There has been a lot of hype leading up to Black Panther. While T’Challa will surely be on everyone’s mind after this monumental film, many movie-goers may not have heard about the hero prior to his appearance in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. A great number of these new fans may want to learn and read up on him, but like a lot of new comic book fans, they have absolutely no idea where to start.
Have no fear my friends, because this short list should encompass everything you need to read as a novice Black Panther fan!
1) Black Panther (1998-2003) by Christopher Priest.
Priest set the standard for Black Panther comics with a six-year run that explored a different side of T’challa – a rougher, grittier, gun-toting hero patrolling the streets of New York, starting with an investigation into the death of Jamie Robins, a little girl who was also the recipient of the Tomorrow Fund. After leaving Wakanda in turmoil, he faces many villains, including Achebe, a reverend who attempts to usurp the throne in T’challa’s absence. Others include Hunter, his half-brother, and even Kraven.
2) Black Panther (2005) by Reginald Hudlin
This epic retelling of T’challa’s origin is a must-read for anyone seeking to become more than a casual movie fan. Coupled with artists like John Romita Jr. and Esad Ribic, this run is a smooth read from beginning to end, highlighting his most legendary moments, from his relationship with Storm to his valiant defense of Wakanda during the Secret Invasion event.
3) New Avengers v3 (2013) by Jonathan Hickman
Black Panther is heavily featured in this series which leads to one of Marvel’s best events, Secret Empire. From his fights with Namor to the moral dilemma of whether to destroy worlds for the sake of the safety of 616, this book is chock-full of beautiful moments even a new reader will appreciate. Come to think of it, anything by Hickman is a good read, but Shuri’s valiant defense of Wakanda and her sacrifice is top-tier reading, as is as T’challa’s raw relationship with the other members of the Illuminati.
4) Doomwar (2010) by Jonathan Maberry
After conquering Wakanda and stealing away it’s Vibranium reserves, Doctor Doom stands victorious. But nothing is how it seems. In a soul-scathing meeting with the very god all Black Panthers of the past gained their powers from, Doom manages to obtain the precious metal for himself. He then fights an army of superheroes to a standstill until T’challa is forced to render all of Wakanda’s vibranium inert, thereby defeating him. A plethora of superheroes make an appearance, including the X-men, various Avengers, two Black Panthers, and of course the Fantastic Four.
Black Panther is in theaters starting today and I recommend you read this comics if you want to learn more about him after the credits roll. Black Panther is one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe and has a very wide amount of stories to choose from. I recommend Black Panther (1998-2003), Black Panther (2005), New Avengers v3 (2013), and Doomwar (2010). Enjoy the film!