Who’s excited about the Marvel movie Black Panther? This girl that’s who! Let me give you a brief background on the character. Created by writer/editor Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1966, Black Panther (T’Challa to his friends) was the first super hero of African descent in American comics. He made his comic debut in The Fantastic Four #52 (1966) and joined The Avengers in 1968.
T’Challa is the King and protector of the fictional African nation Wakanda, which is a technically advanced nation that keeps itself hidden from the rest of the world, or at least they try to. Over his 52 year history the Black Panther mantle has been worn by a few people, including T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri (if you can find the graphic novel or comics in which she was the Black Panther, you will not be disappointed).
So, if you’re interested in Marvel’s The Black Panther and more, here are some library items that I found worthy.
Black Panther: a nation under our feet, book one by Ta-Nehisi Coates
MacArthur Genius and National Book Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) takes the helm, having T'Challa confront dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading his nation more difficult than ever before. A superhuman terrorist group calling itself The People sparks a violent uprising, and the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions is thrown into turmoil. As suicide bombers terrorize the population, T'Challa struggles to unite Wakanda, and a familiar villain steps out of the shadows. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt, but can its monarch, one in a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy is the head that wears the crown. This collects Black Panther (2016) #1-#4 and Fantastic Four (1961) #52
Black Panther: a nation under our feet, book two and book three are also available!
Captain America: Civil War
I’m a comic book reader. The first time I read the Civil War comics, I was in Texas for Wizard World Texas and never heard of the Civil War phenomena that was sweeping through the comic world. I purchased the 1st 5 issues in the series and waited until I was on a plane back to Oklahoma City to read them. I was hooked and felt a little trapped on the plane because I finished all of the issues I had and wanted more! So when I was back on land I ended up buying any comics related to Civil War (the same thing happened to me and Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, but that’s a story for another time). Now, the film Captain America: Civil War isn’t exactly like the comics, but the basics are still there. After the events in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, where the country of Sokovia was destroyed and then the tragedy in Africa (when a delegation from Wakanda were killed by an errant bomb sent into their room by Avenger Wanda Maximoff), many people feared the actions of the super powered community. In response to that fear, governments around the world came together to enact the Sokovia Accords. In the comics its call the “Superhuman Registration Act” and it basically requires all super powered individuals to register themselves and those in charge would let them know if their assistance is needed during a crisis. There is a Team Iron Man (pro-Accords) and a Team Captain America (the Accords suck!). It’s overflowing with superheroes, and my man T’Challa played by the wonderful Chadwick Boseman, makes his first appearance as The Black Panther. This, of course is a lead up to the Black Panther film.
Encyclopedia of black comics by Sheena C. Howard
From Eisner Award-winning author Sheena C. Howard comes the ultimate encyclopedia of Black comics. This comprehensive reference includes full-colored excerpts of previously published comics as well as entries for more than 100 accomplished publishers and creators. From inkers, illustrators, and writers to Black comic historians, and from convention creators to website founds, the Encyclopedia of Black Comics celebrates many of the talented people who have launched, developed, and produced the Black comic culture.
Power to the people: the world of the Black Panthers by Stephen Shames
To be honest this doesn’t have much to do with the comic character Black Panther, but they do share a name in common and when you look at it, they are both about changing the status quo. This book is filled with amazing photos and stories about the Black Panther movement. I remember when the library got this book in the collection and I just sat there thumbing through it and marveling at all of the things that the Black Panther party did for their communities. We always here about the violent part of the Black Panthers (and it’s not ignored in this book) but the good that they did isn’t always publicized. “Admired, reviled, emulated, misunderstood, the Black Panther Party was one of the most creative and influential responses to racism and inequality in American history. They advocated armed self-defense to counter police brutality, and initiated a program of patrolling the police with shotguns—and law books.” You know I can totally see T’Challa having this book on his bookshelf.
Also you can find a few Black Panther comics on Hoopla, including the Christopher Priest and Reginald Hudlin runs. You want to know who they are? Look them up in the Encyclopedia of black comics!