Black (Comic) History Month: Black Panther, a Comic Character You Should Know
Continuing our Black History Month comics coverage comes the first character spotlight. I thought through who should be first, and decide on one of the first, and one that’ll become more in the spotlight as the Marvel Cinematic Universe heads towards his solo film, T’Challa, aka The Black Panther.
The Black Panther was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby appearing for the first time in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966. He’s considered the first black superhero in mainstream American comics.
The character’s role has changed over the years but generally the Black Panther has been the leader of the African nation of Wakanda with the title being passed down between leaders. The nation is technologically advanced and rich, partially due to its abundance of the metal resource Vibranium (the same material Captain America’s shield is made from). This has also led to the nation having one of the greatest armies on Earth.
That role hasn’t always been the case, and he’s given up his leadership role of the nation, and instead has become the leader of the dead instead (it’s a weird story). One of my favorite story arcs saw the character move to Hells Kitchen, watching over it for Daredevil and forcing the character to use his intelligence and physical abilities instead of his wealth. It added a bit of a street level feel to the character. He was also married to the X-Men member Storm for a bit, and their relationship is a bit strained right now as they’ve separated.
The character has been both a hero and villain, it’s all perspectives, but most recently he’s been a part of the Illuminati, a secret cabal of some of the world’s greatest heroes who have worked in secret to protect Earth and the multiverse.
Actor Chadwick Boseman will be play the character in several films as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and rumors has his first appearance coming this summer in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Expect to hear much more about the Black Panther in entertainment over the coming months and years.