Welcome to A Brief History Of, a series in which I give you the rundown of your favorite characters in comics from powers and abilities to costume history.
To launch the new series here on PBN, I thought it would be a good idea to start with the character who has been getting the utmost (and well deserved) hype: Black Panther.
I figure most of you already know who this immaculate man is, but just in case you found your way here and you don’t know, let me tell ya…
Black Panther was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and made his first appearance in 1966 in the 52nd issue of The Fantastic Four in which he promptly defeated the team. He did this hoping that they would be great allies to him in defeating Klaw who was the man behind killing his father, T’Chaka.
T’Challa, however, became the Black Panther by defeating his uncle, King S’yan, in a ritual that allowed anyone who was Wakandan royalty to challenge and defeat the current rule in hand-to-hand combat.
He vowed to service all mankind after realizing that the more his country thrived, the bigger of a threat it would become.
During his time in the Marvel Universe T’Challa has joined The Avengers (only after having been framed for the death of some) and providing the Quinjet, teamed up with the X-Men and meeting and dating Storm who would become his wife, teamed up with Storm and Shuri to defeat the Skrull, had his marriage annulled in that hot mess that was Avengers vs. X-Men and joined The Ultimates…just to name a few milestones.
He’s Got The Power
From the outside looking in, it might seem like T’Challa is just another Tony Stark. A man who uses technology to his advantage but has nothing else going for them once the tech is stripped away. But to me, that seems far from the truth. If you strip T’Challa of his costume, he’s still got powers and abilities that can’t be beat.
In order to become a chief of the Panther Clan, he had to eat the Heart-shaped Herb that everyone before him had to consume. The herb itself provides the consumer with enhanced endurance, strength and reflexes. Being blessed by the Panther Gods elevates everything including the senses to superhuman levels.
He has the power to draw from experience, strength and knowledge of every Black Panther before him and has killer agility, senses, strength and speed. Due to the herb, his healing ability is also at it’s all time high.
In the realm of abilities, he’s got genius level intellect and is a master combatant. He mastered all known weapons, is an expert marksman and is multilingual. That’s just the tip of the abilities iceberg.
The Suit Makes The Man
What we see today is T’Challa in a slick vibranium laced suit with retractable vibranium claws. Yeah it’s a mighty fine look for the modern Panther but he was also blessed with some great looking suits before.
T’Challa once sported a Thrice-blessed armor which was said to be 10x as strong as his original suit. Then there’s the sort of unfortunate Manga-Verse costume in which he could change into a were-panther and his look was more like humanoid panther with Egyptian garb. However, the most popular look is the suit accompanies with the high standing dramatic collar and long billowy cape.
Needless to say, no matter what he wears, he makes it work.
Get Your Read On
If you need to get some Black Panther in your life before the movie hits, I recommend trying to find his first appearance and that in and of itself if Black History at it’s finest for comics.
You should also check out the Ta-Nahisi Coats run of Black Panther or Rise of the Black Panther which is a six-issue run also by Ta-Nahisi Coats with the first issue just having dropped on January 3rd.
Thanks for joining me on this brief journey through T’Challa’s story! I know we are all excited for the film and that alone will add more history to this already eventful backstory.
To get some Black Panther wearables, check out the Dora Milaje Training Academy shirt by southerncynic on Twitter, Clarks x Black Panther shoe collab or the Wakanda collection of tees from Adorned By Chi.
Lastly, if you haven’t gotten your tickets for Black Panther yet, what are you waiting for!? Also, the rad ladies here at PBN are putting on their own Black Panther event so if you’re in the Dallas/Forth Worth area and wanna see this movie with some rad people, RSVP and get your ticket!
Until next time, folks!