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The Black Panther (T'Challa) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller and co-plotter Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966). He is the first black superhero in mainstream American comics, debuting years before such early African-American superheroes as Marvel Comics' the Falcon (1969) and Luke Cage (1972), and DC Comics' Green Lantern John Stewart (1971), Tyroc (1976), and Black Lightning (1977). The character is usually depicted as the king and protector of Wakanda, a fictional African nation. Chadwick Boseman portrays the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War (2016) and is set to return in Black Panther (2018), both set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Black Panther's name predates the October 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party, though not the black panther logo of the party's predecessor, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, nor the segregated World War II Black Panthers Tank Battalion. He is the first black superhero in mainstream comic books; virtually no black heroes were created before him, and none with actual superpowers. These included the characters in the single-issue, low-distribution All-Negro Comics #1 (1947); Waku, Prince of the Bantu, who starred in his own feature in the omnibus title Jungle Tales, from Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics; and the Dell Comics Western character Lobo, the first black person to star in his own comic book. Previous non-caricatured Black supporting characters in comics include U.S. Army infantry private Gabriel Jones of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.
Co-creator Stan Lee recounted that the name was inspired by a pulp adventure hero who has a black panther as a helper. Because many people mistakenly assumed the name referenced the Black Panther Party, the character was briefly renamed the Black Leopard, which Lee said was reverted because neither the readers nor the creators cared for the new name. Jack Kirby's original concept art for Black Panther used the concept name, "Coal Tiger."