Black Panther 101: An Introduction to the First Mainstream Black Superhero
It’s no secret that I can’t wait until 2/16/18 for the release of The Black Panther Movie. Hell, it’s no secret that Black Twitter can’t wait either. I mean, Black Twitter has twitterspace popping with the #BlackPantherSoLit hashtag and memes like this:
Everyone, regardless of race and even DC Comic fans are anticipating that the Black Panther Movie will be so lit. The trailer looks lit, the posters are lit, and the hype surrounding the movie is SO LIT!!! But while everything looks and seems so lit, are we just going on looks or do people really know why we should be hyped about The Black Panther Movie? The history of the character, the origin of his powers….his background story? Well if you don’t know this information you came to the right blog post. This is Black Panther 101: your Introduction to the First Mainstream Black Superhero. In this post, I have included 16 Fun Black Panther Facts to get you ready for 2/16/18. And when you are done reading my facts, be sure to head over to This Worthey Life and let my friend Tatanisha explain to you why Black Panther is going to be so lit!!!'Whatever the challenge, I am ready.'Click To Tweet
- Black Panther is the brainchild of the legendary Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. However, it wasn’t until the Christopher Priest run of Black Panther in the late 90’s, where we see T’Challa morph into a hero in his own right (Edited to add: This is my opinion, while there are several runs of the Black Panther Series, the Christopher Priest series is the series that I find the most intriguing).
- Black Panther first appeared in 1966, in volume 1 issue #52 of the Fantastic Four Comic book. In this issue, The Fantastic Four receive a flying aircraft as a gift from the Nation of Wakanda. They are invited to Wakanda, however, upon arrival they are attacked by Black Panther. Individually the Fantastic Four were no match for Black Panther, however, collectively they were able to overpower him and get him to stop his hostilities. Upon revealing himself Black Panther tells the Fantastic Four he was only testing them, as he has a mission he needs their assistance with.
- Black Panther the character was not inspired by and did not have anything to do with the Black Panther Party Movement. While both occurred around the same timeframe, it was just a coincidence. In fact, in 1972 the hero was renamed “Black Leopard” in an effort to disassociate him with the movement. Needless to say, the name change didn’t last long.
- Black Panther is the FIRST Black Superhero in mainstream comics. He was before Luke Cage, Falcon, Green Lantern and John Stewart. And while other Black Superheroes (Spawn, Blade, and Hancock) have been showcased on the big screen, this is the FIRST movie to showcase a Nation of Strong Black Characters.
- Black Panther’s real name is T’Challa and he is the King of an African Nation called Wakanda, Yes that’s right he is royalty and his position is hereditary. The role of Black Panther was passed down to him by his father T’Chaka. It is a role that encompasses a series of physical, mental and moral challenges.
- Black Panther is more of a title than a name, as there are several Wakandans who are known to hold the title of Black Panther. T’Chaka, T’Challa, S’yan (T’Chaka’s younger brother) and Shuri (Black Panther’s Sister). While T’Challa is the most popular person to don the role of Black Panther, it’s important to know that the role has been played by more than one person.
- Prior to becoming the King of Wakanda and earning the Black Panther title, young T’Challa met and fell in love with Ororo Munroe. Most of us know her as Storm from X-Men. Although the two were madly in love, T’Challa’s desire to avenge his father & to rule Wakanda, lead to the destruction of their relationship.
- So what exactly is this Wakanda country? Well, Wakanda is a technologically advanced African nation. In this nation, an extremely rare metal called Vibranium is mined there, which makes Wakanda one of the richest and most technologically advanced nations on Earth.
- Vibranium, sounds familiar? Well, it should. Vibranium is what Captain America’s shield is made out of. I am sure you are wondering how Vibranium got to Wakanda. Well, let me explain, Wakanda was once the site of a meteorite crash. The meteor was made out of an ore that can absorb sonic vibrations (Vibranium) and it is now protected by the Wakandan’s. Both Wakanda and Vibranium were introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- Black Panther is a true superhero, he just doesn’t wear a suit. He has acute senses, enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, endurance, healing, and reflexes. Trained in the Martial Arts, T’Challa possesses genius-like intellect. Pairing his natural abilities and superhero strengths with an impenetrable suit of Vibranium and consumption of a heart-shaped herb, which is a Vibranium mutated plant, makes him a force to be reckoned with.
- Black Panther has a crew, they are known as the Dora Milaje or The Adored Ones. Here is the plot twist, are you sitting? Okay, the Dora Milaje is comprised of a group of bad ass, kick ass, take no names women from rival tribes. These women are an elite group of bodyguards, who were hand selected and also are potential brides for the King. The leader of the Dora Milaje is Oyoke. Learn more about the Women of Wakanda from my friend Amiyrah over at Four Hats & Frugal.
- As with most superheroes, Black Panther also has an Arch Nemesis. Ulysses Klaw, the man responsible for T’Chaka’s death and also a man who will stop at nothing to get his “klaws” on Wakanda’s greatest asset…vibranium. If the name sounds familiar, it should, we are also introduced to Ulysses Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- In 2006, under the penmanship of Reginald Hudlin, Black Panther and Storm (Ororo Munroe) wed. The wedding took place in front of World Leaders and their Superhero Friends. This union is the ONLY Black union in the Marvel comics (another first). The union happily lasted for 6 years, until Namor (X-Men) destroyed a portion of Wakanda in search of The Avengers. The attack on Wakanda led to the annulment of their marriage as well as a superhero clash in Avengers vs. X-Men. (It is speculated that the writers brought the marriage to an end in anticipation of the Black Panther movie & due Disney/Marvel not having the rights to the X-Men Franchise.)
- Black Panther has been apart of several Marvel Superhero teams: The Avengers, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, The Illuminati, and The Defenders. Some of these collaborations were super brief stints (i.e. The Defenders), or by association (i.e. X-Men due to his marriage to Storm). Yet T’Challa has served as a helping hand on these teams.
- T’Challa was raised by his dad. His mother N’Yami passed while giving birth to him, and his stepmother Ramonda was kidnapped by Anton Pretorius (re-introduced in Christopher Priest’s Black Panther Volumes) and held captive while visiting her homeland of South Africa. T’Challa originally believed that Ramonda had fled Wakanda to be with another man. However, when he found out the truth he freed her and welcomed her back to Wakanda as Queen Mother. I wanted to give you a little tidbit on Ramonda because she is an important character in the movie.
- My 16th fact is more movie-related than character related. This is the first, wait let me put that in caps. THIS IS THE FIRST EVER predominately Black Marvel film featuring a Black Superhero, directed, written, and produced by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, who are Black Men. And well this blog post was written by a Black Woman.
Look I don’t even need to say anything else but #BlackPantherSoLit!!!!
The Revolution will not be televised, but Black Panther will be in theaters everywhere on February 16, 2018!
Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
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