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Black superhero goes from comic book to big screen

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“I read my first comic book when I was nine years old, it was Superman,” said Matthew Smith, president of the WCC Comic Book Club.

The Comic Book Club hosted “Who’s Your Superhero?” on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the Bailey Library’s Active Learning Zone.

The interactive event included a preview of a trailer for the newly released Black Panther movie. Smith engaged questions about comic books in general with a focused discussion on Marvel Comics history and the Black Panther character.

Introduced in 1966, The Black Panther first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic book. Creators Stan Lee (writer/editor) and Jack Kirby (writer/illustrator) inspired by the civil rights protest going on at the time, they wanted to create an African-American character.

“Lee (creator) wanted to give black youth a superhero they could relate to,” said Smith.

T’Challa is Black Panther’s real name. He’s the king and ultimate protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Many of his enhanced abilities were developed from ancient rituals.

“The Black Panther has defeated lots of other superheroes because he’s the best fighter and tactician,” said Smith. “It has to do with Wakanda technology that is at least 200 years ahead of present Marvel Universe.”

Some attendees sketched their rendition of the next superhero with the array of colored markers, pens and superhero silhouettes on paper provided by organizers. Rounding out the event was a raffle drawing for contemporary graphic novels.

The impact of Black Panther is far reaching as it is expected to break worldwide box office record attendance, according to the Washington Post. The day has come for the once obscure comic book black superhero to make his debut on the silver screen, signalling a new era for superhero movies and comic books at large.

10 little known facts about the black panther

• First Black superhero

•Debuted in 1966 Fantastic Four Issue 54

• King of an entire nation

•His bodyguards are unstoppable women

•He was married to Storm (another marvel character)

•His physical strength is combined with super-tech

•He has been part of almost every major Marvel superteam

•Created by two of the founding fathers of modern comics

•His sister has served as Black Panther, too

•Predates the political organization, Black Panther Party

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