Black Panther: The Billion Dollar Comic Book Movie

Black Panther is the latest Marvel film that metaphorically caused the cinemas to explode. The film premiered on February 12th of this year and is still being shown in cinemas nationwide – talk about successful. The movie is based on the comic book Black Panther which was written and created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The comic book was produced and first published by Marvel in 1973 in a comic called Jungle Action. It was quite popular among college students, but the overall sales of the Jungle Action comic were low. In their efforts to keep the African superhero alive, Marvel relaunched the Black Panther in a self-titled series.  The launch was in 1988 and the series kept being published the way into 2017. The Black Panther is the name of the comic book and movie protagonist. The Black Panther is the honorary title given to the chief of the tribe of Wakanda. They will rule the country and act as presiding chief of all of Wakanda’s various tribes (all referred to as the Wakandans). The Black Panther is a symbol of the head of state and the title is not heredity, one must earn it.

Black Panther

Black Panther takes place in Wakanda; it is a fictional nation created by Marvel’s comic creators. However, people have speculated that it would have been located in East Africa, had it been an actual nation. Some say Wakanda was in northern Tanzania,  meanwhile the Marvel Atlas shows Wakanda to be in between South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia (these countries on the Marvel Map are represent as fictional countries called Azania, Canaan, and Narobia). When the comic was recreated in a movie, many comic readers did not know that the African superhero Black Panther existed. Many even admitted that they are comic addicts who live, breath and, if possible, could eat comics, but didn’t know that there was a Black Panther character in the Marvel Universe. Featuring an almost black-only cast and production crew, the film created a bigger buzz than imagined. It drew viewers and Super Hero/Science Fiction ‘junkies’ alike, which contributed to the boom of the film. The superhero movie fans were excited to experience a new comic character whom they never really knew coming to life. They experienced the dawn of a superhero who wasn’t Caucasian. They saw a superhero who was both scientifically and culturally stimulating. A lot of viewers were also drawn in by the fact that the main characters were of African descent. It isn’t a frequent sight in science fiction movies and so the masses gathered, booked tickets in advance and even donned traditional African gear to enjoy a full experience of this never-before-seen genre of comic book film. Overall, the creation of this comic book into a film was probably the best move made by Marvel and film’s producers David J Grant and  Kevin Fiege.