Tag Archives: Black Panther

Captain Marvel Pushed Back Again, Company Apologist On Verge of Giving Up

In the beginning, I could not be more excited for Marvel Studios’ upcoming slate of comic book movie offerings. While I noted [and mourned] Black Panther’s absence from their list of Phase 2 films in 2012 I was forced to eat my words a couple of years later, when they announced solo films for both him and Captain Marvel [a female hero!] at a special event.

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Yes, as you can see from the mock-ups they released on the right both were slated to drop on November 2017 and July 2018 respectively, with a good number of years ahead for casting, finding directors, pre-production, extensive post-production for VFX, the whole deal. Like I mentioned, I was ecstatic for what was to come and by no means worried that they were rushing things.

Sure, both films were being released after Captain America: Civil WarDoctor StrangeGuardians of the Galaxy 2, and Thor Ragnarok, three sequels, two of which are the third for their respective franchises, but I could wait! Things were changing for ol’ Marvel Studios, and for the better.

And then the announcement early this year that Sony was willing to cut a deal with Marvel, allowing the latter to use Spider-Man in their cinematic universe! This news was met by much of the internet with a long drawn out finally. Fans had been waiting to see the webswinger alongside other such heroes as Iron Man and Thor and it was all coming to pass! The comic book movie gods smile down upon us!

Except that that wasn’t the announcement in its entirety. Over on their website Marvel revealed that Peter Parker’s induction into their lineup would result in schedule conflicts, namely [emphasis added]:

Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” will hit theaters November 3, 2017. The following year, Marvel’s “Black Panther” will make its way to theaters on July 6, 2018, and Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” on November 2, 2018. Finally, Marvel’s “Inhumans” will now debut in theaters July 12, 2019.

Over at tumblr bookerdewitch summed it up more perfectly than I ever could:

Capture Continue reading

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Marvel’s New Black Panther and the Ghettoization of Comic Books

Black_Panther_Cover_StelfreezeThis week Marvel announced that their new Black Panther title, dropping next spring, would be drawn by Brian Stelfreeze and, more importantly to many, penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates. For those of you unfamiliar with the latter Coates was at one point most well-known for his contributions to The Atlantic, in particular the contentious “The Case for Reparations”. More recently, however, a significant amount of attention has been given to his second published book, Between the World and Me, which was released just this past July.

The various news outlets that have covered this story, those dedicated to comic book journalism and otherwise, have taken note of the fact that both Coates and Stelfreeze are African-American. While the character himself hails from the fictional African nation of Wakanda he is nonetheless Black, and many have praised the publisher for allowing top-of-their-game, Black creators to take the reins of the person soon to be their most famous Black hero [due to his appearance in the upcoming film Captain America: Civil War].

Totally_Awesome_Hulk_1_CoverThis announcement comes, while not necessarily hot on the heels of, soon after Marvel breaking the news that the latest character to hold their own Hulk title will be Amadeus Cho. A Korean-American character and one of the smartest people on the planet despite his years, his adventures were also given to another match made in comic book A-list heaven. Writer Greg Pak and artist Frank Cho are both Korean-Americans themselves, with the former being of mixed descent. In the very same vein as next year’s Black Panther this December’s Totally Awesome Hulk bears a creative team that has a lot racially, as well as culturally, in this case, in common with their book’s titular character. Continue reading

Why We Need/Don’t Need Black History

I ran a Shame Day post a while back about “Black History” (or the whitewashed version that gets fed to us), and in it, I referenced this clip with Morgan Freeman:

I promised to shortly address Mr. Freeman’s comments-

-and promptly forgot about it for two years.

Well overdue, here’s why we desperately need Black History, and why we simply don’t.

Bear with me here.

Because We Don’t Have Real History

Again, we’re fed an overwhelmingly whitewashed and simplistic version of history. Lincoln benevolently freed the slaves and then, roughly 100 years later, MLK Jr. led a series of peaceful protests which ended segregation, and everybody lived happily ever after.

In reality, folks largely lost faith in peaceful protest as the 60s wore on, turning instead to self-defense, nationalism, revolution, and other techniques.

Continue reading

Black Panther, Batwing, and African Superheroes

Four days ago actor Morris Chestnut, who will appear in the upcoming Kick-Ass 2, posted the following on both his Twitter feed and Facebook page:

It’s time to get familiar with the Black Panther character.

This prompted the usual onslaught of internet speculation, and both have since been taken down. The next day he wrote a tweet to quell the masses who were clamouring to hear more about an upcoming Black Panther film.

I, for one, was personally grateful to hear this news.

“Why?” you might be asking, “Evan, I thought you were all about introducing the Wakandan super-king into the Marvel cinematic universe.” You would not be wrong in your assessment, and let me explain why, exactly, I felt this way. Continue reading

Storm and “Black Hair”

This is somewhat of a continuation off of yesterday’s Fame Day post, concentrating particularly on the Marvel character Storm. Kris Anka’s design for the weather-wielding Ororo Munroe harkens back to her appearance in the 80s [seen on the right].

Keeping consistent with most changes to beloved comic book characters, the mohawk was met with both praise and scorn.

Trawling the comments section of the ComicsAlliance article on the topic, I came across two guys who were very interested in not just the style of her hair, but the state or quality of it as well.


Earlier on Scafin commented about wanting to see Storm’s hair in its natural state. In following up with my reply to his thoughts  [and with a slight miscommunication as to what I meant by “black hair”] he said:

I don’t mean color, though. I really want to see her with white, afro-textured hair. I understand why she was given relaxed hair when she was introduced, as that was the norm back then, but the ubiquity of relaxed hair has declined since then.

The thing is, Storm as a character has always had straight, white hair. The fan-run Marvel Database tells me that she’s descended from “an ancient line of African priestesses, all of whom have white hair, blue eyes, and the potential to wield magic.” That answers Scafin in that the character has never had “black hair.” It’s part of who Storm is now [having been depicted as a young child that way] and to retcon that many years of portrayal would fare poorly with fans.

This leads to another question, though, which is why Storm was designed this way at all. This comment on an article about Storm’s marriage to the Black Panther had the following to say about the character’s creation:

I’m going to break this down as quickly and efficiently as possible, so we can concentrate on the more important aspects of the comment.

  • People are upset about the marriage because Marvel didn’t lead up to it well enough. In other words, they weren’t invested, and that’s adding to the fact that marriages in comic books typically do not work [see Peter and Mary-Jane in “One More Day.”]
  • That this is the sexual domination of White over Black when one of the very first relationships Storm gets into in the comics is with Forge, a member of the Cheyenne people. He was not, and still isn’t, white.

David Brothers, a blogger on staff with ComicsAlliance, agreed with part of what Africa had to say, commenting on the same article:

I liked Hudlin’s run on Panther. It was one of the precious few times that Storm actually felt like a black character, instead of a fetish object with blue eyes and perfectly straight hair.

This is in stark contrast to the article he wrote for Marvel a year earlier titled “A Marvel Black History Lesson Pt. 1.” In it he has more than a few good things to say about the heroine, which can be summed with these words:

If Gabe Jones stood for reality, Black Panther for ingenuity, Robbie Robertson for integrity, The Falcon for equality, Luke Cage for self-awareness, and Misty Knight for unadulterated cool, Storm was the combination of all of their traits and more. She was the daughter of a Kenyan princess and a photojournalist from Harlem, and therefore a direct link from African Americans and the continent known as “the Motherland.” She was powerful on a world-class level, refused to allow anyone to be her master, and commanded a massive amount of respect from all who knew her.

Taking into account Brothers’ apparent conflict in viewing the character, I
personally come away from this with the knowledge that Storm is more than just eye candy, she is a strong [in terms of power and character] heroine on par with many of her peers.

While Storm having straight hair may have been a product of the time she was created in, that in no way affects who she is as a character. Marvel has the right to maintain consistency in how she is portrayed, and has other characters who are better examples of having “black hair.” While the event of her marriage had its flaws Storm remains someone who has both strong ties to Africa and one of the most prominent black superheroes of all time. The straightness of her hair should in no way detract from that.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Moves On [Without The Black Panther]

We all saw The Avengers; let’s not lie to ourselves here. It’s the third highest grossing film of all time, and we are the reason for that. As of earlier this month Joss Whedon was confirmed as returning to direct the sequel, with the film due to hit theatres on May 1st, 2015.

With a bit of a wait between movies, a buffer of films is currently in the works, including sequels Captain America: The Winter SoldierThor: The Dark World, and, probably the most highly anticipated, Iron Man 3. Also on the docket is the spacefaring super-group Guardians of the Galaxy.

All of this news pleases me. What’s problematic is that when researching this article I found out that the Marvel Studios have a model of “releasing just two films per year.” So let’s see what we have here:

  • Iron Man 3 – May 3rd, 2013
  • Thor: The Dark World – November 8th, 2013
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier – April 4th, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – August 1st, 2014

With those four films taking up the next two years a horrifying fact emerges:

Marvel will not be making or releasing a Black Panther film before the next Avengers movie comes out.

Let me back up a little. Black Panther is, as comic book fans know, T’challa, the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. It is an extremely technologically advanced country, and the character himself has a PhD in physics, as well as being a master hunter, martial artist, inventor, and politician. On top of that he wears a suit made of vibranium, the same stuff Captain America’s shield is made of. He’s like if Batman were also the president and he is awesome.

Adding the Black Panther to the Avengers’ roster is not only has precedence in the comics, but it would also add the much-needed diversity that the first film was so sorely lacking. Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito discussed the possibility of a film starring the Wakandan king by admitting that:

“He has a lot of the same characteristics of a Captain America: great character, good values,”

Which is true. But he doesn’t stop there, going on to say :

“But it’s a little more difficult, maybe, creating [a world like Wakanda]. It’s always easier basing it here. For instance, ‘Iron Man 3’ is rooted right here in Los Angeles and New York. When you bring in other worlds, you’re always faced with those difficulties.”

Cue outrage from fans everywhere. The general argument against the statement above being that a sizeable portion of Thor took place in Asgard. Asgard, the mystical dwelling of the Norse gods. But playing devil’s advocate, as I try to do, perhaps Marvel execs are afraid of portraying Africa badly. Counterpoint: Wakanda is a pretty well-to-do place. Point: maybe they’re afraid of portraying the continent insincerely? Counterpoint: it’s a comic book movie. Point: but, but, but . . . Counterpoint:

Those eyes sneer at D’Esposito’s claims.

Djimon Honsou is a number of things. An immensely talented Beninese American actor is one. The guy everyone wants to play the Black Panther is another. Honsou actually voiced the character for a short-lived TV series on BET which was essentially a motion comic.

Honsou himself has said in a 2010 interview with MovieWeb.com that:

“It is true that I have said certain things about it some time ago and that I would love to play the Black Panther. Also the opportunity came to do the voice over for the animation so I did that, maybe in the hopes that one-day they would finally get around to doing a movie. We have so many super heroes, but none that really defines the African American. I thought it could definitely happen and I have tried to push that envelope before.”

And if that wasn’t enough, Stan Lee himself is on the record as answering the question “What obscure characters would you like to see adapted into a big budget film?” in an AmA [Ask Me Anything] on reddit. His answer was this:

“Black Panther. He’s not too obscure, I hope.”

If the fans, the actor, and Stan “The Man” Lee [who also co-created the character] are all pushing for this there’s really no reason it should not or cannot happen. All that’s standing in the way are a bunch of executives too willing to take the way that’s “always easier.”