I loved The Black Panther comic book as a kid – hell, I loved everything that Jack Kirby drew as a kid – but T’Challa was a different kind of superhero that became one of my favorites as my interest in comics grew throughout my life. Representation in comics was much more diverse than in the mainstream media and I loved how Marvel and Stan Lee’s subversive use of the medium ingrained in a generation of children the notion of inclusion. And Stan’s use of of characters and plot-driven narratives that spoke to the larger issues society was facing helped introduce a lot of complex conversations into a child’s perspective.
When I heard that they were going to make a Black Panther movie I was very excited by the possibility that this wonderful character and his nation of Wakanda might finally get its due in a big blockbuster. Never in my wildest dream would I have imagined a better actor to portray the king than Chadwick Boseman. His performances as T’Challa were fantastic in and of themselves; however, when you realize that he was fighting stage III cancer in his introductory roles which progressed into stage IV for the later films it becomes otherworldly.
To think that in spite of fighting a terminal disease, this actor gave his peak physical and mental focus on these films is a feat of a true superhero. HIs dedication to his craft, his fellow actors and crew, and most of all his fans who loved and adored him is a testament to his legacy.
I am terribly saddened by the loss of Chadwick. May his family and friends find some peace in the days ahead.
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