Image Credit: Marvel
The Black Panther doesn’t have the same name recognition as fellow Marvel superheroes Spider-Man and Wolverine, but he’s one of the most interesting characters in comic book history. Debuting in the mid-’60s, the Panther is generally credited as the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books. (He actually predated the founding of far-left-wing ’60s group of the same name.) There’s been talk of a Black Panther movie for decades now, without any success, but it looks like Marvel is willing to try again: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios has hired documentarian Mark Bailey to draft a Black Panther screenplay.
The Panther’s superpowers aren’t very interesting. He’s super-strong and super-agile, he occasionally sprouts claws, and his senses are all enhanced, which makes him a grab-bag mix of Daredevil, Wolverine, and BraveStarr. But the mythology around the character is fascinating. King of the (fictional) African nation Wakanda, the Panther’s long comic history is dotted with intriguingly political story arcs. The Panther’s status as an actual political force gives him a unique topical resonance lacking in, say, Ghost Rider. So even though Bailey has primarily worked on documentaries with titles like Pandemic: Facing AIDS and Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, he might be the right choice for the material.