Thursday, February 4, 2010

Black Panther- Now You're Talkin' !

In 1966, the first Black superhero hit the shelves. Again from Marvel, the Black Panther was and still is a unique character in the annals of black superheroes. BP debuted in Fantastic Four #52 which was published months before the founding of the controversial and openly militant Black Panther Party.

The Black Panther is T'Challa, ruler and spiritual leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. His costume is one traditionally associated with his role as protector of his people. He derives his superpowers (enhanced strength and reflexes) from a special herb which is reserved for the holder of his office. Out of all the black heroes who would follow in his wake, Black Panther is remarkable for his role as an example of the dignified ruler of a prosperous nation, rather than a disenfranchised citizen protecting the common man in a world that has forgotten him. He's also the first African hero depicted in comics who's not a transplanted white guy.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with all the plaudits you say, and imply, for T'Challa. So, believe me I say the following with all due respect: They should have left the Black Panther in the jungle.

    Like Tarzan, the Panther always seems so pathetic in the concrete canyons of a city. Only in their native jungle are they really kickass kings. As a reader of the Avengers, I always felt him so out of his weight class. Mostly, because he had no backup gimmick or weapon. All the other cool "mostly human" athlete crimefighters have something. Batman with his batarangs and belt, Captain America with his shield, Daredevil with his billy club, etc, etc.

    Standing in the throne room of Kang in the 40th century, I found the Panther to be very out of place. Gliding near invisibly thru the jungle shadows in Wakanda, where he could suddenly flip up a tree stump to reveal an ultra-tech control panel, that tingled my toes.