more, Tyroc, power-wise was formidable and is considered by some to be one of the most powerful Legion members. But the character seemed to be a cliché right out of the gate.

Paul Levitz, who followed Cary Bates as regular writer for the Legion, has made no secret of his dislike of the character, often stating that he felt sound powers didn’t work to well in comics. So after just three appearances, Tyroc just disappeared. Maybe it was his unexplained disappearance that added to his mystique, the hero who was prominently featured on the cover to the Legion Treasury, but never appeared in the comic. Maybe comic readers just liked that he was different from the rest of the Legion in attitude and powers. Maybe readers just thought he was cool, clichéd or not.

Gerry Conway later revealed that Tyroc’s home island doesn’t stay in our dimension very long, and so he decided it best to not get too attached to the group. Tyroc’s history, like much of the Legion, gets very confusing after that, with more continuity reboots than almost any other series in comics.