World of Black Heroes: Reginald Hudlin Interview
As busy as he is directing, writing and ruling the world Reginald Hudlin Writer, Director, businessman and all around comic book fan sat down with world of black heroes for a heart to heart about all things Black Panther. The Black Panther animated series, is there a black Panther movie? Flags of our fathers and working with marvel comics we ask it all!!!
Well, they can go to www.hudlinentertainment.com and find out tons about me! I’ve got my bio and a reel of my work there, and I post regular updates about my life and career and participate quite a bit on the forum pages. You can even buy the comics you read about in this article on the site. I’ve also started www.reggiesworld.com, a retail section on my site where you can buy comics, posters, statutes and DVDs because I’m tired of turning people onto comics and then having to explain where to find a comic book shop in their area.
Growing up who was your favorite superhero and why?
I never had a favorite character. I’d read everything from Marvel to DC to Gold Key to Harvey and enjoy them all. But I had a special appreciation for black characters like Black Panther and Luke Cage, and would get upset if I felt they weren’t being written appropriately. I didn’t like it if Black Panther didn’t get enough shine in the Avengers. I didn’t even like that Luke eventually had to share his book.
What was the experience like working with Marvel Comics?
It was fantastic. Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso understood where I wanted to go with the character and were incredibly supportive in every way. They got me great artists, marketing support and were understanding of my brutal work schedule. They were also supportive of the Black Panther animated series, which was a very unusual project.
To me Priest was the writer who restored Black Panther to the intentions implied in his debut appearances by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
What do you believe were the highlights of your run on Black Panther?
I think the first six issues (collected in WHO IS THE BLACK PANTHER?) were very strong. So many people don’t know who the Black Panther is, so having a book that doesn’t rely on previous knowledge of the character or the Marvel Universe is very useful. It also delivers the tone that fans of that character want – a strong, intelligent, regal, kick ass character from an advanced, strategically sophisticated, and tough as nails country.
To say they are a power couple is an understatement.
I also like the storyline collected in the BAD MUTHA book because it is the only team up of some of the biggest black super heroes – the Black Panther, Luke Cage, Blade and fan favorites like Brother Voodoo and Monica Rambeau.
The Civil War issue was probably my favorite dialogue. The conversation between Namor, T’Challa and Ororo was a pleasure to write.
Tell us about the relationship between Storm and T’challa? Why do you think they were meant to be together?
It’s hilarious to me when haters say the marriage between a Wakandan King superhero and a Kenyan Princess superhero is “forced”. When the people who complain endlessly about “decompressed storytelling” complain that the wedding was “rushed” even though it was set up for months with two different storylines published. They should just admit they want Storm with Wolverine and they don’t care about Black Panther one way or the other. Although if you’re really into Storm, why would you want him to have Jean Grey’s leftovers? T’Challa and Ororo are so perfectly matched it feels like they were created for each other.
I wrote the only Black Panther Annual EVER and that story BLACK TO THE FUTURE is about T’Challa and Storm’s five children. Some of them had powers, some didn’t. One day I would like to go into more detail about who they are and what they become…do a DUNE-style generational epic.
You and Mayberry worked together briefly before you left black panther, what are the chance of you two teaming up again?
No plans, but I’d be open to it. Mayberry is a gracious, classy dude who loves the character.
I’ve spoken to quite a few celebs this year and I must say your easily one of the most humble and humane. How do you find time for fans with your hectic schedule?
Thank you. I use facebook as a work avoidance tool.
Because of the “sliding timelines” of Marvel, T’Chaka used to be the Panther that Cap met in World War Two. But now it’s Azzuri, who is a cool character I written about in the Civil War issues of Cap as well as FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS.
During your run T’chaka despite being T’challa’s dad was never really given much of a spotlight, Were there ever plans to “flesh out” T’chaka?
Yes, I have a sequel of sorts to FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS about T’Chaka, who appears in FLAGS as a kid. It’s pretty kick ass period story that connects him to a lot of Marvel characters and real historical characters. I just haven’t had time to develop the proposal.
I’ve always been fascinated by S’yan the swift…..you left him in the background a lot can we ever hope for a story where his time as Panther will see the light of day?
Family is so important to royalty so I added a lot of family members for the Panther. I gave T’Chaka a brother, S’yan, who ran things after his brother’s death until T’Challa was old enough to take the reins. He’s a key guy because he keeps things running while T’Challa is gallivanting around the globe fighting Dr. Doom or spying on the Avengers. I always thought his death would be a major event in the world of Wakanda because you need that trusted guy with his eye on things back home.
I’m working on several comic book projects right now. One is a major graphic novel that I’m almost done writing. There are two more projects in the works that are creator-owned properties that are also pretty hot. I do have some more Black Panther ideas but Axel Alonso, who the editor during my run on the book, is no longer working on the character, so I would have to see if the new editor is interested in the type of stories I want to tell.
What can you tell us about the Black Panther DVD set (which me and everyone have been clamoring for since forever) which was recently announced?
It’s the whole series, uncut, and it’s generated some of the best buzz of anything I’ve done. Some people think it’s better than the original books it’s based on, and a lot of people watch it and can’t believe something this politically provocative ever got made. Lot of compliments about the look of the show too.
I’m taking pre-orders for the Black Panther DVD at www.reggiesworld.com if folks want their copies autographed.
How did the Black Panther become an animated series under your watch?
When I did my deal with BET, I had already started writing the series for Marvel. I specifically put a carve out in my deal so I could continue writing. There was no way I would going to become an executive with no direct creative outlet. So I wrote in on redeye flights, in hotel rooms, early in the morning before my kids woke up.
One day at the office a couple of the staff members suggest we should do it as an animated series. I said that would be cool but didn’t pursue it. But Denys Cowan, my head of animated did. He produced a five minute short that literally blew everyone away. I didn’t even know about it till he showed me. I took it to Marvel and everyone there flipped. They gave me the okay to pursue it, so I took it to Debra Lee the Chairman of BET, and she was very happy to say yes. She was hoping BET would get a Panther series.
By the time the show went into production, I had left the network, so I stepped in, writing the show, casting the voices, and just being all over the thing. The animation house titmouse was great considering how hands on I was.
Any chance of us seeing a season 2 for the Black Panther animated series?
If people really support this DVD, yes.
Casting an African actor seemed like a good idea to me, and since there was Academy Award-nominated African actor who looks like a superhero and was interested in the role, it was a no-brainer.
Djimon took it very seriously and worked really hard. He’s a really nice guy and he’s married to my St. Louis homie Kimora, who I’ve known for years.
I can’t say enough about the fantastic score by Stephen James Taylor. He is a brilliant composer who generated an amazing amount of music in a brutally short window of time. I come into a show with a lot of ideas about music, usually weird ones, and the composer has to make sense of it all. He got where my head was and took it further. I loved working with him.
What secrets can you tell us about the Black Panther Movie?
None. I don’t know any.
Who would you cast as the titular Black Panther in a Black Panther Movie?
I’m not at liberty to say.
Man, again with the praise. I’m blushing!
I’m working some movie projects, some TV projects, a couple of books and maybe a live show.
What would be your dream project (movie or comic book)?
I’m working on original material now that will hopefully be both.
Tell us something comic related that you’ve never told anyone before.
I’ve never seen STEEL or CATWOMAN. I’m a black filmmaker who writes comics, which has got to be the ultimate in target demo. That’s how unappealing those movies were to me.
Thanks for your time Reggie it was a pleasure and good luck on all your future endeavors.