He might be making his debut with Marvel Cinematic Universe only now, but Black Panther has been a household name for super-heroics for almost five decades.
For a superhero who has featured in innumerable comics adventures, be it cosmic journeys taking him to the depths of space to street fights with Klansmen, the life of Black Panther is open for everyone to see. Still, despite being such a hit over the past half a century, there are some odd bits of his personality which haven’t caught the public eye.
With that in mind, and on the eve of the Black Panther movie taking Hollywood by storm, we have decided to look back and explore the features of his personality not known to the layman.
Here are 3 things you don’t know about Black Panther …
#1: Black Panther was the first black superhero in history
Black artists have been creating comics for as long as one cares to remember. In fact, while you might find it hard to believe, one of the pioneers of adult-oriented graphics was an African American, Matt Baker, who is known for his work with the Phantom Lady.
Still, while the creators were Black, the superhero population wasn’t as diverse. And it remained so until the king of the African nation Wakanda – also known as Black Panther – was introduced to the world of comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in their flagship work, Fantastic Four #52 in the year 1966.
When asked as to how did he come up with the idea of a Black superhero, Kirby points the obvious, that his comics didn’t have black characters at that time, and that problem needed to be ratified sooner rather than late.
#2: Originally, Black Panther had a different name and a different costume
You might find it hard to believe, but the version of T’Challa created by Kirby was much different from the one we see today. Even the original name of T’Challa was not Black Panther, instead, it was Coal Tiger.
To describe the transition from Coal Tiger to Black Panther, different theories have come forward over the years – with the most famous being that the name Black Panther owes its name to an African American activist organization of the same name working at that time.
While we could only guess whether these rumors are true or not, everybody knows that Kirby, the creator of Black Panther, was politically active. Therefore, who knows whether he’d have given his character the Black Panther name just to impress the local audience?
#3: Panther fought Klansmen in his heyday
Throughout the 60s, and before joining the Avengers in 1968, Panther was a regular fixture in Fantastic Four. Still, in the early 70s and inside the pages of Jungle Action #6, Panther was starting to engage in one of his first solo roles. It was while playing these solo roles that he got wound up, and annihilated an entire block of Klansmen.
In Jungle Action #19, for instance, Marvel travels to Georgia to meet his girlfriend and gets confronted by scores of Klansmen. So striking was the imagery that Panther was shown strapped to a burning cross, after which he freed himself, with the wood still hanging on his backside, to take revenge from the entire Klan.