Unless you're a die-hard Marvel fan, you probably didn't know much about Black Panther until he started scrapping with Captain America on the big screen. Black Panther is, however, one of the most important heroes in Marvel's stable, and with this list, you get to know the king of Wakanda.
Though he's been a part of Marvel Comics for decades, Black Panther (aka T'Challa) is not a well-known hero to mainstream audiences. But he is incredibly important and his introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the mainstream in general, was well overdue. He's going to become vital to the world of The Avengers and everything Marvel, so now is the time to learn all you can about this complex, one-of-a-kind superhero.
So just who is Black Panther? What is Wakanda? How does he interact with and impact the Marvel universe as we know it? With this list of Black Panther trivia facts, a whole new corner of the Marvel universe will open up before your very eyes! This is your crash course on everything about the monarch of Wakanda, Black Panther!
Most assume the moniker and invention of Black Panther were prompted by the Black Panther movement of the late 1960s, but the character actually hit just before the Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 (though he did come well after the WWII Black Panthers tank battalion).
He even went by Black Leopard for a short time in 1972, when Marvel was looking to avoid any controversial association with the movement.
That's right. He predates DC's Green Lantern (the John Stewart version), Tyroc, and even Black Lightning. On the Marvel side, he was debuted well before Luke Cage or Falcon.
Wakanda is a technologically advanced African nation. An exceedingly rare metal called vibranium is mined there, making it one of the richest and most technologically advanced nations on Earth. The worthy men and women of Wakanda are trained as warriors to protect their homeland.
If vibranium sounds familiar, it's what Captain America's shield is made from, and it was a major plot point in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which actually introduced Wakanda in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A proper king needs a squad of impossibly badass warriors to watch his back, right? For Wakandan royalty, those impossibly badass warriors are the Dora Milaje, also known as the Adored Ones. This fighting force consists exclusively of women, usually with their martial arts skills polished to a high sheen and their heads shaved to an equally shiny degree. They're recruited from every different sect in Wakandan politics and they're meant to represent potential queens.
The Dora Milaje are a late addition to the Black Panther's mythology, appearing for the first time in Black Panther Vol. 3 #1 in 1998. They've proven popular, however, and Black Panther even formed a supergroup of elite Adored Ones known as the Midnight Angels.