Since his cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, the Black Panther has stroked the curiosity of millions around the world. Played by the late Chadwick Boseman, the character has had a significant cultural impact on the world. Rather than dodge issues of race and identity, the Black Panther movie tackled many of them head on.
Chadwick Boseman played the King of Wakanda to perfection. Inspiring so many people of colour with his performance, inspiring them, giving them a representation on screen. It’s not surprising to see people tearing up and referring to his as “My King” in various late night talk show segments.
With Black Panther 2 in development, we already know that Marvel is not recasting T’Challa. We don’t know much about what will happen, but with hours and hours of source material, anything is possible. We might see them delving into the past with former bearers of the Black Panther mantle, or perhaps his sister Shuri will take over as she has done in the comics.
Let’s dive into the character.
An iconic character from the Marvel Universe, T’Challa, the Black Panther was first introduced all the way back in 1966, in Fantastic Four #52–53. This was during the civil rights era, and the character reflected many of the politics of that time.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Black Panther is the king of the most technologically advanced nation on the planet known as Wakanda. T’Challa is also one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe. Right up there with the likes of Reed Richards and Tony Stark.
Gaining his powers from a special ceremonial herb, he possesses enhanced strength, speed, durability amongst others. He is a master of hand-to-hand combat, archery and possesses an advanced suit of armour. Plus, T’Challa was married to the weather controlling X-Man known as Storm.
He’s appeared in numerous animations, including a self-titled short lived 6 part series.
He’s played major roles in Avengers Assemble and The Avengers: United they stand animated series.
Over 15 video game appearances as a playable character and an NPC. Multiple books, and even an RPG.
The Black Panther mythos has so much rich history, not to mention the impact he has had in not just the current times, but when he first appeared in comics.
1. Who is Black Panther?
Black Panther #1–6 (2005)
Written by Reginald Hudlin
Art by John Romita Jr.
Back in 2005 Hudlin and Romita Jr. teamed up to bring a fresh look to the story of Black Panther. This, in my opinion, still serves as a great starting point for new fans to jump right in.
In “Who is Black Panther?” the story digs deep into T’Challa’s life as it weaves back and forth between the past and present. It truly defines that Black Panther is a title that is passed down, it is not one person. This story shows T’Challa take the mantle from his uncle, his earlier adventures and brings it to the present where he is dealing with the threat of Klaw and others as they try to destroy him.
2. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet (2016)
Written by Ta-Nehesi Coates
Art by Brian Stelfreeze, Chris Sprouse
A Nation Under Our Feet delivers us a Wakanda on the verge of dispute. A once powerful and impenetrable kingdom, Wakanda has had its fair share of foes that have managed to cause a stir. The pride of Wakanda is broken, people are rebelling, and the crown sits heavy on King T’Challa. A story packed with action and intrigue, this is an excellent arc held together with some fantastic writing. With New York Times best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates at the helm, get ready to embark on an adventure like no other.
3. Black Panther: Shuri — The Deadliest of the Species
Written by Reginal Hudlin
Art by Ken Lashley, Paul Neary
With the possibility that Shuri may take the lead in the upcoming sequel to Black Panther, it’s only right to give insight to this incredible character.
Under the protection of the Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda has thrived. But after attending a secretive meeting, T’Challa — the current Black Panther and ruler of Wakanda — returns home with severe injuries and locked in a comatose state. Though Wakanda is a powerful nation capable of defending itself, its power comes directly from its leader, the Black Panther and in the event that T’Challa doesn’t emerge from his coma, a successor must be chosen. Shuri, younger sister of T’Challa, steps up to take the mantle. But as she embarks on the dangerous ritual to become the new Black Panther, the stakes have never been higher. An unstoppable force is headed toward Wakanda: Morlun is back, and he’s hungry!
Also worth checking out is Shuri’s self-titled series that has 10 issues. Running from October 2018 to July 2019. Written by Nnedi Okorafor and Vita Atalya, and art by Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, Rachael Stott and Paul Davidson.