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18 Facts About Black Panther

Black Panther is a superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. We’ve put together 18 facts, to help you become a Black Panther expert.

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Character

Real Name:
T’Challa

Height:
6 feet

Weight:
200 lbs (90 kg)

Powers:
T’Challa’s senses and physical attributes have been enhanced to superhuman levels by the heart-shaped herb.

Abilities:
T’Challa is a brilliant tactician, strategist, scientist, tracker and a master of all forms of unarmed combat whose unique hybrid fighting style incorporates acrobatics and aspects of animal mimicry. T’Challa being a royal descendent of a warrior race is also a master of armed combat, able to use a variety of weapons but prefers unarmed combat. He is a master planner who always thinks several steps ahead and will go to extreme measures to achieve his goals and protect the kingdom of Wakanda. less

Group Affiliations:
Formerly Fantastic Four, Secret Avengers, Avengers, Pendragons, Queen’s Vengeance, former Fantastic Force financier

First Appearance:
Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #52 (1966)

18 Black Panther Facts

[1] Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream comics. T’Challa made his comic book debut in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966), where he put himself to the test by attacking and defeating Marvel’s first family. His initial appearance, though predated by characters like Marvel’s Gabe Jones and Dell Comics’ Lobo, cemented Black Panther’s place as the first super-powered hero in the medium’s mainstream history. DC Comics’ first black superhero, John Stewart (the second Green Lantern), wasn’t introduced until nearly five years later. Two of the greatest minds in comics created Black Panther, writer/editor Stan Lee and penciller/co-plotter Jack Kirby.

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[2] Old comics can be extremely valuable – and any that both have age and represent specific milestones tend to be worth an awful lot – and the comic that introduced Black Panther is no different in that regard. The raw value of a mint condition Fantastic Four #52 can be anything up to $9,000, but if the copy is graded and sealed you can expect it to be worth anything up to $18,000.

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[3] While some mistakenly assume that Black Panther is simply T’Challa’s superhero moniker, it’s actually an earned ceremonial title given to the chieftain of the Panther Clan, the ruling tribe in the fictional African nation of Wakanda.

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[4] Wakanda is a technologically advanced African nation. An exceedingly rare metal called Vibranium is mined there, making it one of the richest and most technologically advanced nations on Earth. The worthy men and women of Wakanda are all trained as warriors to protect their homeland.

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[5] When he won the title of Black Panther, he was permitted to consume the special heart-shaped herb that only grows in Wakanda. Legend has it that the herb was a gift from the Panther God that the local deity worshiped, but in reality it was merely a plant that had mutated after exposure to the giant meteorite of Vibranium which crash-landed in Wakanda and now supplies the country with the unbreakable metal.

Only certain people (generally only Wakandas) can use it without terrible side effects, but those who can use it gain enhanced speed, agility, strength, endurance and healing (all to levels similar to someone like Captain America, for example). The user also gains enhanced senses, which allows them to see in total darkness, track any scent and hear an enemy’s heartbeat. T’Challa has thousands of smells memorized (so he can actually hunt and track prey like the animal he’s named after), and he just so happens to be a world-class hand-to-hand combatant. An expert gymnast and martial artist, he has studied and mastered just about every known fighting style in the world.

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[6] His most impressive attribute is his remarkable mind. T’Challa has a genius-level intellect, and has been acknowledged one of the eight smartest people on the planet on several occasions in the comics. With a Ph.D. in Physics from Oxford University, T’Challa is a highly skilled scientist and inventor, as well as a brilliant tactician and strategist.

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[7] A proper king needs a squad of impossibly bad ass warriors to watch his back, right? For Wakandan royalty, those impossibly bad ass warriors are the Dora Milaje, also known as the Adored Ones. This fighting force consists exclusively of women, usually with their martial arts skills polished to a high sheen and their heads shaved to an equally shiny degree. They’re recruited from every different sect in Wakandan politics and they’re meant to represent potential queens.

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[8] He’s been in quite a few of Marvel’s animated Features and TV Shows. He was in an episode of the Fantastic Four cartoon back in 1994. He even popped up on the ’90s X-Men show for a small cameo, he appears in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and he even had his own Prime Time cartoon on BET for a time. On that show, he was voiced by Djimon Honsou, who played Korath in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

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[9] Black Panther married Storm of the X-men in 2006, but their marriage didn’t last long. Eventually the marriage was annulled in 2012, when Namor attacked Wakanda and T’Challa felt he had to focus more on being a king than a husband. However, many speculate that the reason why their marriage was annulled had more to do with Marvel’s movie plans for Black Panther rather than the characters themselves.

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[10] Black Panther has been on most every Marvel superhero team! He’s been an honorary X-Men due his marrying Storm. He’s taken over for Sue and Reed Richards, alongside Storm, to fill out the rest of the Fantastic Four, not to mention his stints as a member of the Fantastic Force and the Defenders!

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[11] Wesley Snipes almost played Black Panther in a movie. A live-action adaptation of Black Panther has been in some stage of development since 1992, a time when Snipes’ career was on a serious hot streak. Snipes reportedly pushed for years for the film to receive an official green light, even after he signed on to play another Marvel character, Blade. Marvel reportedly didn’t want one actor playing both iconic heroes at that point.

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[12] In the Marvel films, Tony Stark flies around the planet aboard slick supersonic jets. What the movies don’t mention is that neither SHIELD nor Stark are actually responsible for making those planes. The Quinjets are, in fact, designed and built by the Wakanda Design Group overseen by T’Challa himself. It’s just one of the many, many ways Wakanda is a world leader in technology.

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[13] T’Challa’s father T’Chaka was one of the greatest Black Panthers ever, putting a lot of pressure on his successor.

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[14] Back in the days before Black Panther had made his first appearance, the original idea was to have him in a very different costume and to give him a very different name – he was going to be called the “Coal Tiger”.

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[15] To make a very long, great, story arc short- Namor tries to recruit T’Challa to the Cabal (a group of supervillains with their own motives and ways to save the world). When he refuses, Doctor Doom attacks him, leaving him comatose. His sister Shuri, who is also trained as a Panther, takes up the mantle for a time while he recovers. She’s been a/the Black Panther on and off again (whenever it is needed) ever since. In the Ultimate comic universe, Captain America even took up the title for a bit (but that was for deception not for the protection of Wakanda).

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[16] In Wakanda, there’s a city of the dead known as the Necropolis. The remains of every Black Panther who ever held the title before T’Challa rest in the Necropolis, and someday his body and spirit will reside there as well.

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[17] He’s a Member of the Illuminati. The Illuminati are a secret group of the worlds smartest heroes. Iron Man gathers all of them to form a government of superheroes after the Kree -Skrull War. They decide the fate of the world in many ways and are an integral part of the Incursion event leading up to Marvel’s big Secret Wars event.

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[18] While T’Challa’s live action debut comes courtesy of Captain America: Civil War, a Black Panther solo movie is set to hit theaters in 2018. To direct, Marvel Studios has enlisted Ryan Coogler, whose credits include the acclaimed true story Fruitvale Station and the Rocky spin-off Creed.

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