“Comic book fans rejoice!
Marvel’s iconic Black Panther superhero is making a comeback and with the polished prose of one of the most preeminent Black voices in our sociopolitical climate. Marvel Comics pegged journalist and bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates and longtime artist Brian Stelfreeze to conceptualize the new Black Panther comic, and readers are beyond excited. Issue #1 of the new series has already presold 300,000 physical copies ahead of its release date this Wednesday, April 6. To give you an idea, Marvel says the only numbers comparable from their collection are Star Wars (at one million copies) and Secret Wars, which sold 500,000 copies after being advertised on every Marvel comic for months before its release.
When Black Panther first surfaced in 1966 in an issue of Fantastic Four, he was the comic book publisher’s first major Black character and the first Black superhero in mainstream American comics. His significance is so palpable, Stelfreeze refers to him as the Barack Obama of comics.
Like most superheroes, Black Panther’s powers are not earthly endowed. His enhanced abilities and senses are a result of ingesting a sacred, heart-shaped herb, but perhaps more interesting than his extraordinary prowess is the character’s background story. The name, “Black Panther” is the title given to the king of a fictitious African country called Wakanda, which is the most technologically advanced country in the Marvel Universe because of a rare meteorite mineral found there called Vibranium.
Plus, it’s the only country that hasn’t been colonized by European forces. T’Challa is the latest Panther and the main character of the comics while his father T’Chaka, the previous Panther, was killed by his arch-enemy, Klaw, the son of a Nazi war criminal who came to steal the Vibranium. T’Challa was a tactician, inventor, and the functional head of state of Wakanda before he gained his powers. He is a man of great influence who has the entire country’s wealth and army at his disposal…”