Peals of joy rang out last month when Marvel announced the long-rumored Black Panther film for 2017 as part of its prime Phase III lineup. Marvel quickly introduced Chadwick Boseman of 42 fame as the actor who will play the ebony-clad crusader king, and also revealed that Black Panther will make his fierce first appearance in Captain America: Civil War in 2016.
So, from where did this shadowy, regal figure emerge, and what are the attributes which add to his immense appeal? Leave an offering to the panther god and let's go back to the beginning ...
A HERO IS HATCHED
The first mainstream African-American superhero was created by the legendary comics team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and made his debut in the summer of 1966 in Fantastic Four #52. T'Challa, aka the Black Panther, is the hereditary chieftain of the technologically advanced African kingdom of Wakanda, and one of the richest men on the planet. This secret super-science country is also the world's only source of the ultra-rare unbreakable metal Vibranium, the material used to forge Captain America's mighty shield. His clawed and adorned tribal panther costume is not for the purpose of concealment, but more of an honorary suit symbolizing his awesome power as leader of the Panther Clan. He uses his superhuman feline cunning to overpower and outsmart his enemies, wielding an eye-popping array of hypersonic and laser weaponry.
FATHER KNEW BEST
T'Challa's father, T'Chaka, was the greatest warrior in the land and discovered a stockpile of Vibranium in the sacred Wakandan mountains. He was killed by a greedy explorer named Ulysses Klaw, whose company hoped to steal the precious metal for themselves to create a devastating sonic weapon. Klaw and Erik Killmonger, a banished Wakandan warrior named N'Jadaka, become two of Black Panther's main antagonists throughout his comic-book history.
HERE KITTY, THERE KITTY
Black Panther has appeared in many topshelf titles since his introduction, mostly as a member of the Avengers and in crossovers and team-ups with the entire Marvel Universe, including Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. In more than six decades prowling the pages of Marvel comics, he's been married to his teen love Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, battled Skrulls during the Secret Invasion event, fended off Doctor Doom, Man-Ape and the Ku Klux Klan, and even took over for Daredevil fighting crime in Hell's Kitchen.
Now spring into this instructive gallery of Black Panther comic books below and prep yourself on the snarling legacy of Panther lore.