Black Panther has been one of my favorite characters since I first picked up the Marvel Knights books back in the late 1990’s. This was Marvel’s darker/edgier take on some of their popular characters. They had mini-series of Punisher, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Black Widow, Inhumans, and Black Panther among more. I loved them all so far so I picked up The Black Panther issues and my mind was blown. I had never seen anything like this before. The art was dark and menacing yet the writing was humorous and engaging. This is attributed to Mark Texeira’s phenomenal art and Christopher Priest’s amazing writing which is now considered by many to be the definitive Black Panther run. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to Marvel’s Black Panther cinematic adaptation. But before you run off to the Cineplex, check out a few facts about the King of Wakanda himself!
1. Black Panther was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and made his debut in Fantastic Four #52 in July of 1966. Although T’Challa was not the first major Black hero character in comics he is considered to be the first Black SUPERhero with powers in mainstream comics. This predates Marvel’s other heroes The Falcon, Blade, Luke Cage as well as DC’s New God Black Racer, Black Lightening and Green Lantern John Stewart.
2. The king of Wakanda does in fact possess super human abilities. When the mantle of Black Panther is bestowed to someone, there is a ceremony that grants this person with Panther Knowledge. This gives them the strength and wisdom from every previous Black Panther. During this ceremony they are also given a heart shaped herb which gives superhuman senses, strength, and speed. But not just anyone can ingest this herb. If you are not worthy of it, it is deadly.
3. Black Panther and Storm were once married! Yes, this is oh so true and the marriage lasted quite a long time, well as far as comic book marriages are concerned. T’Challa actually met storm long before she joined the X-Men. But when Storm helped the nation of Wakanda from an invasion, she and Black Panther reconnected and were soon married after that. Pretty much every Marvel hero was in attendance. The two have since had their marriage annulled after the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men.
4. The Black Panther was once a bonafide member of the Fantastic Four! After the events of Civil War, Reed and Sue Richards decide to step away from the super hero spotlight for a while and ask Storm and Black Panther to fill in for them (who were still married at the time). Along with The Thing and Human Torch, these four were the official FF team for a short time.
5. Black Panther was once the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen! After the events of 2010’s Marvel Comics event Shadowland when Matt Murdock was possessed by the “Beast of the Hand” and blaming himself for what had happened he decided to leave the Daredevil gig for a while to think things through. He asks T’Challa who had recently become powerless thanks to Doctor Doom to fill in for him while he’s away.
If you are interested in knowing more about Black Panther or would like to know more about the story tidbits I mentioned above, I recommend the following collected volumes:
Black Panther: The Complete Collection written by Christopher Priest and Joe Quesada and art by Mark Texeira, Joe Jusko, Vince Evans and more! This collects Black Panther #1 – 17 (Marvel Knights 1998)
Black Panther: Secret Invasion written by Jason Aaron and art by Jefte Palo. This collects Black Panther #39 – 41 (2008)
Black Panther: Four The Hard Way written by Reginald Hudlin and art by Francis Portela. This Collects Black Panther #26 – 30 (2007)
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear Vol. 1 written by David Liss and art by Francesco Francavilla. This collects Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513 – 518 (2015)
Avengers Vs. X-Men written and drawn by a whole slew of great and talented people! This collects Avengers vs. X-Men #0 – 12 (2012)