52 years ago in Fantastic Four #52, Black Panther debuted as the first black superhero in mainstream American comic books. His alter ego is T’Challa, head of the Panther Tribe and king of Wakanda, a fictional African nation in the Marvel Comics universe. T'Challa was married to Storm of the X-Men for six years and, as Black Panther, fought alongside the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. The character was never as well-known as these Marvel Comics heavyweights, but that appears to be changing. Actor Chadwick Boseman was lauded for his performance as T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War, and the Black Panther solo movie is setting records for advance ticket sales.
Which makes this the perfect time to look back at how Black Panther has evolved, starting with his genesis in 1965 and debut the following year. We've included every major costume within the mainstream Marvel Comics continuity except for designs worn for only a short time. We also look at his Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances plus three other superheroes who briefly took up the mantle as Black Panther.
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Which era of Black Panther was your favorite? Are you a fan of the classic Jack Kirby costume? Or maybe one of the gold-accented designs starting in the 90s? (Gold shows so well against the black costume, but it’s downright subtle compared to some other 90s comic designs!) How about the Captain America: Civil War or Black Panther solo movie variants? Let us know in the comments! If you liked seeing how Black Panther evolved, you might be interested in our articles on Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, and Ant-Man! And if you’re looking for Black Panther costumes this Halloween, remember that we have a huge variety of superhero costumes to choose from.
Infographic Designed and Illustrated by Kate Willaert