Black Panther Origins

Before watching Black Panther, it is interesting to know its origins as a comic. With the rise of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Marvel was under scrutiny of not having any black superheroes. African Americans wanted a superhero they could relate to. In an interview with The Comics Journal, co-creator Jack Kirby stated, “I had a lot of black readers. My first friend was a black! And here I was ignoring them because I was associating with everybody else” (Groth,1). Marvel recognized they needed to correct their faults. Thus, the Black Panther was created. 

It is most interesting to note when the Black Panther was created America was undergoing an extreme civil rights movement and racism was a part of everyday society. Creating an African superhero was extremely risky for Marvel. They could have possibly angered thousands of their readers. However, they did what was right and moved forward with the creation of the character.  Black Panther was created in 1966 and was featured in Marvel’s Fantastic 4 comic. The superhero was created by comic icons Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This would be Marvel’s first superhero of African descent. In 1968 Black Panther joined the ranks of the Avengers, Marvel’s elite class of superheros. 

The Black Panther name was shared by a political party designed to challenge police brutality on African American people. Although the comic superhero was created before this party, people questioned if the character had any associations with them. Comic legend Stan Lee denied any correlation with the group. However, to further address this issue, Marvel changed the name of the superhero to the Black Leopard. This was short lived and in 1973 the character was named once again the Black Panther. The Black Panther comic has been created off and on ever since its creation and new Black Panther comics are still coming out today. 

Work Cited

Groth, Gary. “Jack Kirby Interview.” The Comics Journal,

Sanderson, Peter, and David Roach. “Black Panther.” Encyclopædia   Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Apr. 2018,

Thomas, Roy (August 2011). “Stan Lee’s Amazing Marvel Interview!”.    Alter Ego. TwoMorrows Publishing (104): 38–39.

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