Wednesday, February 14, 2007
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel changed the name of the Black Panther because of the political group by the same name.
When the Black Panther, the first black superhero, was introduced in 1966, the Black Panther Party was not around for months, so Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did not think that their new character's name would have any special connotations.
By 1972, though, that was not the case, and the name "Black Panther" was known more for its connection with the political group than for the comic book character. Therefore, in an attempt to move the character away from the group, writer Roy Thomas wrote Fantastic Four #119.
In the issue, the Thing and the Human Torch get caught up in an international problem when T'Challa, in pursuit of some crooks, gets arrested in "Rudyarda," the stand-in for South Africa.
When Johnny and Ben free T'Challa, they are unprepared to hear the following...
Luckily, T'Challa makes sure to explain himself right away...
The change, as you are well aware, did not last long. Soon, it was the Black Panther once again!