Hello fellow Questers!!!
I am BACK! And just like you, I'm excited for the release of Black Panther, that going to hit theaters and shock the world this week! As you know, Chadwick Boseman debuted as Marvel's Black Panther back in 2016 in the blockbuster hit, Captain America: Civil War and the MCU has never been the same! Boseman is a multi-talented actor and playwright and has shown that he is indeed the PERFECT choice to bring Black Panther, one of Marvel's greatest and most versatile superheroes, to the big screen. If you haven't seen Boseman's powerful performances in 42, Marshall, Get On Up, and Message From The King, I would advise that you check these out ASAP.
Black Panther burst onto the scene in July of 1966 is this legendary issue of Fantastic Four:
Above, is my copy of Fantastic Four #52 which features the very first appearance of T'Challa, The Black Panther, created by the magical team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! The Fantastic Four are sent a flying vehicle (the Magnetic Wave Rider), a gift from the ruler of Wakanda, a mysterious and prosperous African nation. The Fantastic Four take the invitation, arriving only to be defeated one after another by a mysterious masked man, dressed in a black Panther Habit (note: "habit" is an archaic term for "dress," "clothing" or "outfit").
This Silver-Age key showcases not only the first appearance of the Black Panther, but it also features the first appearances of Wakanda, Wakandan vibranium (in the mesh of the Panther Habit), the Heart-Shaped Herb, the Techno-Organic Jungle and the Panther Habit and Idol.
It's my copy of Fantastic Four #53!! It features the second appearance of the Black Panther! It also features the first appearance of Ulysses Klaw and his Sonic Disruptor, as well as the first actual appearance and mention of Wakandan vibranium outside of the Panther Habit. In a flashback, we also see the first appearance of T'Challa's father, T'Chaka.
Here are my copies of Black Panther vol 1, #1 and #2, written and drawn by none other than the Late, Great, Jack Kirby! In these issues, a mysterious collector named Mr. Little convinces T'Challa to accompany him on a quest to gain an ancient, powerful artifact that T'Challa's grandfather, Azzuri the Wise, once possessed. This brings T'Challa into a deadly confrontation with Princess Zanda, a collector of rare artifacts, and the highly-skilled ruler of the African nation, Narobia.
All this might be great, but maybe new comics fans are asking themselves just who is The Black Panther? No, he has nothing to do with the revolutionary Black Panther Party (BPP) that was born in the late 1960s. I mention this because there are groups on the internet who are railing against a movie titled, "Black Panther," decrying it as racist, divisive and on and so forth. It's obvious that these people are not comics fans, have no idea of who Black Panther is, nor do they know that Black Panther's creators were two men of Jewish descent, the much beloved Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, pioneers of the Marvel Universe.
The Black Panther is actually a title passed down for thousands of years to the chief of the Panther Tribe, one of several tribes in the futuristically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda. The Black Panther Tribe is the ruling party and its chief is naturally the ruler of the nation. T'Challa is the current, and arguably greatest, Black Panther, taking both the throne and the title after the death of his father, T'Chaka. Although the title is hereditary, it must be earned - the candidate must defeat Wakanda's greatest warriors in combat and successfully pass many nearly impossible trials to prove himself worthy of the throne and title of Wakanda's most powerful and fearsome protector. Wakanda must always come first in the heart of the Black Panther, as outsiders will always seek to take its greatest natural resource: the priceless alien metal that can only be found on Earth in one place: Wakanda (A meteor made of vibranium crashed in now what is called Wakanda in a prehistoric age). This is why Wakanda remained hidden for so long, and why it is a closed nation.
T'Challa is a very different Black Panther from those before him. He is more open to some of the outside world, and much less fearful of its influence and dangers. Educated in the best universities in the world, well-traveled, and cultured, T'Challa has made several close friends and allies outside of Wakanda, including people like Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil and Blue Marvel. His intellect is beyond genius level in several disciplines, his tactical genius is possibly unparalleled in the MCU (nod to Captain America). He is a supremely skilled hunter, tracker, fighter, strategist, scientist, inventor, and politician. Add to this the powers conferred upon him by the Heart-Shaped Herb and the Wakandan Panther God (the combined knowledge of all Black Panthers before him, enhanced speed, durability, strength healing, reflexes agility, superhuman senses, etc) and, in short, T'Challa is, without a doubt, one of the MOST dangerous men in the Marvel Universe. On to the FUN FACTS!!
FUN FACT 1: Black Panther's name predates the founding of the Black Panther party by more than 2 months. The character was even briefly called the Black Leopard to avoid any connection to the Black Panther Party.
FUN FACT 2: There was a Black Panther Battalion, the all-African-American 761st Tank Battalion, that served during WWII. Although not permitted to serve beside white troops, the battalion fought valiantly, earning the Presidential Unit Citation. There is even a recipient of the Medal of Honor among the men of the battalion. The most well-known member is the 761st, was First Liutenant Jack Robinson, whom the world would one day come to know as the baseball icon, Jackie Robinson.
FUN FACT 3: One of the names that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby came up with for the character was Coal Tiger. It wasn't used. However, the name was later used for an alternate reality version of T'Challa, and for his son in the now-defunct MC2 universe.
FUN FACT 4: A derivative of Wakandan vibranium appeared in Daredevil vol 1, #13 as Anti-Metal.
FUN FACT 5: Black Panther being the first black/black African superhero is a fact that I like to dispute. I like to think that honor belongs to Lothar, best friend and partner to Mandrake the Magician who first appeared in 1934:
Lothar was "The Prince of Seven Nations" in Africa and definitely the strongest man on the planet. He performed great feats of superhuman strength, which, in my opinion, makes him the first black/black African superhero. He and Mandrake are the first interracial superhero team, and Lothar was the first black person to be treated seriously in comics. Lothar and Mandrake appeared beside Flash Gordon and The Phantom in the awesome 80s cartoon series, Defenders of the Earth:
FUN FACT 6: Black Panther and Storm of the X-Men were once married, and are still very much in love even though they are no longer married. The Wakandans are very fond of Storm. Talk about a power couple!
FUN FACT 7: Once T'Challa was injured and comatose so the title of Black Panther passed to his amazingly badass sister, Shuri, portrayed by Leticia Wright in the upcoming film:
FUN FACT 8: The Black Panther's all-female personal guard are called the Dora Milaje (The Adored Ones). They are some of the most highly-trained, lethal special ops soldiers on the planet and supremely dedicated to their king.
In the film, Black Panther, the Dora Milaje will be portrayed by a host of ladies, including the talented Danai Gurira (of Walking Dead fame), and the stunning, captivating, intimidating Florence Kasumba:
FUN FACT 9: Black Panther has been in the hands of some good writers, but it wasn't until Christopher Priest got hold of him in Black Panther vol 3 that T'Challa really got his shine on. Priest added so much to The Black Panther mythos and the world of Wakanda, that most consider him to be the greatest Black Panther writer ever; however, celebrated author and intellectual, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is writing the current volume of Black Panther (vol 6), and he is expanding the Wakandan mythology, revealing civil unrest and even revolution, and showing T'Challa as embattled on all sides while he tries to evolve as a person, a hero, and a king, all while keeping his beloved Wakanda together. No doubt, Ta-Nehisi Coates can also be considered as arguably the greatest writer to pen Black Panther. Month after month, Black Panther (vol 6) is one of the best comics that Marvel publishes right now.
FUN FACT 10: Matt Murdoch, one of T'Challa's closest friends, asked him to become Hell's Kitchen's guardian devil once. T'Challa became the lead hero of Daredevil in Daredevil #513 in 2011. Later, the title was changed to Black Panther: The Man Without Fear.
And now...Let's take a look at the film trailer!!
AAAAAH!!! I can't wait!! I have my daughter's ticket and mine! We are going to the special opening night fan event! And then I got us tickets for the NEXT NIGHT too!! So excited!! How do you feel about the upcoming Black Panther movie? Let me know in the comments!