So far it seems as though Marvel's Black Panther is having a banner year -- just in time for the character's 50th anniversary. In the same month as his big screen debut in Captain America: Civil War, it's been reported that Black Panther No. 1, written by acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates with art by Brian Stelfreeze & Laura Martin, sold 253,259 issues in its first month, making it the current bestseller of 2016.
In addition to being a best-seller Black Panther No.1 was also greeted with excellent reviews. This should be no surprise since the release of the new series has had comic book fans excited since it was announced that Coates would be taking over the writing of Marvel's first mainstream black superhero. Coates is known for his work as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has also written a memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, and Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Coates' impressive career is combined with a love for the Marvel world, making him the perfect man for the job. Shortly after agreeing to take over the series for his year-long arc, Coates said in an interview that he "was immediately an Amazing Spider-Man fan.” He also said that he is strictly a Marvel man, that he doesn’t read DC comic books and that he prefers the “weirdos and freaks” in X-Men to the characters of the DC universe.
The book focuses on the efforts of Black Panther and King of the fictional Wakanda, T'Challa, to fairly rule and care for his homeland. He also finds himself having to fight a superhuman terrorist group called The People that have sparked a violent uprising among the citizens of Wakanda.
Though it hasn't broken any records, it's considered an amazing debut for a character that isn't usually part of marvel's A-List. THR reported that these numbers are comparable to last year's bestsellers of fan-favorite characters like, "Invincible Iron Man No. 1, which sold 279,000 copies and Spider-Gwen No. 1 which sold 254,000 copies. It outpaces such stalwarts as Spider-Man and the X-Men which generally sell in the 75,000-100,000 copies-a-month range." Further, the book is expected to reach 300,000 copies sold once re-orders are factored in.
The fact that the comics are selling so well, and that Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther was happily received by fans, is really pushing this character into the limelight. Combine that with movie's recent casting news, of a 90 percent African or African-American cast, being met with such joy on social media, the Black Panther movie is due for some serious hype.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.