It’s going to be a good year for Marvel’s Black Panther. Not only is he getting an extremely promising new comic book series, in a few months he’s making his Marvel cinematic universe debut in Captain America: Civil War. If you’re not familiar with the superhero, king and Avenger, here’s your primer.
1) He was the first black superhero in mainstream comics.
Although there were black heroes before him—back when Marvel was still Timely Comics in the ’50s, it published stories about “Waku, Prince of the Bantu” in Jungle Tales—Black Panther is widely credited as the first black superhero to debut in mainstream comics. Although he first appeared inFantastic Four #52 in April 1966, T’Challa wouldn’t actually star in his own comic book until 1973, when he headlined Jungle Action, another jungle-themed anthology that stretched back into Marvel’s history when it was Atlas Comics (the company went through multiple name changes in the ’40s and ’50s).