500 Words On…Black Panther

Once again Marvel Ultimate Alliance – on PS2 – keeps my from being a novice outside of comics’ usual heroes and rogues.

In that game in 2006 I learned about the screwy indecent world of Deadpool, but also more than I’d ever known before about Black Panther.

I cannot overstate the enormity of that game’s importance for my passion and acumen for so much in the Marvel universe.

There’s a notion in the sports gaming world that Super Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson is the most unstoppable force in digital existence. It’s true. For every comic book video game I’ve ever played, Wolverine is the Bo Jackson analog. Use him, or else make the game much more challenging than it needs to be. Black Panther is a reasonable facsimile for Wolverine though. He’s one potent clawful character in the gaming world.

This is a not a review of the movie. I haven’t seen it, until tonight. I’m sure it’ll be excellent. It takes a lot for me to be totally let down by a Marvel movie. Give Kevin Feige and his team this, they  have created apex level popcorn movies.

In 2015 when I was home with my mom as she was in hospice, I read through dozens of comics on the Marvel Unlimited app. I knew the movies well, I’d learned plenty through cartoons growing up (just watched this), and scouring through Wikipedia entries. But I’d not read some of the touchstone stories and arcs of characters I was too familiar with.

This was the first time I dove in on the must reads of T’Challa, the Black Panther.

To prepare for tonight I’ve gone back over them.

For a swift education on Black Panther and most things Wakanda, try this.

Here are some other highly suggested reads.

I’m currently working through Christopher Priest’s run on the character. From the very beginning.

From the Ringer

Priest’s run wasn’t fully appreciated in its own time, but he did revolutionize the character, creating the cool, dignified, master strategist we know today. New York Times best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates, whom you may have heard has his own Black Panther series now, considers Priest to have “the classic run on Black Panther, period, and that’s gonna be true for a long time.”

There is no higher praise than from Coates, and what he says. I tried his run back when he began, but I think my Panther history was lacking, so I missed the context of the story. I’ll go back.

So far the Priest run for me hasn’t been can’t put this down kind of stuff, but two reasons I’ve been fond of it so far. The art is quirky and not standard comic book stuff. And, it’s got a Deadpool-type of irreverence to it, thanks to the inept Agent Everett Ross – Martin Tyler’s MCU character – who acts as the stories’ narrator.

For instance, much of the storytelling takes place as Ross is having a friendly chat with the devil. About not having pants.

Were you expecting a more racially tinged take on Black Panther? Sorry. While this may be Marvel’s most socially important tale, I don’t take them for much more than REALLY good commercials for what’s after the one I’m watching. Like, get me to Thanos and Infinity War.

I’m no worshipper of all things Kendrick Lamar, but his track with the Weeknd, off the Panther soundtrack, totally has me!

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