Black Panther wasn’t always a red-hot property. Before there was a blockbuster movie or a Kendrick Lamar-led soundtrack, Panther was a floundering character. T’Challa was created to be as smart as Reed Richards and as talented a tactician as Captain America, but for more than 50 years, the character operated as the token Avenger. Worse, the king of fictional Wakanda never lived up to his commercial potential. That would all change with writer Reginald Hudlin.
Hudlin is better known for his extensive career in film and TV, producing Django Unchained, directing 1990’s House Party, and writing and producing 1992’s Bébé’s Kids. But he was ultimately the perfect man to unify Black Panther. There were excellent arcs, miniseries, and collections involving the character before Hudlin joined as a writer, but it was arguably his run that made the character’s story cinematic.
In February 2005, over the course of six issues, Hudlin made the continent of Africa his canvas and the deep tapestry of Marvel history his paintbrush. Operatic, epic, and easily digestible, Hudlin’s “Who Is the Black Panther?” series is one of the reasons we have the Ryan Coogler-directed film today.
In an interview with MTV News, Hudlin discussed how he got into comic books, the mission statement for his run, and why Black Panther means so much to us half a century later.
MTV News: Do you remember reading Black Panther a