A Windsor science fiction author is attempting to bring some ethnic diversity to the genre.

Matt Bhanks, 20, is the author of the self-published Master Defenders book series.

The series is about a team of aliens and superheroes banding together to save a city.

'You don't see many black superheroes.'- Matt Bhanks, sci-fi author

It doesn't take long to list notable visible minorities appearing in science fiction.

Growing up in Toronto, Bhanks was only really aware of two: Hikaru Sulu, portrayed by George Takei in Star Trek and Lando Calrissian portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in Star Wars.

There are others, though.

In comic books, Falcon was Marvel’s first black superhero, originally introduced as Captain America’s sidekick. The X-Men's Storm is also black.

"Growing up, I wanted to do something different because you don't see many black superheroes, you don't see many Hispanic superheroes," Bhanks said. "So I said, 'you know what, I've got to do that for this story."

Bhanks created Canavin, who is technically an alien but takes on the human form of a black man.

Matt Bhanks

Matt Bhanks created Canavin, who is technically an alien but takes on the human form of a black man. (Courtesy Matt Bhanks)

"I created the character when I was five years old. It kind of just popped into my head one day and I said, 'because I like aliens, I've got to create an alien and that's the main character of the story," Bhanks said.

He's also created other black characters such as Cyfried, Celestica and Dark Shallow.

"I hope that Master Defenders will be the start of a new era, a new generation of superheroes," Bhanks says on his website.

Shawn Cousineau owns Rogues Gallery Comics on Chatham Street in Windsor.

He says more diversity means happier, better represented readers - and more business.

"That brings every walk of humanity though my doors, to see somebody that they can kind of just identify with," Cousineau said. I think the diversity of comics and sci-fi today has brought more people to the forefront, instead of just nerdy white boys in their basements.

Bhanks is at Summerfest on the Detroit River in Windsor selling t-shirts and snap-back caps branded with the Master Defenders logo.

His books are available at the University of Windsor Bookstore or at www.masterdefenders.com.