Get to Know the Black Panther With These Essential Reads
Because one movie won’t be enough to satisfy all the Marvel superhero’s newest fans.
On February 16, Black Panther will hit theaters as one of the most anticipated Marvel movies in recent memory, which is no small feat considering the hype that typically surrounds that cinematic universe. Chadwick Boseman plays the title character two years after stealing the show in Captain America: Civil War, though that cameo only teased the character rather than provide a thorough background. So while comic book diehards may know the Black Panther’s origin story as the Wakandan prince T’Challa, most moviegoers will likely need a primer. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of great Black Panther material for even the greenest fan. Check out a few of the most noteworthy graphic novel titles below.
Black Panther: The Complete Collection Volume 1 by Christopher Priest, $23 on Amazon:
For decades after his inception in 1966, Black Panther had played second fiddle to Marvel’s more popular superheroes. Fortunately, in 1998, a reboot by former Green Lantern writer Christopher Priest breathed life into the character, giving the series far more depth, wit, and a biting political perspective. This collection includes the first 17 issues of Priest’s run.
Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther? by Reginald Hudlin, $17 on Amazon:
Naturally, this is a good place to start if you’re unfamiliar with the character. This 2006 arc provides T’Challa’s origin story and stretches as far back as World War II to explain the Black Panther legacy across multiple generations. To sweeten the deal, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman cited this graphic novel as the basis for his portrayal.
A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates, $11 on Amazon:
It’s not often you see comics written by a MacArthur Genius Grant and National Book Award winner. Coates, best known for his book Between the World and Me, takes the reins on the Black Panther series, and delivers a morally complicated storyline as T’Challa struggles to hold his kingdom together in the face of an increasingly popular terrorist group.
Secret Invasion: Black Panther by Jason Aaron, $21 on Amazon
The fictional country Wakanda is famous for having never been conquered, so naturally this brief spin-off features the alien Skrull race attempting to invade T’Challa’s homeland. While not the most substantive run of Black Panther, it’s certainly one of the most fun—and goriest!
Black Panther: Civil War by Reginald Hudlin, $3 on Amazon:
Marvel’s Civil War series served as the basis for the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War. In this Black Panther installment, T’Challa and his queen (Storm from the X-Men) take a diplomacy tour around the globe while trying to navigate a dangerous Civil War brewing between Iron Man and Captain America.
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