After a long wait, the time has finally come, and Black Panther has burst into theaters to applause, fanfare, and arguably the most fashionable rounds of cosplay to grace a Marvel premiere. If you have been lucky enough to score opening weekend tickets (or even if you weren’t and are just getting hyped in preparation of your viewing) you may be riding a Wakanda fueled high and thinking, now what?
Lucky for you Black Panther is one of Marvel’s oldest, most established, and fascinating characters. Here are five of our favorite issues/ trade paperbacks to help you dive into the world of King T’Challa.
5. RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER (2018)-
Rise of the Black Panther is the most current arc of Black Panther comics (and is not to be confused with the main Black Panther run). Spanning six issues, Rise of the Black Panther is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Evan Narcisse. Centered around T’Challa’s early years and the events which lead to him taking up both the crown of Wakanda and the mantle Black Panther this is an excellent primer for anyone looking for a Black Panther 101.
4. BLACK PANTHER: THE SOUND AND THE FURY (2018)-
A thrilling one-shot written by Ralph Macchio (no, not the actor). While on a diplomatic mission Dubai, King T’Challa is surprised when the city is attacked by the villainous KLAW looking to extort billions for the citizen’s of the city. In true super-million fashion he even places an impenetrable sonic dome around the city! If you are looking to dip your toe into the pool that is Black Panther comics The Sounds and the Fury is an excellent place to start.
3. SECRET INVASION: BLACK PANTHER (2009)
Marvel’s Secret Invasion crossover event might have been one of the most insane and inventive comic arc in the Modern Age. Built on the premise that an alien race of shapeshifters know as the Skrulls has been slowly kidnapping import figures on earth and replacing them left everyone guessing on who was themselves and who was replaced by an alien infiltrator. One of the more interesting story arcs happened in the pages of Black Panther, during the arc ‘See Wakanda and Die.’ This 3 issue arc follows T’Challa and his wife Storm (yes that Storm!) trying to protect Wakanda from an all out Skull invasion. Smartly written, beautifully inked, and with a killer twist ending ‘Wakanda and Die’ are a must read. With Captain Marvel and the Skulls making their Marvel film appearance in 2019- it might even be worth reading the entire Secret Invasion series- just in case.
2. BLACK PANTHER A NATION UNDER OUR FEET (2016)-
We previously mentioned Ta-Nehisi Coates’s work with Rise of the Black Panther but we would be remiss not to mention his work on Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet. The title Black Panther is not devoid of culture, politics, and debate, and Coates’s understands this with this intelligent and authentic story centered around politics, religion, history, and power. The plot centers around a Wakandan insurrection which just happens to be the best stage to show showcase the complexities of King T’Challa and the dynamic women around him.
1. BLACK PANTHER: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 1 (1998-2003).
Lets be awesome collecting single issues can be thrilling but if you are looking to get the whole picture, nothing beats a trade paperback. Black Panther: The Complete Collection spans issues #1-17 of the Black Panther series. Helmed by Christopher Priest the first African American to hold an editorial position at Marvel. Priest’s work is revolutionary, jarring, satirical, and an absolute must read. Bonus, see the introduction of Queen Divine Justice one of the most interesting and formidable women in the Black Panther universe.