Character Spotlight – Black Panther

The Black Panther is the ceremonial title that is bestowed to the chief of the Panther Tribe (the Panther tribe is from the advanced African nation of Wakanda). In addition to ruling the Panther Tribe, the Black Panther is also considered as the chief of all the other various tribes (aka Wakandas).  In addition, the Panther is a symbol of office (head of state) and as such is in charge of the entire country.  Although the Black Panther is considered a hereditary title (passed on to the next chieftain), it must still be earned.

Wakanda is a society that is shrouded from the rest of the world.  This was due to the rulers of Wakanda belief that their country would be exploited by outsiders.  Their most precious resource known as vibranium (a vibration-absorbing mineral) was from a meteroite that crashed in their territory.

The current black panther is T’Challa.  He is the son of ruler T’Chaka and N’Yami which made him next in line for the throne of Wakanda.  However, until he was ready to assume the role, his uncle S’yan (T’Chaka’s younger brother) would serve as king.  T’Challa eventually earned the title and attributes of the Black Panther by defeating the different champions of the Wakandan tribes.

The Black Panther’s first appearance was in Fantastic Four #52, where he tricks the Fantastic four to come to his nation of Wakanda.  He then attacks and defeats them individually.  His main goal was to test and prepare himself for his battle with Klaw (a villain that utilizes sound as a weapon). Later T’Challa befriends the Fantastic four and assists them in their battle against Psycho man.  Later, the Black Panther joins up with the Avengers.

Did you know that Marvel’s Black Panther was the first African-American Superhero in mainstream American Comics?  His character was introduced in 1966 (Fantastic four #52) and predates the Falcon (1969), Green Lantern John Stewart (1971), Luke Cage (1972), Tyroc (1976), and Black Lightning (1977)….