Black Panther has been beloved for quite a while, but he’s never quite achieved the mainstream awareness characters like Spider-Man enjoy. All that changed this year, his 50th anniversary, with Chadwick Boseman delivering one of the best performances in Captain America: Civil War, and with Ta-Nehisi Coates writing and Brian Stelfreeze handling art in a new series. And the latter has meant Panther’s new book is flying off the shelves.
It’ll likely either keep the crown or come close, too. Currently, the book has sold a quarter of a million physical copies, and that’s not the whole story. Comic-book publishers don’t generally report sales of digital copies, so the overall total is slightly off. Nor have reorders or reissues been counted yet, so Wakanda’s ruler might see substantial more play. For contrast, if a comic book moves 60,000 issues, it’s generally considered a hit.
The book deserves the sales. Coates and Stelfreeze have, in two issues, redrawn Wakanda as a complicated place more reflective of African history while paying tribute to the original idea of it as an advanced, reclusive society with little interest in, or taste for, outsiders. It also tears down a few ideas about the place, such as the fact that everybody is a big fan of Black Panther, or that he’s perceived by all as a just, capable ruler. It’s been a fascinating run so far, and quite unlike what anyone was expecting.
If you’d like to get caught up, you’ve got time. The second issue just arrived last week, and the third is due on June 15. Of course this won’t be the end of Panther’s visibility, as his solo Marvel movie arrives in 2018.
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)