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The Black Panther

Origin

The superhero called THE BLACK PANTHER was created Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. He first appeared in pages of THE FANTASTIC FOUR:


The Avengers

He later became an Avenger, and appeared in many adventures with that team over the years:
Avengers #53Avengers #58

Avengers #62Avengers #71


Jungle Action

He later took over the book JUNGLE ACTION which became his solo series debut:

Marvel Masterworks Black Panther Jungle Action


Jack Kirby

Then the legendary JACK KIRBY took over the writing and art of the book, which he renamed THE BLACK PANTHER:
Black Panther by Jack KirbyBlack Panther 2 by Jack Kirby


Christopher Priest

The book was later relaunched by Christopher Priest, who reinvented the character, restoring him to the greatness implied by the early stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby:
The ClientEnemy of the State


Who Is The Black Panther?

Who Is The Black Panther?

Some time after Priest’s run, I headed up a relaunch of the character. I was first hired to write a six issue mini-series, so I wrote a story that set up the basics of the character so even a person who never heard of the Black Panther (basically, most people) would know who he is and what he’s about pretty quickly. To make that clear, I named it WHO IS THE BLACK PANTHER?

Reviews for Who Is The Black Panther?

Reginald Hudlin has taken the first black super hero to the mountaintop, where he belongs.
-Charles Johnson, author of the National Book Award-winning novel MIDDLE PASSAGE

It’s so great to have an African super hero. BLACK PANTHER has potential to effect people in the real world.
– Ziggy Marley

Finally, my favorite super hero.
– Ice Cube

I was aware of the Black Panther when I began reading comics, but only began to take him seriously because of Christopher Priest’s very political, unpredictable take on the King of Wakanda. So, naturally, the guy who followed Priest would have to bring a similarly brilliant concept for me to buy the relaunched Black Panther.

Filmmaker/TV producer turned comic writer Reginald Hudlin proved up to the task by posing a simple question in “Who Is the Black Panther?”:

“How would the world react to an high-tech, wealthy African nation (Wakanda) that has never been conquered?”

That premise brings Wakanda down from an abstract fantasyland into a more grounded country with historic relevance. Those who normally dismiss the superhero genre as vapid, juvenile power fantasies give Hudlin’s Black Panther a second look because his concept bucks the mass media image of Africans as either dumb savages or perpetual victims. In fact, some of these former skeptics wind up buying the book.

Hudlin’s more realistic take on Wakanda also answers unspoken questions in the Black Panther’s comic book mythology. After seeing their neighbors exploited and devastated by Europeans, Arabs, and even other Africans, Wakanda’s distrust of outsiders makes perfect sense. This mindset also explains Wakanda’s advanced technology, which was developed to not only improve the country’s standard of living, but also defend it from would-be conquerors.

There have been some long-time comic fans who argue that Black Panther addressing historic events like the enslavement and colonization of Africa is inappropriate and even “racist.” I find that logic amusing considering that:

*Captain America fought in a real war, World War II.

*X-Men foe Magneto survived the real horrors of the Holocaust.

*Alan Moore’s Watchmen tackled the Cold War and even the still controversial Vietnam War head on.

So, if these historic events are fine for superhero comics, then Reggie Hudlin’s Black Panther is no less acceptable. Besides, veteran Panther writer Don McGregor used the Wakandan king to address such thorny issues as lynchings in the USA and apartheid-era South Africa.

Now, don’t think that “Who Is the Black Panther?” is just dry lectures on the past. The story has thrilling, epic action and stunning vistas made all the more gripping by its compelling characters. This is especially true of T’Challa, whom I honestly now like on a personal level thanks to Hudlin. The Panther is a hero whose cunning, cultural sophistication, and regal status belies a flesh and blood human being who can be frustrated by his rebellious younger sister or offer comfort to Wakanda’s youngest subjects. On this level, T’Challa is much like the late Princess Di, another royal who was popular because she was so approachable.

Hence, Hudlin’s Black Panther is not only is truer to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original vision, but also thankfully defies the unfortunate PC trend of Black comic heroes as flawless, emotionless, and thus boring icons. I think you can credit Hudlin’s experience in film and TV for such well-rounded portrayals of his characters.

So, despite my skepticism, Reginald Hudlin has done right by the Black Panther. A character that too often has been treated as a dated symbol at best and a second-rate Tarzan at worst has been evolved into the formidable superhero and international player that he truly is. In the process, Hudlin makes readers take a broader view of the world while not skimping on the comic’s entertainment value.

– Fredrick Weaver


The Black Panther and Me

The folks at Marvel liked what I wrote so much, they asked me to turn the book into an ongoing series. I said I would do that if I could have the Black Panther get married, because that’s one of the first things a king has to do…get married and have kids. The continuation of the royal linage is way up there on the priority list.

Wild Kingdom TPBX-Men-Black Panther: Wild Kingdom

So first we had to bring readers up to speed with the romantic history of the Black Panther and the most likely marriage candidate. So I wrote a cross over story with the Black Panther and the X Men:

Bad Mutha TPBBad Mutha

One of the things I always wanted to see was black superheroes interacting with each other. So I wrote a story that brought together the Black Panther, Luke Cage, Blade, Brother Voodoo and Captain Marvel (also known as Photon, Pulsar and Monica Rambeau) to deal with the still-fresh Katrina crisis in New Orleans. To my knowledge is the only story to deal with that tragedy and the most high profile collection of black heroes all working together in one story.

Review:

Sweet Christmas – it sure is great to see Luke Cage teaming up with the Black Panther. How does Reginald Hudlin, a.k.a. Entertainment President of Black Entertainment Television, find the time to write such a thought provoking title?? His Black Panther is noble, powerful and super rich. I loved the interplay between Cage & T’challa as well as the dialogue. I also loved seeing all the black super heroes teaming up like Blade, Brother Voodoo, Photon, The Falcon, etc. I sure hope the Black Panther movie is made with Hudlin and Wesley Snipes in the title role. All the characters in this book are Bad Muthas and I say that in a good way!!
– Nelson Jimenez

Most black characters in comics don’t even speak to each other, let alone the idea that two major black superheroes would fall in love and get married. Oddly enough, interracial romances are far more common in that medium.

So when the Black Panther and Storm got married, it was a big deal.

Storm TPBStorm

Their first meeting as teenagers was told in STORM, a mini-series by famous romance novelist Eric Jerome Dickey which was collected in a single book here:

The Bride TPBThe Bride

Their adult courtship and wedding was chronicled in my book THE BRIDE.

The new royal couple hardly have time to enjoy their honeymoon before they are plunged into one of the defining events of the Marvel Universe, a Civil War between superheroes. Following a 9/11 scale tragedy where a battle with a supervillain ends up killing thousands of innocent civilians, one group of heroes think the only way to maintain the public’s trust is to unmask and register with the government. Other heroes think such actions will have even more disastrous consequences.

Civil War TPBBlack Panther: Civil War

In this charged political environment, the king and queen of Wakanda to a world tour of different monarchies to define a strategy in light of developments in the United States. These are some of the best issues of BLACK PANTHER I’ve ever written…especially the meetings with Prince Namor and Doctor Doom.

When Reed Richards and Sue Storm go on a second honeymoon to heal the rift between them from the conflicts of the superhero Civil War, they ask the Black Panther and Storm to run things while they are gone. As leaders of the premiere superteam, Black Panther and Storm do a bunch of cool adventures. Like fighting for their lives in a world full of super powered zombies. Because everyone loves zombies, and super zombies are the scariest.

Four The Hard Way TPBBlack Panther: Four The Hard Way

Review by Ryan Horwitz:

I thought that this trade paperback was very amusing to read. A new assembly of the Fantastic Four and a well placed tie-in with the Fantastic Four book that has recently come out more than covered what happened to the Black Panther and Storm after the Civil War. I’m also a Marvel Zombies fan and seeing them in this book was literally a dream come true as I was curious to know what had become of the Marvel Zombies. Seeing them tear the Skrulls apart was more than I could have hoped for. I recommend this book to all who enjoy both the Fantastic Four and the Marvel Zombies, it’s a real killer. (Pun intended)
Rating: 5 / 5

Little Green Men TPBBlack Panther: Little Green Men

This storyline has the all new, extra colorful Fantastic Four travelling to the Skrull planet that modeled itself after the gangster films of the 1940s. All that would be fine and good, but they also have an intergalactic gladiator arena where different aliens fight to the death. But Storm finds the resistance movement on the planet…who live in their version of Harlem. They have their own version of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, who runs his own Black Panther organization. Yeah, all that was fun to write.

The New Fantastic Four TBPThe Black Panther/Storm run Fantastic Four also had an ongoing storyline in the Fantastic Four title as well, written by the Maestro himself, Dwayne McDuffie.

Back To Africa TPBBlack Panther: Back To Africa

Returning Black Panther and Storm to Wakanda, and some of the most beautiful covers of the series. This storyline features the return of Killmonger, one of the Black Panther’s greatest foes…and the rise of T’Challa’s sister Shuri as a major player in the life of the Panther.

Secret Invasion: Black Panther TPBSecret Invasion: Black Panther

After four non stop years of delivering the book on time every time, I had to take a break. Jason Aaron came through and delivered an instant classic called SEE WAKANDA AND DIE. Told from the point of view of a Skrull general invading Earth, it reinforces the kickassery of Wakanda.

The Deadliest of the SpeciesBlack Panther: The Deadliest Of The Species

For my final run on the Panther, I take my creation Shuri to the next level and have her inherit the crown after T’Challa is put in a coma by Dr. Doom, leaving Wakanda open to attack by Morlun, the supernatural force who hunts down animal avatars like Spider Man and the Black Panther.

Power TBPPower

Jonathan Marberry takes over the writing of the Panther as Shuri ascends to the throne, but is targeted by traitors within and even more sinister forces outside of the country. And what is her brother up to?

Doomwar  Doomwar

Big ol’ throwdown with several Black Panthers, the Fantastic Four, the X Men and Deadpool all teaming up to take on Dr. Doom.

BLACK PANTHER/CAPTAIN AMERICA:
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS

Back for my last Black Panther story in this mini-series set in World War 2. The first meeting of Black Panther and Captain America is told through the eyes of Gabe Jones, a member of Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandoes and one of the first non-stereotypical black characters in comics history. The book also features the Red Skull and host of Nazi villains, including the always intriguing Armless Tiger Man!

Flags Of Our Fathers #1Flags Of Our Fathers #2

Flags Of Our Fathers #3Flags Of Our Fathers #3

Reviews:

This story takes place during World War II and right before the very first meeting between Captain America and Nick Fury. Of course this story has been told before and in many different ways, but I really liked how this went down in this book. Fury’s initial reaction to Cap is great and just one of many story telling elements added to this book to make it such an enjoyable read.

A good portion of the story is told in the words and through the eyes of Gabriel Jones one of SGT. Fury’s Howling Commandos. It explains how a black man got picked to be a part of Fury’s elite secret task force, and how Jones felt being the only black man on the squad. The book itself is written by Reginald Hudlin, no stranger to writing books with this type of racial theme. Hudlin as been associated with some of the best stories featuring several of Marvel’s black heroes including the Falcon, James Rhoades, and most notably the Black Panther.

The Commandos escort Captain America deep into Africa in an attempt to keep German Nazi’s from getting their greedy hands on Vibranium, a rare metal found in the jungle nation of Wakanda. The Nazis are lead by Baron Strucker (portrayed perfectly by Hudlin).

Elements of the back story of Wakanda laid out years ago while Hudlin was writing the Black Panther series come into play such as the fact the nation has never been successfully invaded by an outside foe and the first meeting between Captain America and the Black Panther (the WWII version of the black Panther was of course T’Chaka, father of T’Challa). The brief confrontation between these two characters was shown in a quick flashback scene in the Black Panther book years ago, and now we have the chance to see the entire story unravel for us.

This was a very well written book by a writer that has a great deal of respect for the past of all the characters involved, with beautiful art work by seasoned comic veterans Denys Cowan and Klaus Janson.

– Bill Goldman, Hot Shot of the Week

The first issue of the Marvel Knights four-part series Captain America, Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers has been released. While Captain America and his exploits in World War II have been told so many times the series manages to take the story to new places while still retaining the character we know and love.

Reginald Hudlin’s story is akin to Allan Quatermain in deepest darkest Africa, the Nazi secret weapons conspiracy theories we all know and your standard Captain America awesomeness as Cap and Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos head to the African nation of Wakanda to uncover a Nazi plot. Hudlin has crafted a really gripping adventure piece, and the series really benefits from being under the Marvel Knights label, receiving a more serious and mature story. It actually feels like war, while the discussion of racial segregation in the military and the idea that Captain America, as the symbol America, should promote the idea of treating every man equally is really interesting stuff.

Hudlin’s story is greatly aided by Cowan, Janson and Pantazis’s artwork. It utilizes heavy black lines in the artwork to give the series a more serious, realistic look. Also the choice of colors was perfect as they create a clear distinction between good and evil. The Nazis, whenever they are the focus, appear washed out, and their clothes and surroundings are predominantly grays and blacks with the occasional deep red, especially blood, really standing out and making an impression. In comparison, Cap and the Americans seem livelier and utilize more color than the Nazis.

Hudlin and the team have managed to create a great first issue. The artwork is brilliant, and the story combines the right amount of familiar and new to have me looking forward to the next issue where Captain America’s exploits in Wakanda will be further explored.

– Troy Maynes, BC Books

Honestly I thought this was just going to be another “untold story” of Cap vs. the Nazi’s who somehow teams up with Black Panther in the middle and they kick Nazi @$$ together!

Boy was I wrong!

Well actually I was kinda right because that will probably roll out to be the bare bones of this story but the writing in this story is phenomenal! Hudlin does a superb job of really emphasizing fan favorite characteristics in each of the classic heroes and villians.
Cap is the genuinely good guy bleeding red, white and blue, Hiltler and the Nazi’s are all D-Bags, Fury and his Howling Commandos are rough around the edges trained killers, Baron Strucker is his one eyed diabolical self and Black Panther is the confident martial arts mastering monarch everyone loves.

This is a great story for anyone who picks it up period and the sketchy art by Cowan really does a nice job of complimenting the story.

– Steve V, One Stop Geek Shop

Through no fault of his own, I have never much cared for Reginald Hudlin as a writer. Back in 2005, when Marvel relaunched the BLACK PANTHER series there was a piece of copy that the company was using to solicit the series that rubbed me the wrong way. It was a divisive statement that tore down several of Marvel’s biggest names in an attempt, callous although it may have been, to make the Black Panther “hip.” The comment did not sit well, since was unnecessary, and more than a tad over the top. That and I cherished the previous volume of the character: The critically acclaimed Christopher Priest Marvel Knights series. To add insult to injury it sounded like Hudlin was retconning the character out of the Marvel Universe, in an attempt to “introduce” him once again. (Whether this happened or not, I do not know. This was the impression that I had.) Then came the Storm wedding stunt, and the least said about that the better. Ultimately, however, I wrote Hudlin off as a writer. He might have been good, I wouldn’t know. I found the entire affair off putting. If CAPTAIN AMERICA/BLACK PANTHER: FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is any indication of the man’s craft then I was surely mistaken. This entire mini-series has been a fantastic read. Set in World War II, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS sees a young, boyish Captain America’s first encounter with the Black Panther as the two unlikely allies must join forces to protect the fertile Wakanda from a Red Skull led German invasion force. This series has been packed with action and intrigue in equal measure. It’s a real testament to Hudlin’s skill as a craftsman that he is capable to juggle an ensemble cast of characters that include the likes of Marvel’s more outlandish back catalog of super villains, while at the same time tell a very personal story of the ofttimes overlooked Howler, Gabriel Jones. His dialog is crisp, sprinkled w/ enough humor to keep the affair a lively jaunt. For instance, I laughed out loud when Steve remarks that he’s trying out for the Yankees when he gets home. (Although, I’m glad to see that at least the captain knows better than to create a temporal paradox and didn’t say Mets. [ahem] Willingham! [ahem] Sorry, folks; inside baseball talk.) In addition, the series has treated us to the artwork of industry veteran Denys Cowan of Denny O’Neil’s THE QUESTION fame. Cowan brings a vital sense of dynamism to the proceedings; his characters exude power and force, appropriately evocative of the work of John Romita, Jr. I shall close out this review with the last few lines of the book. Upon hearing that Captain America has a friend in Africa, a GI is amazed and claims that he has friends everywhere. To which, Captain America replies, “That’s where we need them.” It speaks volumes that can be applied to the America’s position as the last remaining super power in the real world, and the responsibilities therein, as well as Captain America’s position as a true hero within his fictional one. And it is enough to make me want to go back and rediscover what I have been missing out on. With such a simple line, Hudlin is able to build bridges across hardened hearts and “that’s where we need them.”

Story: 5 – Excellent Art: 5 – Excellent

– James Seals, ifanboy