Tickets for Marvel’s Ryan Coogler-directed Black Panther are already on sale and we’re laying odds that this will be Marvel’s biggest film yet. Why? Because it looks damn good, the buying power of the Black community is ridiculously strong and it’ll be such a relief to see Black people on the silver screen who are not pigeonholed into one-dimensional stereotypes. I mean, it’s about time.
You probably know a lot about the film by now, but here a few facts for your Black Panther trivia arsenal.
The Black Panther was created by Stan Lee and first appeared in 1966 as a cameo in an issue of Fantastic Four. This was one year after L.A.’s Watts Riots were ignited by an incident of police brutality against a 21-year old Black man and his mother. Those riots resulted in more than 30 deaths in the Los Angeles area. Black Panther’s sudden appearance during this period begs the question of whether or not Marvel was trying to pour oil on troubled waters by creating an African superhero. Or perhaps the comic giant just felt like the time had come for a Black superhero. Either way, Black Panther was the first Black superhero in mainstream American comics, predating Luke Cage by six years. The character was introduced a full 28 years after Superman—a time gap that parallels real-life racial dynamics. Just saying.
2 Buyer’s Remorse
It’s reported that Stan Lee, the former president of Marvel Comics, once changed Black Panther’s name to Black Leopard in an attempt to avoid association with the Black Panther Party. The party appeared on the political landscape just after Marvel’s Black Panther was created. In fact, some people speculate that the Black Panther Party took its name from the Marvel superhero since the Black Panther predates the party by only three months. Lee was probably terrified to realize he may have unwittingly inspired such a controversial group. Regardless, the name Black Leopard didn’t stick. Thank goodness.
3 Rank and File
“Black Panther” is a rank of office. So, it’s not a name as much as a title. The current Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) is named T’Challa. His father, King T’Chaka, held the position before him. Back home in Wakanda, there are several clans, but the Panther Clan is the most powerful. Wakanda, a fictional country in northeast Africa, is said to be one of the most advanced countries in the world because of its possession of Vibranium, a precious resource mined from a meteorite. The Vibranium has plenty of uses—not the least of which is imbuing some of the local plants with special properties. T’Challa eats one of these mutated plants regularly to enhance his already significant physical prowess. Wakanda is so advanced because the country was never colonized, despite many efforts to do so. A fact that makes us movie-goers wonder what the world would look like if the various countries in Africa had full control of its precious resources like diamonds and oil.
4 Super Power Couple
While the world ohhh’s and ahhhh’s over Prince Harry’s engagement to American actress Meghan Markle, movie-goers should prepare themselves for another royal wedding in the movie world. In the Marvel universe, Black Panther was briefly married to X-men’s Storm. Fans are dying to see if this romance will be shown in the upcoming movie. Storm was most recently played by a mohawk-wearing Alexandra Shipp, who inherited the role from Halle Berry. Will Shipp or Berry make a romantic cameo as Black Panther’s Boo Thang? We’ll soon find out.
5 Street Style
Lexus has sold well in the Black community so it makes sense that the brand has gotten involved with Black Panther by creating two vehicles co-branded with the film. First, Lexus has imagined what a Black Panther-mobile might look like. Classified as a concept car, Lexus is only bringing out this bad boy at car shows and special events. It’s definitely a showstopper. Some of the standout features installed by West Coast Customs include a blue pulsating glow from beneath the car, side-view mirrors with a panther claw design, a Black Panther mask on the hood and a “vibranium-powered core” which is visible from outside the car. Second, Lexus is also making a few Black Panther 2018 Lexus LC’s as part of its new Lexus LC Inspiration Series. The short run of only 100 cars will include a bespoke white leather interior and a Barneys sommelier set, which includes a blue, stingray-covered bar tray, a crystal wine decanter and bar tools made of steel and mother of pearl. Shockingly, while the exterior color of the car appears to be blue, it’s actually colorless. The innovative design, created by mimicking the morpho butterfly, is designed to reflect only blue light back to your eyes. Very Wakanda-worthy, if we do say so ourselves.
6 Block Parties
In cities across the nation many different groups are already selling blocks of tickets to the screenings of Black Panther. Most of these screenings will be followed by a costume-themed after-party. Now, you know it’s gonna be lit! Don’t want to be left out? Just search for “Black Panther” on Eventbrite.com to find a VIP viewing party situation near you. Harlem, I’ll give y’all a head start. Check out the Black Panther Opening Night Movie & Afterparty with Cosplay Contest by ImageNation. #riseup
SekouWrites is a lifestyle & automotive journalist.