Thursday, May 19, 2011

America's Original Black Comic Superhero 'Panther' Returns

The new 12-episode TV and DVD series,The Black Panther, has nothing do with the black empowerment group of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and everything to do with fantasy and animation. Co-producer Reginald Hudlin, a filmmaker and the former president of entertainment for BET, is using the project to revive the first black superhero in mainstream American comics.

The series is a partnership between Marvel Knights Animation and BET. Hudlin recently discussed the character’s return (forty years after he first appeared) and the importance of a black superhero to comic book fans with NPR’s Michel Martin.

Hudlin calls the Black Panther superhero is “a perfect idea.” Why? “He's an African king who's also a superhero. He has this technologically advanced country that is completely independent. He's wealthy, he's intelligent, he's brave and strong. He's as perfect a creation as Superman or Batman or any of the, you know, great comic book characters.”

Voices for the series should sound familiar. Black Panther’s belongs to the Academy Award-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou, originally from Benin in West Africa. Kerry Washington, Alfre Woodard, singer Jill Scott also have roles.

Read more at the Root or listen on NPR here

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