Represent: Black Panther & Black Comics
The long-awaited and heavily anticipated Black Panther movie is finally here! Reviews are in, and critics are saying it's the best and most elevated Marvel movie to date. Many people who have seen it already plan on seeing it again!
This is the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe led by a predominantly black cast. It's also the first movie from a black filmmaker, Ryan Coogler, to boast a budget in the range of $200 million. This first film led by a black cast, directed by a black filmmaker, is expected to become a global blockbuster.
Some Facts About Black Panther
- The Black Panther character was introduced in April 1966, and is the first black super hero in "mainstream" comics. He wasn't written by a black author until 1998.
- The title of Black Panther is a ceremonial one. All monarchs of Wakanda are known as the Black Panther and King T'Challa is the current one.
- T'Challa has a PhD in Physics from Oxford University. Erik Killmonger, his nemesis in the film, has his PhD in Engineering from MIT.
- Shuri, T'Challa's half sister, is an engineering and robotics genius on par with Tony Stark. She has created many additions to Wakanda's modern technology, as well as adding multiple upgrades to the Black Panther suit.
- Due to a meteorite crash 10,000 years ago, Wakanda has a rare mineral resource called vibranium, one of the most durable materials in the Marvel world (Captain America's shield is a mix of vibranium and steel).
- Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country on earth and has never been colonized by any European nation.
- The Dora Milaje are the elite warrior women who protect Black Panther and the royal family. They are the best and the strongest from the 18 villages all over the nation. Well-versed in martial arts, weaponry, and diplomacy, these women are a force to be feared and admired.
- Black Panther is faster than Wolverine and Captain America. He can run up to 50 MPH. He is also immune from all diseases, is the richest man in the Marvel universe, and his superpowers include hearing, sight, smell, and strength.
Read About Black Panther
For those who want to read more about T'Challa, the Black Panther legacy, and Wakanda, check out these suggestions:
By best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates, T'Challa is confronted with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group, called The People, sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt—but can its monarch, one in a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change?
In this world-building series, T'Challa takes a backseat as we see the story of Wakanda from a woman's point of view. The Dora Milaje are an elite taskforce of women trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. These women are the secret service or body guards to the king but with Black-Widow-like capabilities. We get to see more of them in this comic, as well as the mysterious leader of The People.
When Christopher Priest began writing for Black Panther in 1998, he revolutionized the character, creating the cool, dignified, master strategist we know today. This is considered to be the "classic run" of Black Panther.
As T'Challa investigates a murder in New York, a new regime seizes control of Wakanda. When the truth behind the coup becomes clear, T'Challa finds himself an enemy of the state—and a major revelation threatens to destroy his relationship with the Avengers. Plus: Meet Queen Divine Justice. Is she ready to join T'Challa's deadly crew of female bodyguards, the Dora Milaje? Are they ready for her?
Note: This title is available through Link+
More Black Superheroes
John Stewart is part of the Green Lantern Corps, selected by the Guardians of the Universe for his will and character. Green Lanterns can create constructs of anything with their rings and willpower. John Stewart is a unique Green Lantern with his ring mastery; instead of creating a typical construct that is a hollow shape of an object, John creates every single part of that object down to the nuts and bolts. He is also an architect and helped build the Hall of Justice.
I grew up watching Justice League, so when I hear "Green Lantern", I always first think of John Stewart. He was a reliable team member unlike Batman, level-headed unlike The Flash, had more personality than Superman, and was one of my favorite characters. And when Superman and Batman would go missing, John would always step up and lead the League.
After being wrongfully imprisoned, Luke is subjected to experiments that results in superhuman strength and invulnerability. He is a working class hero and does what he can to protect Harlem from organized crime. He is often seen in the comics with his BFF Iron Fist as Heroes for Hire.
Those with Netflix subscriptions may be familiar with Luke Cage; he has his own series and also stars in The Defenders.
Born Ororo Munroe, she grew up in both Harlem and Cairo. When her parents died when she was young, her mutant powers began to appear. In addition to super strength and the ability to control lightning, she can incite all forms of meteorological tempests, such as tornadoes, blizzards, and hurricanes. She's been worshiped as a weather goddess and even marries Black Panther in another timeline (thus creating the Beyonce and Jay-Z power couple of the Marvel Universe).
X-Men was another cartoon I enjoyed growing up, and Storm was another favorite. She is a serene and prestigious character; but once crossed, she is one of the most powerful X-Men on the team.
After an Oscorp scientist uses Peter Parker's blood to recreate the formula that created Spider-Man. The Prowler tries stealing the formula, and and a mutant spider catches a ride on his duffel bag. Days later, the Prowler's nephew, Miles Morales, is visiting his uncle's apartment and is subsequently bitten by the spider. Miles just wants to be a normal teen and initially doesn't want super powers until a series of life-changing events happen.
Additionally, Miles is getting his own feature film later this year! Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse comes out next December, and the trailer looks amazing. The color, style, music, and cinematography in just this minute of footage is so refreshing and fun, I can hardly wait. It's definitely in my top five most-anticipated movies of the year.
Lunella Lafayette is brilliant girl who is often teased for her inventions and intellect. She is often called "Moon Girl" by her classmates. She is an inhuman and one of the smartest characters in the Marvel universe, figuring our problems that have stumped Tony Stark and Dr. Bruce Banner. After uncovering some Kree technology, one of her teachers finds the device and opens a portal through time and space, thus unleashing Devil Dinosaur. The two eventually become best friends and the most adorable duo.
Virgil Hawkins is a high school student at the top of his class in Dakota City. As a result of accidental exposure to an experimental mutagen, he gains the ability to control electromagnetism and uses these powers to become a superhero named "Static." This was another animated TV show that my generation grew up with, and due to popular demand, he has a new comic line today. His mentor is Black Lightning, who currently has a TV show.
After saving Aquaman's life, Aqualad became his protege. He has superhuman strength and has been trained in combat and the mystic arts, so he can summon hydro swords and energy blasts. In the show, Young Justice, he was unanimously elected by the team to be their leader after their first mission together.
Vixen is a superheroine in possession of the Tantu Totem, which allows her to harness the spirit of animals. She can conjure the power and abilities of any animal, past or present. She can be found on the show Arrow and has her own really cool animated web series, Vixen.
More Black Comics
The following are a mix of fiction and non-fiction graphic novels featuring prominent black figures and characters. Most of these selections are written and/or illustrated by black creators.
This has twenty-three stories and poems by America's earliest black authors including: Langston Hughes W.E.B. Bois, and Zora Hurston. It's illustrated by contemporary black artists and is a great collection of rich black history not often taught in schools.
Congressman John Lewis is an American icon—one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom in 2011 fom President Obama.
This is a first-hand account, and his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.
This explores the life of Arctic adventurer Matthew Henson, offering a fresh perspective on the challenges he faced in his life. As a member of early missions to reach the North Pole, Henson braved subzero temperatures and shifting sea ice. As an African American at the turn of the twentieth century, he also faced harassment and prejudice. Henson won a place on Arctic expeditions through skill and determination—though he didn't receive the same credit as his teammates.
This is graphic novel adaptation of the multi-award-winning book of the same title. While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.
A thrilling biography of Nat Love, also known as Deadwood Dick. Born into slavery in 1854, Nat Love grew up to become the most famous African-American cowboy in the Old West. A contemporary and acquaintance of Bat Masterson and Billy the Kid, Nat was widely known as an expert roper and driver, a crack shot, and a real Wild West character.
Can a black woman be America's first superhero? Eli Franklin is a 15-year-old girl living in rural Montanam, and she just happens to be the most powerful person on the planet. In the aftermath of the world learning that only black people have superpowers, Eli makes her debut as the superhero Good Girl, on a mission to help people and quell the fear of empowered blacks. When a super-terrorist threatens to take away everything Eli has worked toward, will donning a patriotic costume be enough for her to find acceptance?
Move over Nancy Drew! There's a new sleuth on the scene! Sixteen-year-old Marigold "Goldie" Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place. Goldie has an insatiable curiosity, which explains her dream to one day become the hotel's in-house detective. When Charles, the current detective, encounters a case he can't crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery.
This is a re-imagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic characters as African Americans living and operating in New York City's famous Harlem district. Watson, an Afghanistan war vet, works in an inner-city clinic; while Holmes is a local P.I. who takes unusual cases. When one of them ends up in Watson's emergency room, the unlikely duo strike up a partnership to find a missing girl.
Are You Going to See Black Panther?
Have you seen it already? How many times will you be seeing it? Do you have any other favorite black superheroes or comics?