The History of the Black Panther: 1966-1968
Relive T'Challa's historic debut and tag along for his first groundbreaking adventures!
For more than 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. With T’Challa appearing on the big screen this year in both Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” take a look back at over five decades worth of comic book adventures for the King of Wakanda!
The famous Fantastic Four found themselves amazed by the gift of a technologically advanced flying vessel in 1966’s FANTASTIC FOUR #52, a present from the people Wakanda and an invitation to visit their small African nation. Upon landing in a bio-organic mechanical forest, the super hero family fended off a seeming attack by a black-clad individual, only to discover him as T’Challa, the leader of Wakanda and known as their champion, the Black Panther.
In FANTASTIC FOUR #53, the Panther explained to Reed Richards and the others that his country’s greatest asset, the sound-absorbing metal vibranium, existed only within its borders. He further detailed a recent attempt by the evil Ulysses Klaw to steal the metal, a fact then made all-too clear by Klaw’s attack on T’Challa and the FF. The heroes held the poacher off, and Klaw disappeared into his own sonic device.
Hotheaded Johnny Storm wanted to visit his Inhuman girlfriend in FANTASTIC FOUR #54, so T’Challa lent him a Wakandan flying craft to rush to the Hidden Land. There, the Human Torch became embroiled in a dangerous fight against Prestor John and the Evil Eye. T’Challa also gifted Reed with pure vibranium bands in FANTASTIC FOUR #56 to defeat Klaw again and made his first 1967 appearance dealing with yet another flying ship in FANTASTIC FOUR #60 when the team returned to America and Doctor Doom stole the Silver Surfer’s cosmic power to try and take over the world.
Upon an expedition to Panther Island in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5, the Black Panther and his Wakandan soldiers discovered both the intrepid Inhumans and evidence of the Psycho-Man’s underground headquarters. T’Challa joined with the Fantastic Four soon after to turn the tide against the emotion-controlling villain and send him packing back to the Microverse.
Captain America never expected a summons from far-off exotic Wakanda, but one arrived in 1968’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #97 to bring the Black Panther’s plea for Cap to help him against an invasion by mysterious forces.
Cap’s Wakandan flying craft came under attack on his way to the African country in TALES OF SUSPENSE #98, just the first salvo in T’Challa’s war with Baron Zemo and the villain’s orbiting solar ray projector. It took timely assistance from Agent 13 in TALES OF SUSPENSE #99 to turn the tide against Zemo, but Cap and the Panther still fought hard to win the day in CAPTAIN AMERICA #100.
After things settled down a bit, Cap called his fellow Avengers back in the States to strongly suggest they consider T’Challa for membership among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS #51. When the Panther flew to their New York headquarters to meet the famous team in AVENGERS #52 he discovered a room full of seemingly deceased heroes. It took being arrested and squaring off against the dreaded Grim Reaper for T’Challa to win his spurs as the newest member of the Avengers.
With little time to settle in, the Black Panther found himself at odds with the Magneto-controlled X-Men in AVENGERS #53 and skirmishes with both Cyclops and the Beast. Once the confusion cleared, he stood with his teammates in battle against his old foe Klaw and the new Masters of Evil in AVENGERS #54, and the revelation of stone-cold Ultron-5 behind the scenes of the attack in AVENGERS #55.
The Panther joined with Captain America to travel back in time in AVENGERS #56 to solve the mystery of Cap’s partner Bucky during World War II, but that stood as only an appetizer for the adventure of meeting the synthezoid Vision in AVENGERS #57. Later, T’Challa helped welcome the Vision into the ranks of the team in AVENGERS #58, as well as find himself baffled by the appearance of newcomer Yellowjacket and the disappearance of Hank Pym in AVENGERS #59.
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