Friday, May 27, 2016

Black Panther Does Something Different

The character Black Panther makes an appearance in the latest Marvel film Captain America: Civil War with his own solo film coming in 2018 starring Chadwick Boseman. Black Panther has been around since 1966. Quick version of his story is that he is given the title of the king of Wakanda which is a very high tech place in Africa while maintaining old traditions such as the role of being Black Panther. The current one is named T'Challa and he is a bad ass even without his suit made from the metal that his country has called Vibranium. Its what Captain America's shield is made from. He kicks a lot of ass.

I was talking to a friend that has not seen almost any of these Marvel films and does not have a strong desire to about what I like most about BP and his story: he isn't a thug. He was never a thug. He is a prince that becomes king. He didn't have a troubled childhood in the mean streets that he had to fight his way out of. I love that. Why? Because I am so fucking sick of seeing it in films and from comic book characters that are Black. Yeah, I know there are some that are not like that like...shit. I am actually having trouble thinking of one. John Stewart Green Lantern maybe? Just checked. No. He seems like a dick.

Anyway, its a tale that has been beaten into the ground. Black kid in rough neighborhood, someone dies like his brother or mentor, he gets zapped by something or worse AIDS (check out Shadowhawk), then they become a hero. As someone that grew up in Los Angeles and could go find a gang member by going down the street or in some cases into the next room I am so over Black heroes having this story. There was a whole comic line that came out when I was in junior high called Milestone. Big explosion happens, all the kids in the 'hood get powers, it slowly fades into the background except for Static Shock which had life afterward. It was a Black created comic book company and they took the usual “We wanna tell our story” route.

When you have a story that shows life through “Black eyes” and its the same story over and over again and I am tired of it. It doesn't make me go “Finally someone is showing the world through the eyes of a Blacker!” As a kid and growing up I liked knowing that there were people that looked similar to me but grew up differently. It wasn't all difficult. Some dads stayed around and were nice. Some streets were good. You didn't have to be a star athlete. I guarantee you that if Black Panther was created today his childhood would have looked like something out of Beasts Of No Nation

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