His Royal Highness, T’Challa of Wakanda made his debut in Fantastic Four #52 in July 1966. He created history as he was the first Superhero of African Descent. Blessed with enhanced abilities due to the Heart-Shaped herb and years of extensive training and study, he ascended the throne in a rite of passage and took charge of the futuristic nation of Wakanda in Africa. The on-screen adaptation brought in over a billion dollars and became one of Marvel Studios’ biggest hits. Without further ado, here are 10 things about Black Panther from the comics.
The Writers/ Creators
Black Panther owes a great deal of debt to classic creators like Lee-Kirby and Don McGregor. However, the writers that have had the most impact on the Black Panther mythos is Christopher Priest. His legendary 62-issue run expanded the world of Wakanda, its workings, and the supporting cast. It also introduced Everett Ross and elements that would later go on to influence artistic and thematic choices in the movie. Another Marvel writer who has enjoyed success is the current writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and his expansion of Wakanda into an intergalactic empire and its ties to the Klyntar.
King of the Dead
Necropolis is the Wakandan city of the dead. The Panther Goddess, Bast crowned T’Challa the king of the dead in Fantastic Four #608. This allowed for T’Challa to gain a ridiculously useful ability: giving him the strength, knowledge, and experience of every Black Panther before him. In Secret Wars #7, he also demonstrated that he is a Necromancer- one who can raise and control the dead.
TChalla was blessed with a genius-level intellect, gaining a Ph.D. in Physics from Oxford. His intelligence was so off the charts, that he created a new branch of science: Shadow Physics, one that combines alchemy and science. This new field allowed him to track Vibranium and craft weapons and teleporters that would be effective against other Vibranium-based weapons.
High Priest of Wakanda
T’Challa also carries the title of the High Priest of the Panther clan, the main religious order that is followed in Wakanda. This was made clear when he annulled his marriage with his then-wife, Ororo Munroe, the mutant Storm. Yes, Black Panther is not only a title but also a position as the high priest of a religious order. Yikes!
He Was A High School Teacher
In Avengers #77, he once revealed to the team that he assumed the name of Luke Charles and was working as a high school teacher. Yes, you read that right. Having been exposed to some of the best education in the world, it was an easy task but also a brief one. He also did it to inspire his students and introduce aspects of Africa and its glorious history. It came at the right time as Black Power movements were happening all across the country.
Wielding the Gauntlet
Bless Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic for Secret Wars. In the event, which eventually ends in a showdown for the fate of the multiverse, T’Challa and Namor build and assemble an Infinity Gauntlet. Which they promptly use to confront and defeat the big bad of this masterpiece: God Emperor Doom. He then uses the gauntlet to travel back through time to a period when incursions happened in the multiverse that led to the formation of the patchwork world of Battleworld.
Defeating Gods and Devils
Black Panther has fought gods and devils. This is no joke. T’Challa once tangled with Logos, an entity that was the combination of two abstract entities- Lord Chaos and Master Order. T’Challa merged with a tiger god and commenced battle on an astral plane and defeated the entity. Let that sink in.
He also beat the stuffing out of Mephisto- Marvel’s equivalent of the devil himself. Not once. But twice. Once on Earth and once in Mephisto’s realm. He brutalized him while saving Everett Ross who waited in one of Priest’s best stories in his celebrated Black Panther run.
Tangled with Galactus and Thanos. And Survived
T’Challa isn’t one of the smartest men in the world for no reason. He’s tangled with two of Marvel’s biggest threats. And survived. In Al Ewing’s Ultimates run, he got into a war of words with the devourer of planets. But it was only to stall him until he was pushed into a machine called the Birth Chamber, turning him into an entity of life called the life bringer. Thanos was beaten by Wakandan tech in the pages of Civil War II. Following the untimely death of War Machine by the Mad Titan, T’Challa used his smarts to invent a device on the sport, projected a field into Thanos’ brain knocking the Titan out. Well played.
Created worlds with the Cosmic Cube
New Avengers #29 saw T’Challa do one of his wildest feats: he created entire worlds. T’Challa used the Cosmic Cube, a device as powerful as the Infinity Gauntlet. The Cube, if in the wrong hands can corrupt or destroy one who is not concentrating. T’Challa however, managed to control the cube and created multiple worlds in the process.
Eric Killmonger is T’Challa’s greatest rival. Here’s the shocker: T’Challa has never fairly beaten him in one-on-one combat. He once famously defeated him and took control of the throne and was close to becoming an Avenger. He had an allergic reaction to the heart-shaped herb as it was poisonous to those who were not of royal lineage. T’Challa saved his rival’s life and took back the kingdom once more.