Writer Evan Narcisse uncovers T’Challa’s first days as king!

We’ve all come to know and love T’Challa as the King of Wakanda, but few Black Panther stories have shown us how he came to the throne—and how he evolved into a leader—in the first place.

On January 8, RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER #1 kicks off a limited series that dives into the early days of T’Challa’s life and reign. Writers Evan Narcisse and Ta-Nehisi Coates join artist Paul Renaud to explore how the death of King T’Chaka changed both his son and the nation of Wakanda forever.

We spoke with Narcisse about his process, his collaborators, and writing an icon like Black Panther.

Marvel.com: You’re jumping from comic book journalism to writing comics themselves. How does it feel to make that transition?

Evan Narcisse: This is my first creative writing—my first published creative writing, I should say—and my first time writing comic scripts. Doing this job, I had researched what comic scripts looked like before. One of the things that was so daunting and encouraging ended up being that there’s no set format—everybody does it a little differently. Some people have really rich, florid descriptions in terms of art direction and what the characters think and feel. Some people have very lean pages. Mine probably tended more towards the former than the latter. It’s a lot harder than it looks from the outside looking in. It’s a hybrid beast that looks like a movie script but also has to do some actual storytelling in the document. You have to guide the artist but not restrict them. It’s a lot more surprising and eye opening than I thought.

Marvel.com: BLACK PANTHER writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has been working with you on this book. What’s that relationship like?

Evan Narcisse: He’s mostly consulting; the vast majority of the plot and the script come from me. I’ll run stuff by him and we’ll make sure we’re in sync in terms of whether T’Challa would do something this way or that. But, yeah, most of it comes from me. I’m a huge T’Challa fan and I have been for years, so I feel like I have a good internal sense of where I want him to be and how I want him to come across in this work.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to work with artist Paul Renaud on your first Marvel book?

Evan Narcisse: We met for the first time in New York City. I’ve seen his work around on CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON stuff and loved it. I saw what he did on GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS and thought it looked really great and felt super excited to find out he was going to be the guy on this book.

Marvel.com: Describe your process of creating RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER alongside Ta-Nehisi and Paul.

Evan Narcisse: The process of honing your skills happens in installments. What I’m thinking of now is, like, wanting to do things a little bit differently in an issue means you have to work ahead to iterate to see if you actually accomplished the ambitions you set for yourself or if it’ll going to put you behind schedule. It can be a really intense learning process.

I have the advantage of talking to Ta-Nehisi every day. We’re friends so we talk about comic book stuff anyway. He told me, “In a year’s time, when you’re still doing this, you’ll look back on these scripts and see how much better they could have been.” It’s been really fun just figuring out the tools and what tools work best for me and what tools I feel like I want to try out.

Also, it can be weird. I’ve realized that your fandom comes out not just textually but mechanically. So, the kind of comic book writing I’ve enjoyed since childhood has been coming out of me organically. Which isn’t to say my stuff will read like Denny O’Neil or my favorite writers, but there are certain rhythms I feel like I’m doing my own spin on.

Marvel.com: Which writers have influenced your work? Do you count any prior BLACK PANTHER scribes among them?

Evan Narcisse:  You can’t talk about BLACK PANTHER in 2017 without talking about Christopher Priest. He gave T’Challa a really intense refocusing and reimagining that is impossible to ignore. It’s masterful. As a comic book critic, I’ve written about Priest’s work many times over the years and, even though he’s been resurgent in 2017, he’s still underappreciated. I tweeted out earlier that I reread the “Storm und Drang” storyline from BLACK PANTHER #26#29, where T’Challa brings the world to the brink of war. Magneto, Dr. Doom, Deviant Lemuria, and Namor, all heads of state, powerful heads of state, jostle around each other with all these different agendas. I think it’s one of the best examples of geopolitical storytelling and the idea of statecraft in super hero comics. So, Priest for sure.

Someone who seems unsung, not in general, but in terms of shepherding a certain vision of T’Challa, is Jonathan Hickman. He wrote T’Challa in his FANTASTIC FOUR run, setting up the King of the Dead aspect of the character. That fed into NEW AVENGERS—one of the best Avengers comics ever, but a low-key T’Challa book. That version of the Illuminati met in Wakanda. Again, his wants and needs clashed with the duty he had to do as a super hero in his rivalry with Namor.

One other thing that’s important to me about Black Panther and his creative legacy is his importance as a character that black creators could touch and leave an imprint on. I feel like every time a black writer or artist or editor has worked on a Black Panther book, the sensibilities of the characters got strengthened. You can go back to Billy Graham as the artist on that amazing Don McGregor run in JUNGLE ACTION. He was a superlative artist for his time; his draftsmanship and the tools in his storytelling are all super ambitious and genius level compared to some of the other work from the 1970s. From him, to Priest, to Reginald Hudlin and now to Ta-Nehisi…it’s important. Black Panther has always been symbolically important and I think black creators feel opportunity, responsibility, and a sense of kindred energy when working on the character. I certainly do.

Marvel.com: Do writers from outside the world of comics influence you? What other writers—or even just books or films—inform your comic writing?

Evan Narcisse: Probably my favorite movie of all time is Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil,” this really dark, satirical fable about living in a dystopian society. Unfortunately, it feels pretty relevant, in terms of the control of information and the constant battle for political narrative supremacy, to where we find ourselves nowadays.

There’s a novel from 1981 called “The Chaneysville Incident” by an author named David Bradley. A good friend in college gave it to me to read and it blew my mind. It’s this story about a black historian who goes back to his hometown in the rural South to dig into his old family history. He finds out about the way that his forbearers grew up under Jim Crow and the kind of stuff they had to endure and rebel against and the personal cost of all of that on his family. It’s a very dark book, beautifully written. It has stayed in my mind while writing RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER because the story I’m writing is, in part, a generational one. It’s about T’Challa grappling with his own history.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a book called “Half of a Yellow Sun.” She’s an amazing Nigerian writer. One of the things I have to think about when writing BLACK PANTHER is the idea of diaspora. It may seem a little counterintuitive, because Wakanda has kept to itself and not a lot of Wakandans live outside of Wakanda, but I want to explore what it’s like when that does happen. What does it mean to come from an isolationist country? It can be exceptional and aspirational, but it’s xenophobic to a certain extent, by virtue of necessity. They’re on a continent where every other country got colonized and invaded. So there ends up being a certain warrior sociopolitical mindset that they’ve had to adopt and iterate on in order to maintain their status. But also, how long can you maintain yourself as an “island”?

That’s one of the things T’Challa has to grapple with. It’s not a spoiler to say that T’Challa’s big decision in the series will be to open up the country and declare their existence to the Western world and simultaneously deal with all the repercussions that happen internally and externally as a result.

Marvel.com: How did you land on telling the story of this liminal time in T’Challa’s life? It seems to have certain parallels with the upcoming “Black Panther” film.

Evan Narcisse: My conversations with Wil Moss, my editor, early on, were about an “early years” T’Challa story and the place I landed ended up being his first year as king. The first conversations we had were about T’Chaka and I came on the idea that T’Chaka’s assassination, his death, had to be a major political event in Wakanda’s history. It’d be like JFK’s assassination—the kind of thing that changes an entire country’s mindset. It’s the kind of event where you mark off time between everything that came before it and what comes after it. In the first issue, we explore some of what came before it, with T’Chaka in his prime—something we haven’t seen much. We’ve seen flashbacks and we’ve seen him a little older and we’ve seen him as a ghost. The “after” stuff will obviously be T’Challa’s reign. It’s an established part of the character that his father being this amazing king wears heavy on him. At the same time, he deals with threats his father never dealt with. So, that informs his decision to open up Wakanda.

And I’m super excited for the “Black Panther” movie. I can’t wait—I know this sounds corny—but I can’t wait for fans everywhere to explore this character and learn about him, because I think T’Challa is one of the best super heroes ever created. I think he’s thematically rich and an exciting character to watch evolve throughout his history. And I’m so honored to be a part of that evolution.

RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER #1, by Evan Narcisse, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and artist Paul Renaud, kicks off on January 3!

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Three legendary writers book return trips to Wakanda!

With writer Ta-Nehesi Coates doing stellar work on the current BLACK PANTHER series and T’Challa making his solo film debut in February, three of the most iconic writers to ever pen stories for Wakanda return to the hero they helped make a household name; in February 18’s BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL #1, three distinct eras of the Panther will be revisited.

Don McGregor, the foundation-building scribe behind stories like “Panther’s Rage,” teams up with artist Daniel Acuna for a tale that takes King T’Challa out of Wakanda and onto the streets of New York for a gripping mission. Then, former BLACK PANTHER writer Christopher Priest will be joined by artist Mike Perkins for a story starring friend of Wakanda Everett K. Ross. And last but not least, the man behind “Who is The Black Panther?” and the director the recent film “Marshall”—starring the MCU’s T’Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman—will reunite with artist Ken Lashley for a sequel of sorts to their classic, “Black To The Future!”

We reached out to each of these legends to pick their brains about coming to a character they left such indelible marks on.

Marvel.com: What excited you most about returning to Black Panther?

Reginald Hudlin: When I was told that the book would feature me, Christopher Priest, and Don McGregor each doing Black Panther stories, it just felt historic. I knew I had to be a part of it.

Christopher Priest: Nothing. Seriously, nothing at all. It was terrifying.

My original run, especially the Marvel Knights installments, have finally found an audience. When we were actually doing the book, we literally couldn’t give copies away. There was enormous sales resistance and a lot of literal hate—and threats—from fans outraged that we gave Panther an iPhone. Seriously; there was this anti-tech backlash, “purists” who, from what I could tell, were confusing Black Panther with Tarzan. Panther is not Tarzan.

So, in those days, I’d spend a lot of energy engaging these fans and trying to please, please, sir, get them to go read FANTASTIC FOUR #52 and learn who Panther really is rather than who so many fans apparently believed he was—some kind of caveman or maybe Ka-Zar. He’s not Ka-Zar. He is ruler of one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world. Yes, dude, he can use an iPhone.

Don McGregor: It was excitement I felt when [editor] Wil Moss first approached me about coming back to write the Panther after being away from T’Challa for decades. I loved writing him, and I spent years with T’Challa’s voice in my head, trying to “hear” not only him, but all the characters in Wakanda around him.

I actually wrote that I was of the mind not to do it up on my Facebook page. I did not want to disappoint the readers who held such love for these characters, and how much, over the years, these stories had meant to them. The worst fear the storyteller can have, I suppose, is that you come back with a short piece and the reaction is “Man, Don had it back then; he should have left it alone!” But, when I wrote about it in the social media so many people responded that they wanted me to do it, I began to re-appraise accepting while I was visiting my daughter in California.

Marvel.com: How do you feel about the character’s growing pop cultural profile, with his appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” and now his own upcoming film?

Don McGregor: I think it’s terrific! The Panther has always been an important super hero in opening up the comics medium to the different kinds of characters and stories that can be told. I spent years of my life with him, so there becomes an intimacy of daily contact with each other, of staying open to what you can do as you continue to write the next issue. You often spend more time with the title characters of your series than you do with many of the people you know. It becomes a part of you, facing the next page, the next panel, trying to get it as right as you can in the moment you are creating it.

I thought Chadwick Boseman [brought] the right combination of grace and momentum and solemnity and strength to The Black Panther that was always the way I saw him. I am so glad [Marvel staffer] Peter Charpentier made it possible for me to meet with Chadwick during the San Diego Comic-Con this last summer.

Christopher Priest: Well, I certainly think it’s great. Chadwick Boseman’s end-of-innocence portrayal of a young T’Challa elevated the game for African—and African American—super heroes.

Reginald Hudlin: I remember all the Black Panther scripts that had been developed over the years. Almost all of them horrible. There were drafts where he grew up in housing projects in America with no idea of his royal heritage. Just ghastly perversions of the original concept.

So, when then-Executive Editor Axel Alonso and I sat down to talk about what was originally conceived to be a [limited series], I wanted to tell the story right. I didn’t know if there would ever be a movie, but I wanted to create a document that would tell fans who he was and be a blueprint for what a movie should be. I haven’t seen the film, but looking at how Klaw is portrayed and the inclusion of characters I created like Shuri, it looks like that is the case.

Black Panther Annual #1 cover by Daniel Acuna

Marvel.com: Are there differences to how you approach the character now versus your original run on the book?

Don McGregor: Surely. You don’t have to do months of research to write a 12 page story as compared with a nearly 200 page graphic novel like “Panther’s Rage.” Back when I was first given the Panther to write there were multiple decisions that I had to make before I wrote one finished page. I not only read the comics; I had to research everything that would create the intricate details of Wakanda. Jack [Kirby] and Stan [Lee] had established it, but it was more a concept in those early stories, since they had a lot of characters with the Fantastic Four to interact with the Panther and whatever super villain they were fighting.

It was during those initial weeks that I discovered not one story had ever had anything to do with
Ramonda, the Panther’s mother, and I decided then that I would not mention her during “Panther’s Rage,” that this would be one big complete story, and then I would do a story dealing with South Africa and Apartheid. This would become “Panther’s Quest,” a story of a son, T’Challa, searching for his mother in an oppressive, racist regime, and how difficult such a place could make on the emotional turmoil of a son searching for a mother he has lost since childhood, a human theme I hoped everyone could relate to, and care about. As you can see, I was already concerned about where T’Challa’s life would go after “Panther’s Rage,” and before I wrote Book One of that series, I needed to know I had somewhere to go as a writer that would challenge me, but also make sure I was not writing the same story issue after issue.

Christopher Priest: Well, yes, I suppose. When I was writing the character 20 years ago, the mission was simpler: this is a story about a guy you think you know but you’ve, in fact, got him all wrong. Skip ahead 20 years, and now everybody is in on the joke. Reader expectation is different. Marvel Knights readers expected an overly serious homily on African culture, so we played against those expectations. Today’s audience already knows T’Challa is a capable—and deadly—adversary and technological genius, so I can’t write those “I can’t believe he took out Mephisto with one punch!” stories because, today’s audience knows he can.

Reginald Hudlin: Some fans on my web site asked me what story I would write if I ever came back to the character. There are a few I have in mind, but my favorite is a big epic story called World War Wakanda. It would be one of the big companywide crossovers. I only had six pages to tell my story, so I did an epilogue where you get glimpses of the result of the story  It also functions as a follow up to the “Black to The Future” story I wrote for the very first BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL.

Marvel.com: What do you think makes Black Panther such an iconic figure?

Don McGregor: I suspect many people love the idea of a character who can move with such power and grace and [certainty], and look absolutely terrific doing so! But, I have the feeling, also, for many people that they admire and want a leader who truly does want to represent as many of his people as he can, and doesn’t merely luxuriate in his power and abilities. I suspect we wish there were politicians that acted as honorably and with concern about all the people in their land.

Reginald Hudlin: He’s the African equivalent of Captain America. In the same way Cap embodies all that is good about America, The Panther symbolizes all that is great about Africa.

Christopher Priest: He’s the black guy. C’mon, let’s be honest. He’s the black guy. And he’s not angry, he doesn’t use slang or “Ebonics,” he pulls his pants up, he keeps his word. Black Panther shames us—all of us—by his nobility. He may well be the single most noble guy on Earth. Do your best. Keep your word. It’s all anyone can ask of you.

T’Challa’s, like, the last noble man on earth. I am by no means anywhere near that noble, but I aspire to be well, if not good, at least as good as I personally can manage. That’s the best any of us can do. Dude: be as good as you personally can manage. Eat your vegetables. Do your best. Keep your word.

Don’t miss BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL #1, from Don McGregor, Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, and their artistic collaborators, on February 18!

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Paul Renaud sharpens his pencils for the brand new series!

For a nation that prides itself on isolation, Wakanda sure seems to be drawing a lot of attention lately. Between the Ta-Nehisi Coates-penned BLACK PANTHER series and spinoffs like BLACK PANTHER AND THE CREW and BLACK PANTHER: WORLD OF WAKANDA, this advanced African nation continues to shine.

And on January 3, the spotlight gets brighter as writers Evan Narcisse and Coates join artist Paul Renaud to kick off a six issue limited series with RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER #1! Witness T’Challa’s early days, before he assumed the throne, as the man that will be king earns his stripes.

We spoke with Renaud about balancing the old and the new, journeying into Wakandan history, and working with Narcisse and Coates.

Marvel.com: To prep for drawing T’Challa’s earlier days, did you look to any previous runs on the character? Or did you prefer to completely develop your own take?

Paul Renaud: Well I worked hard to create a sense of continuity between what we’ve seen before in the previous runs of Black Panther, but also his appearances in FANTASTIC FOUR and AVENGERS, leading to Ta-Nehisi’s more recent run.

Marvel.com: How has it been developing these unseen elements of the character’s past?

Paul Renaud: It’s very exciting for me to be the bridge between the traditional aspect of how this character had been portrayed in the ’70s and re-injecting this into the character’s past, as his grandfather’s and father’s lives. That’s what I love the most about the Marvel Universe. There’s an obvious search for modernity—staying current—while at the same time trying to honor the past and building new opportunities and visions from it.

Marvel.com: Along similar lines, the early portion of the story will feature T’Chaka alongside T’Challa’s mother. How did you figure out their family dynamic?

Paul Renaud: It’s all about starting from the man we know, T’Challa, and going backward into the past to find out who his parents were and what they looked like. We wanted to show that T’Challa was born from the love of a king for the most unusual queen—a strong, independent, modern woman; a scientist that makes a strong impact over Wakanda and her husband. T’Challa has always been a bit torn between tradition and modernity. This book presents the chance to give a face to that inner conflict of his.

Marvel.com: Wakanda has a similar blend of tradition and cutting-edge modernity—what’s it like balancing those two elements on a nation-wide scale?

Paul Renaud: The first issue deals especially with change and how King T’Chaka will be a modern king thanks to his wife’s influence. We tried to base our approach on the traditional way of showing Wakanda in the earliest Black Panther stories, working our way up to buildings and a more modern architecture. I think it’s important to keep a strong identity to Wakanda. This imaginary country acts almost as a character on its own. Wakanda is a more sophisticated, wiser nation than the rest of the world. They’ve managed to reconcile modernity and nature like nothing we’ve seen anywhere else.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Evan, Ta-Nehisi, and the rest of the RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER crew so far?

Paul Renaud: Evan, Ta-Nehisi, and I met in New York during Comic Con to talk about the book, and we all really clicked. We discussed the project and the Marvel Universe in depth. We had a wonderful time. Stephane Paitreau, our colorist, came aboard later in the process. I also met him at NYCC where he showed me his work. I thought his warm, generous colors would just be perfect for a book like BLACK PANTHER. And they are indeed. It’s all about good timing!

RISE OF THE BLACK PLANTER #1, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Evan Narcisse, and Paul Renaud, illuminates history on January 3!

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Can Black Panther stop his mutated brother from destroying the planet?

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Family remained an important factor in Jack Kirby’s work throughout his entire career. He took on as much work as possible as the provider of his own clan and also wove that responsibility into many of his comics. BLACK PANTHER #810 from 1978 focused on these ideas as well when T’Challa dealt with problems while his own blood responded to a related threat back in Wakanda.

The first installment began with a masked man facing off against The Black Panther in Wakanda during the combat ritual which allows for any challengers to try and defeat the country’s champion for supremacy. To our surprise, the Panther fell and the hooded combatant turned out to be none other than T’Challa! We then cut to our hero himself flying a chopper back to his homeland and realize we’ve been feasting our eyes on a flashback. We’d seen something like this in AVENGERS #87, but not drawn by “The King”! His return home delayed once more upon seeing two people floating below him in a life raft.

Meanwhile, in Wakanda, the mutated Jakarra—T’Challa’s half-brother—continued his rampage throughout the nation after exposing himself to too much Vibranium. Driven mad, he decided to wage a war against his own people! Back in the copter, the men the Panther saved turned out to be less than reputable. In fact, the mobsters put a gun to the king’s head and demanded he fly them to Corsica. Instead, the savvy jungle king lurched the helicopter so that they all crashed. The mafia boss’ henchman perished, but Scarpa survived, leaving T’Challa questioning what he should do as he carried his unconscious attacker through the desert.

Black Panther (1977) #8

Black Panther (1977) #8

  • Published: March 10, 1978
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

At the same time, in Wakanda, N’Gassi spoke to a quartet of T’Challa’s extended family members who had been called on to serve in the Panther’s stead during his absence. The group included race car driver Khanata, businessman Ishanta, Zuni, and genius youth Joshua Itobo. Though even they didn’t know if they stood up to the task of stopping their rampaging cousin, the foursome soon found themselves tested as Jakarra burst into their meeting. Between their quick-thinking and brave actions, T’Challa’s relatives chased the threat away, and suddenly felt a newfound desire to fight for their nation.

The rechristened “Black Musketeers” donned Black Panther-esque costumes to face off against Jakarra. Over in the desert, the actual Black Panther could not figure out why he suddenly came across robots and aliens, only later realizing he’d wandered onto the filming location of a sci-fi motion picture! After an incredibly long journey, T’Challa finally made his way back to Wakanda and just in time as Jakarra threatened to destroy the entire planet by taking his ever-changing form to the Great Vibranium Mound. Though his brethren did their best to stop the imminent danger, it took the Panther leaping into action to actually stop his brother, destroying him in the process.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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In theaters May 4.

There was an idea…

The first official trailer for Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” has finally arrived. We began our Marvel Cinematic Universe journey together back in 2008. All roads lead to Thanos next year. Get your first official look at “Avengers: Infinity War” right here on Marvel.com above.

Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” the Avengers as we know it no longer exists. Lines were drawn; sides were chosen. The Avengers is nothing more than a team name without any team members. Can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put aside their differences and unite once more? Do they even stand a chance against the Mad Titan who delights in their failure and desperation? Can they stop his thirst for power and chaos as he begins to collect the Infinity Stones?

The trailer packs as many super heroes as it can in a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), and so much more.

“You can fight it. You can run from it. But destiny still arrives.” We know the trailer brought a smile to your face as much as pain and suffering put one on Thanos’ face. Now excuse us while we watch the trailer a thousand more times!

See the culmination of the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when “Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on May 4, 2018. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers and the rest of the MCU as it develops!

 

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With his new movie on the horizon, guests will be able to meet the King of Wakanda.

Early next year, Super Hero fans will explore the isolated and technologically advanced kingdom of Wakanda when Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” opens in theaters February 16, 2018. And for a limited time, Disney California Adventure park guests will have the opportunity to encounter the king of Wakanda himself, Black Panther.

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and Black Panther — is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

We’ll have more information to share soon – including the date for Black Panther’s arrival at Disney California Adventure park. And don’t miss “Black Panther,” in theaters February 16, 2018!

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Jack Kirby launches The Black Panther on another wild journey!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

In many ways, Jack Kirby acted as one of the best tour guides around. In addition to introducing readers to new and exciting characters, he also took us to some of the wildest places across the Marvel Universe. In the late 70s, while writing, drawing and editing BLACK PANTHER, he spirited fans to a relic-filled tomb, a new nation called Narobia, and on to the glorious Samurai City.

After returning King Solomon’s Frogs to their rightful place in the tomb, T’Challa intended to leave his new acquaintances Mr. Abner Little and Princess Zanda to pursue other adventures. However, fate—and Kirby—had other plans in mind as our hero found himself battling a Sacred Samurai at the end of BLACK PANTHER #4. Zanda and her Collector allies soon revealed all of this as a test to see if the Panther proved strong enough to go to the secret samurai city and bring back the Sacred Water-Skin.

T’Challa turned them down at first, but by issue #5 he agreed to travel to the fabled city only after Zanda threatened to fire a nuclear missile at Wakanda! With that, the king and Mr. Little ventured out in a hover-craft. As they neared the secret city, though, unknown forces blasted them out of the sky! Upon landing, they first faced the peril of a raging river and then the ferocity of a yeti! Both men attempted to take the beast on in their own way, but only walked away victorious after working together. However, that safety proved short lived as they then came face to face with a Ronin named Akiro who threatened their very lives.

Black Panther (1977) #4

Black Panther (1977) #4

  • Published: July 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Once again, Little and T’Challa proved a resourceful duo and defeated their foe. Afterwards, Little grabbed the Ronin’s sword. Upon waking up, the warrior revealed that his defeat should lead to his death. However, Black Panther told him that the Wakandan code forbade killing an unarmed enemy. To figure out what to do next, all entered the magnificent, underground Samurai City. To make good, the Panther met with their leader Shinzu and returned the Ronin’s sword to him in hopes of restoring his one-time opponent’s honor. To do so, the mysterious overlord decreed that T’Challa must fight another in hand-to-hand combat. Abner tried arranging it so that, if our hero won, they’d get a sample of the water of immortality, but the Wakanda king declined these machinations.

Unperturbed, Mr. Little used this distraction to sneak off and grab some long life liquid for himself. This affront to the denizens of Samurai City did not sit well and lead to yet another confrontation between the outsiders and their hosts. In the final issue of the story—#7—T’Challa revealed his true title of king, returned the stolen water, and requested a peaceful exit from Samurai City which Shinzu granted. Of course, their adventures would continue from there, but that tale will have to wait for another day…

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Get a look at the heroes and villains from Marvel Studios' February 16 release.

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” released several new character posters recently, spotlighting the impressive cast from the upcoming film.

Check out the gallery above to see the new looks at Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, and many more!

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

“Black Panther” hits theaters February 16! While you await the King, follow @theblackpanther on Twitter and like Black Panther’s official Facebook page!

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View Ulysses Klaw's change from an invader to a super-powered sound slinger!

 

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Klaw made his diabolical return to comics with this week’s BLACK PANTHER #166. He and T’Challa have raged against each other for years, which means that he makes an excellent candidate for this week’s FLASHBACK FRIDAY!

The character debuted in a very different form back in 1966’s FANTASTIC FOUR #53 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, which also happened to be Black Panther’s second appearance. In the previous issue, T’Challa brought the Fantastic Four to Wakanda and challenged them physically. In this one, though, he revealed his true purpose for bringing them to his homeland.  

Fantastic Four (1961) #53

Fantastic Four (1961) #53

  • Published: August 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The king showed his guests around and explained both the mantle of the Black Panther and the existence of Vibranium. In a flashback, we met Klaw who had arrived in Wakanda to mine the unique element. He needed it to power his own invention, the Sound Transformer. When T’Challa’s father refused permission, Klaw killed him.

Back in the present, Wakanda had been plagued by mysterious red creatures that left no trace when they finally fell in battle. While the Fantastic Four fought the projections, T’Challa went after the perpetrator himself. Klaw intended to kill anyone who stood between him and the Vibranium he craved. To put a stop to his enemy and avenge his father, T’Challa brought an entire mountain down on Klaw.

Instead of dying, though, the villain leaped into his own sound converter, thus turning his body into pure sound. The villain returned in a far more familiar form not long after in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #56. He popped up out of nowhere to trap Mr. Fantastic and Thing in Reed’s lab.  

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

  • Published: November 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Klaw then attacked Sue Storm and explained his new look and powers. “My physical structure is now composed of solidified sound – sound which serves me as a weapon, far greater than any ever known!”

Sue did her best to hold her own against the mad villain looking to prove himself. Meanwhile, Ben and Reed continued to try and escape from Klaw’s trap, which they eventually did! After Thing failed to drop the bad guy, Reed received a pair of Vibranium knuckles rocketed to Manhattan by T’Challa.

Properly armed, Richards knocked Klaw out with a few punches that would make Ben Grimm proud before smothering him with his own stretchy body. Having properly drained the villain of his powers, the team disabled his weaponry and then thanked Black Panther for his well-timed delivery.

Flash Forward

Klaw returned next in AVENGERS #5455 as a member of the Masters of Evil along with Whirlwind, Melter, Black Knight and Radioactive Man lead by the mysterious Crimson Cowl who turned out to be Ultron-5. The villains worked well together to take out the heroes! In the second issue, Klaw tried killing the Crimson Cowl, but failed. He then swore his allegiance. That failed to help, though, as the Avengers eventually escaped and Black Panther appropriately put Klaw down in the final battle. 

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

  • Published: November 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

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Track the evolution of one of Jack Kirby’s signature characters!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

As BLACK PANTHER enters the Marvel Legacy era this week with issue #166 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leonard Kirk, it feels fitting to look back to Jack Kirby’s various dealings with the character over the years. Kirby worked with Stan Lee to introduce T’Challa, Wakanda, and The Black Panther to the world in 1966’s FANTASTIC FOUR #5254. In that first appearance, T’Challa brought the renowned team—and Johnny Storm’s college roommate Wyatt Wingfoot—to his homeland and challenged them to a battle of epic proportions. In fact, the only reason the FF wound up on top proved Wingfoot’s unexpected presence and feisty attitude.

After enjoying a feast of epic proportions, The monarch of Wakanda asked his guests for help in figuring out a problem that wound up revolving around a new villain called Klaw who would go on to become one of Black Panther’s deadliest opponents. Following their eventual victory, the crew played baseball with T’Challa and his people before receiving wonderful gifts and returning home.

The Black Panther would appear here and there in the remaining issues of Lee and Kirby’s renowned FANTASTIC FOUR run, most prominently in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5 where he teamed up with the title heroes as well as the Inhumans to battle an army of super villains led by Psycho-Man.

Black Panther (1977) #1

Black Panther (1977) #1

  • Published: January 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

In 1968, Lee and Kirby had T’Challa fly Captain America to Wakanda in a similar fashion as he had the Fantastic Four for TALES OF SUSPENSE #9799 and CAPTAIN AMERICA #100. After a bit of an initial brawl, the two heroes worked quickly to destroy a weapon called the Solar Heat Projector that happened to fall under Baron Zemo’s watchful eye. The duo, aided by Sharon Carter, battled their way through Zemo’s minions, The Destructron, and Zemo himself to eventually win the day. This adventure with Cap even led to Black Panther’s entry into the Avengers not long after.

Jack Kirby would eventually return to T‘Challa’s adventures with the character’s very first solo series in 1977 which “The King” wrote, drew and edited. This book framed the Panther as a globe-trotting adventurer of sorts, on the hunt for a wildly powerful artifact called King Solomon’s Frog. BLACK PANTHER also introduced the hero and the world to a variety of interesting and wild characters ranging from Mr. Little and Princess Zanda to a Yeti and a secret society of samurai!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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