Black Panther's Comics Origins
Let’s face it — Black Panther rules.
For those coming out of Captain America: Civil War with a newfound appreciation for Chadwick Boseman’s warrior king of Wakanda, here is a rundown of a few essential Marvel comics from the character’s past — as well as his present….
'Fantastic Four' Vol. 1 #52 (July 1966)
In Black Panther’s debut from writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the reclusive nation of Wakanda welcomes the Fantastic Four into its borders, but first they are tested in battle by its mysterious ruler.
'Jungle Action' Vol. 2 #5 (July 1973)
Black Panther’s first solo cover was a reprint of a 1969 Avengers issue, but writer Don McGregor and artists Rich Buckler and Billy Graham soon utilized the “Jungle Action” series for their pioneering “Panther’s Rage” storyline, which changed how comics were written by spreading the tale out over multiple issues.
'Jungle Action' Vol. 2 #19-24 (1976)
Black Panther’s race wasn’t incidental – it became core to his identity, particularly as he battled racism and injustice in McGregor’s historic “The Panther vs. the Clan” story.
'Black Panther' Vol. 1 #1 (January 1977)
The character’s first self-titled series began with writer-artist Jack Kirby’s bizarre tale about an artifact called King Solomon’s Frog and the opening of a time portal that brings a man from six million years in the future into the fight.
'Black Panther' Vol. 3 #1 (November 1998)
This run from writer Christopher Priest and artist Mark Texeira brought back some classic 1970s elements of the character but also introduced some major changes for T’Challa, including pairing him with American diplomatic agent Everett K. Ross (played in Civil War, and presumably the future Black Panther stand-alone movie, by Martin Freeman.)
'Black Panther' Vol. 4 #1 (April 2005)
“Who Is Black Panther?” was the subtitle for filmmaker Reginald Hudlin’s first story arc on the series, done in collaboration with artist John Romita Jr. This run reintroduced the Wakandan leader as a new threat was amassing on the nation’s borders, with Klaw, the killer of T’Challa’s father, and Rhino, Spider-Man’s old foe, among the horde. This series also saw him marry X-Men mainstay Storm.
'Black Panther' Vol. 6 #1 (April 2016)
We arrive at Black Panther’s present. The latest take on the character is by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (a National Book Award winner for his exploration of race and politics Between the World and Me) and artist Brian Stelfreeze. Wakanda is in turmoil with civil war imminent, and even T’Challa is questioning whether a monarch of any type is good for his people. Issue #2 hits stores on May 11…