The world is still rocking from the release of Black Panther, which is showing no signs of slowing down. The movie is a huge success, breaking what feels like a million box office records after only being in theaters for four days. Black Panther is on track to be one of Marvel's most successful movies, and the character is now suddenly in the spotlight in a way that Black Panther has never been before. With some $240 million in the bank, people are hungry for Black Panther, and if going to see the film for the third time isn't cutting it, then be thankful for the decades worth of comics featuring T'Challa and Wakanda.
Long before he made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther was making history as the first major mainstream black superhero (who wasn't a stereotype). Formally, Black Panther was a B-list Marvel hero, but he boasts some really good comic books and mini-series over the course of his 52-year history. If you want to keep your Black Panther hype going outside of the theater, these are some of the essential stories from the character's long history for you to check out.
Fantastic Four #52-53
What better place to start than at the very beginning with first ever appearance of Black Panther? While there are some who likely thought that Black Panther made his debut with the Avengers -- the team he is most associated with -- the character actually first appeared in the pages of Fantastic Four, or the Mother Book, as I like to call it. In the issues, the Fantastic Four are invited to the African nation of Wakanda, where they meet T'Challa, an enigmatic leader of a tribe. The four are then attacked by the Black Panther, who beats up all of them at the same time. It later turned out that T'Challa was testing them for a mission, but it was a memorable debut that introduced many of the basic elements of the character.
Who Is The Black Panther?
This series is a bit more of a straight-up superhero comic than the rest of the entries on this list, but it's a good starting point for fresh readers. Written by Reginald Hudlin with beautiful art by John Romita Jr., the series was meant to re-introduce the character to new readers and features what has essentially become the character's de-facto origin. We also learned more about Wakanda as a nation and its stance on independence. Arguably the most memorable storyline was "Who is the Black Panther?" which traced back the lineage of the Black Panther mantle throughout the history of Wakanda. It even features T'Challa's grandfather beating the snot out of Captain America during WWII.