10 Interesting Facts You Should Know about Black Panther (before or after seeing the movie)

10 Interesting Facts You Should Know about Black Panther (before or after seeing the movie)

Posted by on Feb 17, 2018 in News, Opinion, Uncategorized

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Black Panther is finally in theaters and from what I’ve seen on my newsfeed and the internet, it is a gamechanger for Marvel and superhero movies in general. Admittedly I’ve never read much of the character but I love a good movie and Black Panther looks amazing just from the trailers alone. So I started doing research into Black Panther aka T’Challa, the King and protector of the fictional African nation Wakanda and here are ten things I came across that caught my attention, some of which really got me even more hyped for when I see the movie myself.

1. Before he was a Panther, he was a Tiger.
Before he debuted in Fantastic Four #52, co-creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were still figuring out the details for the character. This was Kirby’s original artwork for the character dubbed “ Coal Tiger”.

 

2. While undergoing a rite of passage, he met and fell in love with a future superhero
In Marvel Team-Up #100, T’Challa was undergoing a Wakandian rite of passage necessary to becoming the Black Panther when he came across men who sought to capture him and return him to South Africa. He was saved by a teenage orphan named Ororo Monroe who used her elemental powers to save him. They would reconnect years later when he was the Black Panther and she was Storm of the Uncanny X-Men. While they admitted feelings for each other but the opportunity had passed, their relationship would grow throughout the years.
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3. Black Panther invited the Fantastic Four to Wakanda just to fight them as a test for himself.
In T’Challa’s first published appearance in Fantastic Four #52-53, the king invited the famous super family to Wakanda and then decided to engage them in combat. Although he was outnumbered, he successfully managed to neutralize them individually. The entire ordeal was a test for himself to see if he was ready to face his enemy Ulysses Klaw, a physicist and adventurer who had murdered T’Challa’s father in cold blood. He would later make up with the team and become a valued ally to the Fantastic Four.
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4. A Black Panther story was Marvel’s first graphic novel.
In Jungle Action #6- 18, the story arc titled “Panther’s Rage” which detailed Wakanda during a revolution against T’Challa who left his self-imposed exile in the United States to return to his home country was the first comic at that time that had a beginning, middle and end. Writer Don McGregor and artists Rich Buckler, Gil Kane, and Billy Graham helped to pioneer something that would become common in the comic book industry: The self-contained, multi-issue story arc.
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5. The controversial story where Black Panther fought the Klu Klux Klan was (technically) never finished.
In Jungle Action #19-24, writer Don McGregor and his artistic team had T’Challa travel to Southern America where he battles racism and prejudice in the form of the infamous Klu Klux Klan. It was a ballsy storyline and the subject was controversial for the 1970s America which was still wrestling with such issues. The series itself was cancelled with issue #24 and the storyline was abandoned mid-story. Fortunately, Black Panther was relaunched with Jack Kirby and “Panther vs. The Klan” was picked up as a subplot in Black Panther #14-15 and eventually concluded in Marvel Premiere #51-53. However, the conclusion was not written by McGregor but by writer Ed Hannigan. The original conclusion of “Panther vs. The Klan” was never completed although layouts had been completed for the issue.
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6. Everett K. Ross was one of the main reasons Christopher Priest wrote Black Panther in 2008
Christopher Priest and Mark Texeira’s run on Black Panther is considered one of the best and in the series, State Department attorney Evert Ross, played by actor Martin Freeman on the big screen, is an important character throughout Priest’s run. He felt that Black Panther had been misused since his creation and “ I realized I could use Ross to bridge the gap between the African culture that the Black Panther mythos is steeped in and the predominantly white readership Marvel sells to”, clarifying that “ his stream of conscious narrative is a window into things I imagine many whites say or at least think when no blacks are around; myths about black culture and behavior.”
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7. T’Challa is not the only person to have worn the Black Panther mantle.
At one point, T’Challa met a future version of himself who was stricken with a terminal brain aneurysm to the point where he was placed in cryogenic stasis. When T’Challa in the present discovers he now has a brain aneurysm, he succumbed to bouts of instability and insanity. When his condition almost instigated tribal warfare, he relinquished his power to his council and disappeared to later end up in New York. In New York, he would eventually mentor multiracial police officer Kasper Cole who used a spare Black Panther costume to continue his legacy. His role of a mentor gave T’Challa the strength to overcome his illness, reclaim the title of Black Panther and even return as an active member of the Avengers. Kasper would eventually take on another legacy as the White Tiger before working with T’Challa on his own individual hero identity. T’Challa’s sister Shuri would also be trained and earned the mantle of the Black Panther while T’Challa was left comatose and attempted to recover from his injuries and the eventual loss of his powers. When his powers returned, he would return as the Black Panther.
Image result for Casper Cole Black Panther  Image result for Shuri Black Panther

8. At one point, Marvel tried changing his name to Black Leopard
Marvel wanted to distance the character of Black Panther from the Black Panther Party which gained prominence in the 1970s and beginning with his guest appearance in Fantastic Four #119, they tried to change his name to Black Leopard. When asked about it in the comics, T’Challa said “I contemplate a return to your country, Ben Grimm, where the latter term has political connotations. I neither condemn nor condone those who have take up the name, but T’Challa is a law unto himself. Hence, the new name- a minor point, at best, since the panther is a leopard.” However, this change did not last long.

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9. T’Challa and Storm eventually married but their marriage has been annulled.
After years of occasionally working together, T’Challa proposed to Ororo Monroe after helping her reunite with her surviving family in the United States and Africa. They were married in Black Panther #18 in an enormous Wakandan ceremony attended by many of Marvel’s superheroes. Together the couple would embark on a less-than-stellar diplomatic tour, fight alongside Captain America in Civil War, temporarily fill in for Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the Fantastic Four and supported each other in their individual struggles as Black Panther and in the X-Men. Unfortunately, during the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, Storm chose to side with the X-Men instead of alongside the Avengers with her husband. The city of Wakanda would be destroyed by a Phoenix-powered Namor and when Storm returned to help, T’Challa sternly informed her that their marriage had been annulled. They have remained separated despite T’Challa stating that he still thinks of her as his Queen.
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10. T’Challa’s role in Captain America: Civil War was supposed to be much smaller
Originally T’Challa wasn’t even supposed to appear in costume as the writers had intended for more of the focus to be on Spider-Man and save Black Panther’s origin for an solo movie. But when it looked like Marvel wouldn’t get the permission from Sony to use the character, Black Panther’s role was increased significantly. Eventually they found out they could use Spider-Man but by then T’Challa and Black Panther had become so integral to the movie’s plot that the writers decided to leave it and give Spider-Man the smaller role that would be expanded in future movies.
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Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed the article and enjoyed seeing the film in theaters whenever you got/get the chance. I’ll make sure to send you the link to my upcoming mixtape later.

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Geoff Johns teases the possibility of a Hitman TV show, this is NOT a drill!

Geoff Johns teases the possibility of a Hitman TV show, this is NOT a drill!

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in News, Uncategorized

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Normally I’m not one to really get excited over rumors because most usually go nowhere especially when it comes to movies and television. Many a great idea has remained on the cutting room floor or in developmental hell while less than creative products get the green light all the way to the finish line. But DC President and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns dropped a helluva teaser recently at the Television Critics Association press tour simply by saying ” We are talking about Hitman”, referring to the classic Garth Ennis and John McCrea series in the late 1990s.
Image result for Tommy Monaghan Image result for Tommy MonaghanImage result for Tommy Monaghan EtriganImage result for Noonans DC Comics

For those who are unfamiliar with the character, Tommy Monaghan was a simple wisecracking alcholic Hitman hailing from the Cauldron, a little crappy suburb in Gotham City. His first appearance was The Demon Annual #2 during the often forgotten Bloodlines event where he is attacked by a grotesque alien and gains superhuman abilities specifically x-ray vision and limited telepathy. Along with his military training, he dons the sunglasses and takes the moniker Hitman, earning  a reputation of taking on metahuman and supernatural contracts deemed too dangerous and expensive by those willing to hire such people. Centered around a bar called Noonans, Ennis and McCrea created an unlikely group of characters and scenarios to fill the series with an ensemble unlike any other and for good reason. Tommy and his friend Natt The Hatt could often found themselves battling demons, zombies, or radioactive Santa Claus’s ( yeah really) while also dealing with every day life problems like bills, loss, depression, anxiety and the fact that their careers rarely came with a happy ending.

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Ennis classic humor always came into play as he had Tommy interact with a great majority of DC characters and often poked fun at the serious and sometimes oversaturated quality and quantity of superheroes at that time. He had great respect and reverance for Superman as seen in the award winning Issue “Of Thee I Sing” but had no problem making Darth Vader jokes in the presence of Batman. The characters evolved and changed and you grew to care for them, you laughed at their crazy adventures and mourned their losses or when they did something REALLY stupid. John McCrea was with Garth for most of the ride and his style never failed to disappoint. I sincerely hope that Geoff Johns teaser leads to the development of a Hitman TV series because that will definitely be one heck of a wild ride especially with the dinosaurs.

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With Gotham by Gaslight released, could there be a Red Son on the horizon?

With Gotham by Gaslight released, could there be a Red Son on the horizon?

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in News, Uncategorized

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The latest DC Animated film Gotham by Gaslight was released February 6th on Blu Ray (don’t worry, we’re gonna see and review it soon) but producer and animation legend Bruce Timm already has another classic Elseworld in mind for the next movie: Mark Millar and Dave Johnson’s Superman: Red Son.

We at Iron Age Productions already had this already iconic Elseworld on our list for Elseworlds that would be awesome to adapt http://ironagecomics.com/animatedelseworlds-1/  for many reasons. The first and most obvious is that it poses a question that’s just itching for debate: What if Superman’s rocket crashed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States? Imagine Superman being raised within the motherland of Communism and becoming “a symbol of Stalin, Socialism and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.”

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The other exciting reasons which make Elseworlds so exciting is seeing what differences could become from a different turn of events. Mark Millar stated that this idea was something he had been working on since he was a teenager and the advance planning and thought clearly shows in this simple three issue series. From a timeline of 1950 to the present day, we see historical characters such as Joseph Stalin and President John F. Kennedy interacting with Lex Luthor or Princess Diana of Themyscira. We witness Lex Luthor and Superman become enemies but now with international politics adding weight to their iconic enmity. We see an anarchist Batman drop one of the best lines about humanity I’ve ever read in a comic. In Superman: Red Son, we see DC characters re-imagined in a world where a god who believes himself as a Champion of the common worker struggles with how he can properly protect this planet. If the clips from Gotham by Gaslight show anything, the creative forces at DC Animated aren’t afraid to deviate from the source material to add new and interesting characters. Even if this is an idea hinging on the success of Gotham by Gaslight, the possibility of this Elseworld and other great stories like it being made into full length movies truly makes me truly look forward to tomorrow.

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SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Home, News, Opinion, Source Material

By Drew Mollo

SPOILER ALERT  (Fair warning if you haven’t watched the movie)

I just saw Justice League recently and honestly I enjoyed most of it. Sure there were certain things about it I wasn’t fond of or things that are more results of the well-publicized re-shoots but that’s not what this article is about. This was a comic book movie and upon watching the film I could see elements that were inspired by DC Comics story arcs about the famous superteam. So if you enjoyed the film and you’d like to read stories to give you an idea of what happened or who the heck Steppenwolf was, I recommend you checking these out.

1. Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee: The comic series that basically ushered in the New 52 in 2011 tells a new origin story of how the team got together set five years in the past. Batman is chasing a Parademon and runs into Green Lantern. After the creature explodes, they decide to ask Superman before they all realize these creatures are merely scouts for a bigger invasion. Meanwhile, a Mother Box provided by the Flash decides to go haywire in S.T.A.R. Labs around the same time Silas Stone is having an argument with his son Victor. When the Mother Box opens a Boom Tube full of Parademons, the explosion mutilates Victor’s body while fusing it with all sorts of alien technology (thus eventually making him into Cyborg). The appearance of Parademons attracts the attention of Wonder Woman and later Aquaman as well. The heroes battle back the Parademons and eventually their master, the Lord of Apokolips known as Darkseid. The film had many references to this storyline especially with the use of Parademons, Mother Box’s, and even a direct reference to the evil God himself but its primary influence was that the upcoming invasion was catalyst for getting the Justice League together.

2. Jack Kirby’s the Fourth World: Created by legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby in the 1970s, Kirby imagined a group of entities he called the New Gods who lived on two separate planets. The Gods in New Genesis lived in an idyllic paradise ruled by the Highfather and the Gods in Apokolips suffered in a mechanical polluted dystopia ruled by the tyrant Darkseid. Once beings of a single world, these two worlds were constantly in conflict over Darkseid’s quest to find the Anti-Life Equation which would gain him complete control of all living beings thoughts which was opposed by Highfather and his forces. Although it was intended to be limited series, Kirby’s characters were so successful that DC Comic’s eventually had them interact with other well-known superheroes. Darkseid and his forces including his son Kalibak and his uncle Steppenwolf would become foes of Superman and the Justice League and other New Gods like Orion or Mister Miracle would become allies and eventually members of the Justice League. Characters like Steppenwolf, Parademons, Darkseid and others would not exist if not for the incredible imagination of Jack Kirby. Although Steppenwolf was the main villain and Darkseid was only mentioned in Justice League, the fact that Steppenwolf and his ravenous Parademons were teleported away instead of destroyed suggest this war is far from over.

3. The Return of Superman by Gerard Jones, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern : After Superman was killed by Doomsday, the world mourned their loss and eventually four new characters appeared all claiming to be Superman. As the multiple Superman comics explored and played with the idea that one of them could be a new Superman, it was revealed that Superman’s body was taken by the Kryptonian robot called The Eradicator and placed in a regeneration matrix. While the four Supermen’s identities were revealed, the original Superman emerged alive although greatly depowered. When he revealed his presence and helped the other Supermen fight Cyborg Superman and Mongul who destroyed Coast City, he revealed his true identity to Lois Lane by referencing something only the true Clark Kent would know. After they defeated the villains, Superman’s powers had returned and he used the black Kryptonian battlesuit that had earlier protected him to fashion a new take on Superman’s traditional costume. While some of his powers were the same or stronger than before, Return of Superman is also famously known for giving Superman the mullet that he was portrayed with for most of the 1990s until his wedding to Lois Lane in 1996. Its central influence to Justice League was the idea of using Kryptonian technology among General Zod’s ship along with the Mother Box to revive Superman body to help unite the League and give them an advantage against Steppenwolf and his forces. Thankfully Superman’s mullet did not translate over to the big screen and remained an unfortunate comic book footnote.

Considering DC Comic’s track record over the last few years, I can more than understand everyone’s skepticism and debate over this film. While it’s not fair to compare it to other comic book team films like Marvel’s The Avengers, I thought the film established these characters and had them work together against a common enemy. Hopefully plot threads and questions for some of these characters can be answered in any of the upcoming solo films so I hope you enjoyed the film and if you didn’t, hey at least it wasn’t as bad as Batman vs. Superman, right?

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Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC – A fan’s reaction

Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC – A fan’s reaction

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in News, Opinion

Bendis leaves Marvel for DC Comics – a Fan Reaction

By Drew Mollo

 

Out of all the things that could have popped up on my newsfeed yesterday, the news that comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis will be leaving Marvel to work for DC Comics was completely out of left field. At first I thought I thought this was a huge blow for Marvel, as Bendis has been one of their most successful writers for almost 20 years.. He wrote Ultimate Spider-Man with pencils by Mark Bagley for 111 consecutive issues – breaking Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s record of 108 FF issues.  USM’s success lead to the creation of the Ultimate Universe, which has been an inspiration for much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He and Michael Gaydos helped launch the Marvel Max imprint aimed at mature audiences with Alias – a series about a former superhero turned private investigator that became the inspiration for the award winning Jessica Jones Netflix series. He reintroduced the man formerly known as Power Man to the world by making Luke Cage a critical Avenger. He broke and then reassembled the Avengers more than once. He was the writer for such universe-changing events as Secret War, House of M, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Siege, Age of Ultron and more.  He reintroduced the five original X-Men from the past into the present and brought Scott Summers to command a team of X-Men again. He created the Miles Morales Spider-Man with Sara Pichelli (who remains one of the few Ultimate Universe characters present in the primary Marvel universe). He has worked with some of the greatest artists known to the medium to tell countless stories in his own unique fashion. From Daredevil to Guardians of the Galaxy, Brian Michael Bendis has been a pillar of the Marvel writer’s room for years and he has never been afraid to tackle subjects that some may deem controversial.

Surely any Marvel fan is already curious, but let’s consider the situation and the environment for they may give us insight to such a big decision. Marvel just launched their Marvel: Legacy line as yet another soft kind-of-but-not-really reboot that returned many series to their original numbering with new creative teams. This company-wide change was made to counter a severe sales slump with Marvel titles over the last few years ( so far so good but time will tell if it’s a real success). DC Comics bounced back with DC: Rebirth in 2016 and their choice to learn from the mistakes of the New 52 and restore much of the DC Universe prior to 2011’s Flashpoint has been successful so far.  Bendis is known for his excellent character development which is something DC characters could always benefit from. Superman, Justice League or even Batman could use his signature style to find stories that help the audience relate with the characters that are often depicted with ideal lives or omnipotent powers and/or abilities.

This announcement comes at a time of change for DC Comics. Already in the middle of their Dark Knights: Metal storyline (quick recap: evil alternate Batmen invade the main DC universe), DC reveals some big changes. The upcoming Doomsday Clock event promises to continue to change the future of DC Comics and its direction going forward. This may be the perfect time and place to get Bendis in on DC’s ground level and start his trademark character building.

Bendis isn’t the first Marvel writer to make the switch amongst the Big Two. His eventual departure is already being compared to Jack Kirby leaving Marvel and working with DC for years. Due to the nature of comic book contracts, many known creators have worked for both companies throughout comic book history as we know it. The comic book marketplace is constantly in flux and both writers and artists are constantly searching for the best place to showcase their talents and grow as creators.

Overall, a lot of unanswered questions remain. When is Bendis officially leaving Marvel and starting at DC Comics? How does this change affect any current or planned series that bear his name under the Marvel banner? What titles would he be starting with?  Regardless of his reasons, Mr. Bendis should be proud for all the great work he’s done at Marvel. I  wish him luck on this new chapter in his career and life.

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