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‘A different kind of superhero’: Why ‘Black Panther’ will mean so much to so many

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The crown for the world’s greatest black superhero has always been worn by the Black Panther.

He was also the world’s first. And for more than 50 years, Marvel Comics’ African legend has been hurling a black-gloved fist to the stereotypical notion that superheroes of color only work as side characters.

T’Challa, the man under the mask, is a king who rules an African nation that has never been invaded, one that’s the most technologically advanced society in the Marvel universe. He’s been an Avenger, married and divorced a member of the X-Men, and helped fend off aliens. Few Marvel characters come close to matching his intelligence, and he’s traded punches with some of the greatest heroes and villains around and stood tall in the end. Heck, even his grandfather punched Captain America once.

Speaking of the Captain, that indestructible star-spangled shield? It’s made of vibranium, a metal mined only in T’Challa’s Wakanda.

The Black Panther has allowed comic book fans of color to look past the medium’s lack of diversity and take solace in an undeniable fact: He’s simply one of the coolest superheroes around. The rest of the world will probably catch up next Friday, when Marvel Studios releases the hotly anticipated, ecstatically reviewed “Black Panther” movie, which is expected to make at least $120 million over its opening four-day weekend.

Read full story at The Washington Post

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