The Black Panther
) is a fictional superhero
appearing in American comic books
published by Marvel Comics
. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee
and penciller and co-plotter Jack Kirby
, he first appeared
in Fantastic Four
#52 (July 1966). He is the first black
superhero in mainstream American comics, debuting several years before such early African-American
superheroes as Marvel Comics' the Falcon
and Luke Cage
, and DC Comics
, Black Lightning
, and Green Lantern John Stewart
. The Black Panther was ranked the 79th greatest comic-book character by Wizard
ranked the character the 51st greatest comic-book hero. Chadwick Boseman
will play the Black Panther in several scheduled films as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Black Panther is the ceremonial title given to the chief of the Panther Tribe of the advanced African nation of Wakanda. In addition to ruling the country, he is also chief of its various tribes (collectively referred to as the Wakandas). The Panther habit is a symbol of office (head of state) and is used even during diplomatic missions. The Panther is a hereditary title, but one still must earn it.
In the distant past, a meteorite
made of the (fictional) vibration-absorbing mineral vibranium
crashed in Wakanda, and was unearthed. Reasoning that outsiders would exploit Wakanda for this valuable resource, the ruler, King T'Chaka
, like his father and other Panthers before him, concealed his country from the outside world. T'Chaka's first wife N'Yami died while in labor with T'Challa
, and his second wife Ramonda was taken prisoner by Anton Pretorius during a visit to her homeland of South Africa
, so for most of his childhood T'Challa was raised by his father alone.
T'Chaka was murdered by the adventurer Ulysses Klaw
in an attempt to seize the vibranium mound. With his people still in danger, a young T'Challa used Klaw's sound weapon on Klaw and his men, shattering his right hand and forcing him to flee.
T'Challa was next in line to be the king of Wakanda and Black Panther, but until he was ready to become the leader of the nation, his uncle S'yan (T'Chaka's younger brother) successfully passed the trials to become the Black Panther. While on his Wakandan walkabout rite of passage
, T'Challa met and fell in love with apparent orphaned teen Ororo Munroe
, who would grow up to become the X-Men member Storm.
The two broke off their relationship due to his desire to avenge his father's death and to become the type of man who could suitably lead Wakanda, but they would see each other over the years when they could.
T'Challa earned the title and attributes of the Black Panther by defeating the various champions of the Wakandan tribes. One of his first acts was to disband and exile the Hatut Zeraze—the Wakandan secret police
—and its leader, his adopted brother Hunter the White Wolf.
He sold off small portions of vibranium to scientific institutions around the world, amassing a fortune which he used to arm himself with advanced technology.
Later, to keep peace, he picked dora milaje
("adored ones") from rival tribes to serve as his personal guard and ceremonial wives-in-training. He then studied abroad for a time before returning to his kingship.
In his first published appearance, the now-adult T'Challa invites the American superhero team the Fantastic Four to Wakanda, then attacks and neutralizes them individually in order to test himself to see if he is ready to battle Klaw, who had replaced his shattered right hand with a sonic weapon.
After the ruler makes proper amends to the superhero team, the four befriend and help T'Challa, and he in turn aids them against the supervillain the Psycho-Man
T'Challa later joins the Avengers,
beginning a long association with that superhero team. He first battles the Man-Ape
while with the group,
and then meets the American singer Monica Lynne,
with whom he becomes romantically involved. He helps the Avengers defeat the second Sons of the Serpent
, and then reveals his true identity on American television.
He encounters Daredevil, and reveals to him that he had deduced Daredevil's true identity.
The Panther eventually leaves his active Avengers membership to return to a Wakanda on the brink of civil war, bringing Lynne with him. After defeating would-be usurper Erik Killmonger and his minions,
the Panther ventures to the American South to battle the Ku Klux Klan.
He later gains possession of the mystical time-shifting artifacts known as King Solomon's Frogs
These produce an alternate version of T'Challa from a future 10 years hence, a merry, telepathic
Panther with a terminal brain aneurysm
, whom T'Challa places in cryogenic stasis.
Later, while searching for and finding his stepmother Ramonda, the Panther contends with South African authorities during Apartheid
T'Challa eventually proposes and becomes engaged to Monica Lynne,
though the couple never marry.
Years later, the Panther accepts a Washington, D.C.
envoy, Everett K. Ross, and faces multiple threats to Wakanda's sovereignty. Ross assists him in many of these threats. In gratitude, the Panther often risks much for Ross in return. The first threat he and Ross encounter is 'Xcon', an alliance of rogue intelligence agents backing a coup led by the Reverend Achebe.
Afterward, Killmonger resurfaces with a plot to destroy Wakanda's economy. This forces T'Challa to nationalize
Killmonger then defeats him in ritual combat, thus inheriting the role of Black Panther,
but falls into a coma
upon eating the heart-shaped herb—poisonous to anyone outside the royal bloodline, which had a hereditary immunity to its toxic effects.
T'Challa preserves his rival's life rather than allowing him to die.
Later, T'Challa finds he has a brain aneurysm like his alternate future self, and succumbs to instability and hallucinations. After his mental state almost causes tribal warfare, the Panther hands power to his council
and hides in New York City. There he mentors police officer Kasper Cole (who had adopted an abandoned Panther costume), an experience that gives T'Challa the strength to face his illness, reclaim his position, and return to active membership in the Avengers, whom he helps secure special United Nations status.
T'Challa then helps his old flame Ororo Munroe reunite with her surviving family members in Africa and the U.S.[volume & issue needed]
He shortly afterward proposes,[volume & issue needed]
and the two are married in a large Wakandan ceremony attended by many superheroes.
One of the couple's first tasks is to embark on a diplomatic tour, in which they visit the Inhumans
, Doctor Doom, the President of the United States
, and Namor
, with only that last ending well.
After the death of Bill Foster
, the Black Panther and Storm side with Captain America's anti-registration forces.
During the end battle between both sides, the Wakandan embassy
is heavily damaged, though no Wakandans are hurt.
After the confrontation, the Panther and Storm briefly fill in for vacationing Fantastic Four members Reed
and Sue Richards
before returning to Wakanda.
Upon returning to Wakanda alone, leaving Storm in New York to aid the X-Men, Black Panther faces Erik Killmonger, defeating him with assistance from Monica Rambeau
Afterward, Wakanda fends off the alien shapeshifters the Skrulls
, who had infiltrated as part of their "Secret Invasion
" plan to conquer Earth.
Prince Namor attempts to recruit T'Challa for the Cabal, a secret council of supervillains. Attacked by the forces of fellow Cabal member Doctor Doom, T'Challa is left comatose.
His sister Shuri
is trained as the next Panther, with the mantle passing onto her officially after T'Challa awakens from his coma and attempts to recover from his injuries.
In the aftermath, T'Challa loses all of his enhanced attributes given to him by being the panther totem. As a result, he works with his sorcerer, Zawavari, to accumulate a replacement.
He has since made a pact with another unknown Panther deity, returning his attributes to an even higher level as well as placing incantations on his body, making himself highly resistant to most magic and mystic assaults. This has all been done in preparation for the imminent battle with Doctor Doom,
which culminated in T'Challa rendering all of the processed vibranium inert to give his people a chance to rebuild without their dependence on the element.