First Appearance: Fantastic Four #52 (1966)
Creators: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Sometimes, you get it right the first time. Black Panther was one of the first black mainstream comic book heroes to ever hit shelves and he’s still the best. In 1966, during the American Civil Rights Movement, Black Panther took readers by storm. It was a year after the assassination of Malcolm X, and two years before the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.—the introduction of a black superhero, while insignificant in the scope of national politics, was a big step forward for the community.
Hailing from the fictional country of Wakanda, the Black Panther brought a new kind of pride and strength to the comic book world. His grace and nobility were in stark contrast to the tights and colorful personalities of his contemporaries. More than just a token character, Black Panther was a dignified warrior with a lush mythology and a rabid fanbase.
Over the years, the Black Panther has played a large role in the company’s various crossover events and blockbuster miniseries, while also helming critically-acclaimed solo stories. With Marvel pumping out more movies every year, it’s only a matter of time before Black Panther makes his silver screen debut.