Are you excited about the upcoming Black Panther movie? Don’t forget that the character started as a comic book and that there are a lot more stories left to tell when the movie ends!
Black Panther is arguably the first African American superhero to appear in mainstream American comics. The character lives a double life as T’Challa, the king of a mysterious, African nation of Wakanda. Inspired by his people’s mythology, he also inherits the alter-ego of the “Black Panther,” donning a full-body suit, as other previous members of the royal family have done for hundreds of years. Combining rituals and proficient science, as well as his own training to become a skilled fighter, he, like many similar heroes, took on the mantle after the tragic assassination of his father, King T’Chaka.
He has also had different incarnations over the years and encountered other Marvel heroes. In fact, his debut came from a “diplomatic” meeting with a certain, other Marvel team, but more on that later…
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best Black Panther comic stories!
Top 5 Black Panther Comics
Black Panther’s First Appearance
A lot of comic book characters make their debut in other characters’ stories and this includes the Black Panther. He first appeared in a Fantastic Four two-parter: #52-#53. The character greets the titular four as they go on a diplomatic mission to Wakanda; the Black Panther follows them home to the United States and, after testing their ability, asks them for help with a grave mission.
If anything else, the irony that Michael B. Jordan is both in the Black Panther film and a certain Fantastic Four film has just gone full circle!
Black Panther’s First Starring Series
In the late 1970’s, Black Panther had his first spin-off series, after appearing as a recurring guest character in other Marvel comics. While it only lasted 15 issues, with some of the unpublished stories being printed in other anthology comics, it would prove to be the first of many, with a follow-up series coming out just around ten years later!
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear
Posing as an immigrant named Mr. Okonkwo, T’Challa became the protector of Hell’s kitchen and blended in with everyday people. This incarnation of the character also deals with serious issues like child abuse and vigilantism.
A Nation Under Our Feet
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, this arc takes a different spin on the character. Given that Black Panther’s alternate identity, T’Challa, is meant to be the actual king of Wakanda, he must contend against a superhuman terrorist group dubbed “The People.” The story also places focus on members of Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces.
Rise of the Black Panther
A Nation Under Our Feet was later given a prequel series that dealt with T’Challa’s family, notably his grandfather, who even gets to meet Captain America. At times, you can forget how old he is supposed to be! In addition, the series takes a look at some of T’Challa’s early years as king of Wakanda.