“Black Panther has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity over the past year, thanks to a scene-stealing role in Captain America: Civil War (played by Chadwick Boseman), a solo movie planned for 2018, anda critically-acclaimed new comic series from award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Black Panther’s buoyed popularity also has coincided with the character’s 50th anniversary; he first appeared in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four #52 in 1966). So this year at New York Comic Con, Marvel assembled Black Panther writers past and present to discuss the character’s legacy. Panelists included Coates, current Black Panther artist Brian Stelfreeze, ’90s Black Panther writer Christopher Priest, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, artist Alitha Martinez of the upcoming series Black Panther: World of Wakanda, rapper Darryl “D.M.C.’ McDaniels of Run-D.M.C., and James Monroe Inglehart of Broadway’s Aladdin. Here are the five best takeaways.
1. McGregor was pressured to include white characters in his stories, so he used the KKK
McGregor was writing Black Panther stories (in a series calledJungle Action, which had previously been used for reprints of racist old “jungle” comics) long before the character enjoyed his modern recognition and success. Nevertheless, he did his best to build up King T’Challa’s world. Since the character’s home of Wakanda had been established as a closed-off, secret civilization, McGregor populated his stories with mostly black characters. In doing so, he created a vision of Wakanda that Coates said was a jumping-off point for his modern stories with Stelfreeze. But McGregor faced some pushback from Marvel editors, who he said pressured him to include more white characters. He responded with a storyline in which Black Panther faced off against the Ku Klux Klan…”