Welcome to Wakanda: The Evolution of Black Panther

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It’s a little like the chicken and the egg discussion. Did Stan Lee develop his Black Panther superhero after the Black Panther party or did they decide to use the name after hearing of the african king’s heroics. The truth would be that both most likely drew their inspiration from the  Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) in Alabama, which borrowed the fearsome Black Panther from the Clark University panthers.

The Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 in July of 1966. Real name T’Challa, the panther we meet in Marvel’s Black Panther and the comic book hero are as Black Pantherdifferent as the creative minds behind them.

Black Panther, real name is T’Challa, is the king and protector of the fictionalized African nation of Waknda.Black Panther possesses enhanced abilities earned through ancient Wakandan rituals of drinking the heart shaped herb. He also relies on his proficiency in science, rigorous physical training, hand-to-hand combat skills, and access to wealth and advanced technology to defeat his enemies.

Black Panther is the first mainstream superhero of African descent in American comics, pioneering the way for heroes such as the Falcon (1969) and Luke Cage (1972) or DC Comics’ John Stewart in the role of Green Lantern (1971).

Throughout The Black Panther storyline which ran through thirteen issues of the Jungle Action series, we’ve seen King T’Challa as well as Kasper Cole, a multiracial New York Black Panther2City police officer and even T’Challa’s sister Shuri for a time when he is left recovering from critical injuries take on the task of being the Black Panther.

The kingdom of Wakanda also underwent a realistic makeover to become a more believable African nation. Starting with king T’Chaka played by Xhosa actor John Kani of South Africa. Boseman as well as dialect coach Beth McGuire decided to maintain the Xhosa accent and located other national Xhosa speakers to aid in the development of an authentic dialect. The variance in the cast whose nationalities and ancestries ranged throughout the African diaspora created a truly organic dialect and gave Wakanda a real life of its own.  

The Black Panther has been featured in various television shows, animated films and video games with Chadwick Boseman as the most recent actor to portray our feral hero. First appearing in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War, and officially in the 2018 film Black Panther.

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