Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
1st appearance: Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966)
Notes: T’challa is the 1st black superhero in history as well as the first African superhero.
Alias: King T’Challa, King of Wakanda, The Client, His Majesty, Black Leopard, Ukatana, Lucas “Luke” Charles, Coal Tiger, Nubian Prince, The Panther of Wakanda, The Man Without Fear, Mr. Okonkwo, King of the Dead
Team Affiliations: Avengers
Legal Status: Diplomatic immunity as a head of state
Weight: 185 lbs Height: 6’
Eyes: Brown Hair: Black
Relatives:Bashenga (ancestor),Chanda (Ancestor), Azzari the Wise (GrandFather), S’yan (Uncle), T’chaka (father, deceased), Ramonda (step mother), Shuri (1/2 sister), White Wolf (adopted brother), Jakara (1/2 brother, deceased), Storm (Ex-Wife), T’shan (Cousin).
Skills and abilities: Accomplished gymnast and acrobat, master of various African martial arts and a world-class fighter. He is an Olympic level athlete in every known field, thus a peak human. Also an expert tracker. T’challa is also one of the ten smartest men in marvel comics and has a genius intellect. He’s also a master strategist and leader.
Powers: When using the heart-shaped herb all his abilities are enhanced to superhuman levels, though he has to ingest the herb every year to maintain this. With the herb his eyes take on a feline appearance and he has a psionic connection to the Panther god Bast.
Technology: Bulletproof Vibranium weave suit. impact-and sound-absorbing Vibranium soled shoes allowing him to walk up walls and leap and land great distances. Retractable Vibranium claws with anti metal vibranium properties allowing him to cut through all other known metals including adamantium. Also energy daggers.
The T’challa The Black Panther is descended from a long line of same named warriors who have led Wakanda a technologically advanced African state with a monarchy older than recorded time.
Birth and Loss of his Parents
Very little is known about T’challa’s biological mother Nyami except that after she was married to King T’chaka of Wakanda she had difficulties conceiving. When an aircraft crashed in Wakanda T’chaka and Nyami took the only survivor of the crash, a white baby boy and they named him Hunter; he was groomed as the prince of Wakanda despite his difference.
When N’yami became pregnant with T’challa however Hunter found himself groomed for other things. N’yami died while giving birth to T’challa and thus the first son of T’chaka “The Great” was born [Black Panther vol 2. #27].
As the rightful heir to the throne of Wakanda, T’challa was trained to the peak of human perfection in multiple martial arts forms. For all intents and purposes T’challa had a happy childhood under his step mother Ramonda who his father married soon after his mother N’yami’s death and he eventually welcomed a younger sister named Shuri.
There are conflicting accounts of how his father T’chaka was killed:
Christopher Priest Version: One version is that while he was still a boy the explorer Ulysses Klaw came to barter with the king over the mineral rights to the Vibranum mound. T’challa knew the moment he laid eyes on Klaw that he was evil and he attacked him immediately [Black Panther Vol 2 #3]. When he was denied Ulysses slaughtered all the Waandan in his way and the King was among them, Hundreds were killed until a young T’challa using Klaw’s unstable sound blaster weapon vaporized Klaw’s hand and drove him back while inspiring the Wakandans to rise up as well [Black Panther Vol 2 #5].
Modern Reginald Hudlin Version: The other version has T’challa, Shuri and Ramonda accompanying T’chaka to the Bilderberg conference where the King is assassinated by Klaw when the King flippantly dismissed needing or wanting European or American ties or to trade Vibranium with them. A young T’challa rendered his arm useless when he instinctively shot the villain multiple times resulting in dismemberment of his arm [Black Panther V4 #3].
The Orphaned Prince
Since he was still not of the appropriate age to take the throne his uncle S’yan the swift became Black Panther and his cousin T’shan began sparring with him [Black Panther Vol.4 #14]. T’challa’s stepmother Ramonda was also taken prisoner by Anton Pretorius while visiting South Africa. She would remain his captive for years [Marvel Comics Presents #13-37]. T’challa was often idealistic and disproved of his adopted brother Hunter’s methods of keeping Wakanda safe [Black Panther Vol 2 #5].
The Prince and the Pauper
Old Version: During his walkabout he was set upon by the mutant Fenris Twins, the children of Baron Von Strucker, the leader of Hydra. T’challa is saved by a young Ororo Munroe who would become Storm leader of the X-men [Marvel Team up #100].
Modern Version: During his walkabout he saves a young woman with white hair and blue eyes from being abducted by poachers [Storm #2]. He watches over her beauty enchanted as she recovers. He also joins the makeshift family assembled by former Wakandan “Teacher” despite disagreeing with his methods While other the other girls fawn over T’challa, Ororo is strangely indifferent and the prince must pursue her in order to win her affections [Storm #3]. Overtime they grow close and they are each others first intimate experience [Storm #4]. Their happiness together was fleeting however as Ororo was captured and he was forced to save her once more. After this they traveled Africa together until T’challa’s thirst for revenge drove them apart and he returned to Wakanda [Storm 5-6].
Traveling the Globe
T’challa then travelled to America and Europe to be educated [Black Panther Vol.3 #6]. Alongside B’Tumba his fellow Wakandan and childhood friend he attended Oxford University. Their friendship grew sour after T’challa bested him in everything they did. B’Tumba would go on to join A.I.M to get revenge on the prince [Avengers #87]. Zuri also accompanied him on his travels as his personal bodyguard [Black Panther Vol.2 #6]. In America he shared a romance with fellow student Nikki he even gave her a Wakandan bangle as proof of his affections. Zuri did not approve however since was not of the realm and they too drifted apart [Black Panther Vol. 2 #6].
Upon returning to Wakanda he went through the trails to acquire the heart shaped herb and in the process found himself captured by the villainous A.I.M of which B’Tumba was a member. B’Tumba could not kill his friend however and instead sided with him against A.I.M but was mortally wounded in the battle. A.I.M retreated and B’Tumba died after the two reconciled [Avengers #87].
He next ventured to the annual event where anyone can challenge the king for the throne T’challa bested his uncle S’yan and became the King of Wakanda as was his birthright. His cousin T’shan was furious that his father had through his defeat handed the throne to T’challa [Black Panther Vol.4 #2].
One of T’challa’s first acts as king was to disband the Hatut Zeraze/Dogs of War who acted as the Wakandan’s secret police. They were led by his adopted older brother Hunter. Despite his wishes however the Hatut Zeraze simple reassembled under Hunter outside of Wakanda and continued to operate [Black Panther Vol.3 #10]. The Hatut Zeraze were perceived as Wakandan Zealots who would do anything to keep the nation safe such as assassination, sedation, extortion etc. The new king wanted nothing to do with any such acts. T’challa also sold small portions of Vibranium to scientific institutions globally, thus bolstering his riches and amassing outside technology [Fantastic Four #53]. Another childhood friend of his was left to rule in his absence, M’Baku despite being from the rival Jabari Tribe [Avengers #62].
To test if he was ready to face Klaw who had become super-powered he invited the Fantastic Four to his nation and dispatched them one by one [Fantastic Four #52]. After evaluating that they were kind and just he llied with them and together they defeated Klaw [Fantastic Four #53-54].
On a mission to Panther Island he met with the Inhumans lead by Black Bolt and battled the Pscho man [Fantastic Four Anual #5]. T’challa would then join the Avengers to monitor and evaluate their threat level to Wakanda. Here he would face the Grim Reaper[Avengers #52], The Brotherhood of Mutants [Avengers#53], The Masters of Evil [Avengers #54], Yellowjacket [Avengers #59], the Circus of Crime [Avengers #60], Surtur and Ymir [Avengers #61], The Scarlet Centurian [Avengers Annual #2] and Ultron [Avengers #55].
His most personal trial however came when facing M’Baku “The Man Ape”. Upon entering Wakanda he and his allies were attacked and while having dinner with M’Baku they were knocked unconscious. Upon being awoken he finds that M’Baku has taken to worshiping the White Gorilla once more and plans to defeat T’challa and supplant him as King of Wakanda. During their fight T’challa saves him from certain death only to be knocked unconscious by the villain. M’Baku is apparently killed when his later plans are foiled by the Avengers involvement [Avengers #62].
Later adventures with the team have him facing Madd Thinker [Avengers #53], Swordsman [Avengers #65], Ultron 6 [Avengers #68], Kang the Conqueror [Avengers #69] and time traveling to World War 2 [Avengers #56] and battling the Squadron Supreme in the present and future [Avengers #70-71]. Teaming up with Daredevil he also learned the costumed hero’s true identity of Matt Murdock [Daredevil #52].
Outspoken American singer Monica Lynn finds herself in the cross hairs of the Sons of the Serpent after speaking out against the group when she makes a televised appearance. She is saved by the Black Panther [Avengers #73]. While infiltrating their hideout in disguise he is caught and unmasked. They then use his costume and image to fuel racial tensions by making it appear he is a villain. The Avengers intervene and he is saved thus exposing the true villains [Avengers #74]. It is soon after this that he falls in love with Monica Lynn.
Later adventures include battling Arkon [Avengers #75], Hulk [Incredible Hulk #128], The masters of Evil led by Klaw [Avengers #83], Zodiac [Avengers #80], Psyklop [Avengers #88] the Squadron Supreme [Avengers #85-86], The Savage Land mutates [Avengers #105], Magneto [Avengers 110-111], Space Phantoms[Avengers #106]. He also teams up with Daredevil again [Avengers #88].
When Latverian monarch, Dr. Doom tries to steal Vibranium from the nation Black Panther is called back to defend Wakanda. He stalemates Dr. Doom when he threatens to destroy the Vibranium mound instead of have it fall into the villain’s hands. He also bruises Doom’s ego when he states that while Doom’s ancestors were living in caves his ancestors had already created a successful civilization [Astonishing Tales #6-7].
He aids his friend Daredevil’s secret identity by impersonating him before the media [Daredevil #92]. Black Panther even tries to have his friend join the Avengers to no avail [Daredevil #99]. The Lion God then possesses some men and demands T’challa return to Wakanda as she plats to kill the Panther God. Thor aids the team and the god flees [Avengers #112]. T’challa’s time away from home starts to take a toll on him as Kang returns for revenge [Giant Sized Avengers #2], the team is abducted by the Collector [Avengers #119] and T’challa faces Star Stalker [Avengers #124] and Thanos the mad Titan [Avengers #125].
T’challa also creates a flight Harness for Samuel Wilson/Falcon, Captain America’s partner and aids them to face the secret Empire [Captain America #169-171].
Killmonger and Return to Wakanda
Upon returning to Wakanda with Monica Lynn he found his country threatened by the very capable Erik Killmonger who had made the most successful threat to his rule yet. Facing Erik Killmonger at the famous Warrior falls he was defeated by the villain and his pet Leopard, Prey [Jungle Action #6].
Allied with Venomm [Jungle Action #7-8], Baron Macabre [Jungle Action #9], Kid Cadaver [Jungle Action #10], Lord Karnaj [Jungle Action #11], Sombre [Jungle Action #12-14], Salamander K’ruel [Jungle Action #15] and an army the King found himself overwhelmed from without and within.
Monica Lynn was also framed for the murder of a Wakandan until it was discovered that it was Malice who was upset that the king chose a foreigner over her.
Fighting his way through Serpent Valley he faced Killmonger once more. Again T’challa found himself defeated. It was the intervention of the boy Kantu who knocked Killmonger over the falls and to his death [Jungle Action #17]. Remnants of Killmonger’s siege lingered however and the Panther had to face Madame Slay [Jungle Action #18].
Later threats to his rule include half brother Jakarra [Black Panther Vol.1 #6-10], Princess Zanda [Black Panther 1-5], Kiber the Cruel [Black Panther #8-12], Supremacists of Azania [Black Panther #1-2] and even a disgruntled Panther God in the Techno Organic Jungle [Black Panther #3-4]. Another formidable threat came in the form of Soloman Prey who had allied with Malice [Black Panther: Panther’s Prey #1-4]
King Soloman’s Frogs also allowed him to meet a future telepathic version of himself who was about to die. To change his future he broke up with Monica Lynn and kept his body in stasis.
T’challa also funded the super team Fantastic Force which housed fellow Wakandan Vibraxas. When he returns to America to solve a murder he befriends agent Everette Ross, fights off another attempted coup by Achebe and Killmonger before handing over ruling of the country to the council and setting up Kasper Cole as his agent in the Americas.
Marriage and Fall from grace
Returning home again he rekindled his love with Storm and eventually they wed as civil war raged in America. Together they lead the Fantastic Four among other things and dealing with an increasingly Xenophobic Wakandan population.
He is severely injured by Dr. Doom and was succeeded by his sister Shuri who became the newest Black Panther. He is only able to escape death when his wife risks her own life to rescue him from oblivion.Together they battled Dr. Doom who threatened the world by stealing their nations Vibranium. In the aftermath of that battle Wakanda is left bereft of it’s highly advanced technology built by Vibranium.
T’challa is no longer the Black Panther and he has decided to leave his nation to “test” himself in Daredevil’s former stomping grounds in Hell’s Kitchen. After months in America as a vigilante he faces off and defeats Kingpin who tried to usurp Wakandan lands with the help of the hand. He returns to Wakanda while receiving marriage counseling with Storm who had joined the Avengers.
In the Necropolis, the Wakandan city of the dead he is granted great power and knowledge by Bast the Panther God who has him abdicate his throne to become the Black Panther, King of the dead while his sister becomes Queen of Wakanda.
During Avengers vs X-men he sided with the Avengers while she sided with the X-men putting them in direct conflict. When her ally Namor flooded the Wakandan capital she was branded a traitor and criminal and their marriage annulled. Still in love but now apart they have both vowed to remain friends but move on with their lives. T’challa later reforms the Illuminati along with Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Beast, Mr. Fantastic and Namor, Wakandan public enemy number one. Despite this alliance he plans to kill Namor after they manage to save existence.