Thursday, January 17, 2008

Reggie Hudlin on the Black Panther

Since I seem to have some comic-book nerds in the house, below is a clip of Reginald Hudlin talking about Marvel’s Black Panther, which he has been writing.

This was taped at last year’s New York Comic Con and uploaded by


Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm glad Hudlin mentioned the previous run by Christopher Priest one of the only (or maybe the only) other black men to write the character's solo title, and whose run was a lot more interesting than -- but not nearly as popular as -- Hudlin's.

Not to get too into the comic geek minutiae, but one of the key aspects of Hudlin's run has been the Panther getting married to Storm, in an awkward "He's our only male African character, she's our only female African character, so shouldn't they shack up?" coupling. The two had some minor romantic history in stories published decades ago, but not enough to justify getting them to jump the broom after all this time.

Comb & Razor said...

wow... i had no idea Alan Sepinwall was a comic geek!

i haven't read Hudlin's Panther in ages, though... it started out okay (despite some retconning of Priest's excellent run) but i grew weary by the time of the Luke Cage team-up and the Lauryn Hill stand-in character. it seemed like Reggie was trying way too hard to establish T'Challa as this legendary character everybody in the Marvel Universe is in awe of.

he is right that the Black Panther kinda needed to be pumped up from the second-banana status he'd fallen into after his strong early appearances, though.

interesting factoid: the Black Panther's name was briefly changed to "the Black Leopard" in the early 1970s because of the... "political connotations" that had accrued to his original name in the US!

Dan Coyle said...

Alan: interestingly enough, Priest proposed (and was shot down) a Storm/T'Challa marriage, but his plan was to slowly build to it over time, not this sudden "hey, we were always meant to be together" play.

The romantic history started with a Chris Claremont/John Byrne story in Marvel Team-Up #100- they met when they were teenagers, there was a spark, but two ships passing in the night, blah blah blah.

To Marvel's credit, when the Storm/Panther marriage was decided on, they put in the Storm miniseries written by Eric Jerome Dickey that reformatted and expanded on the relationship. I haven't read this book but I hear it's quite good.

I think with Hudlin's run, the problem is that often his work is just too stilted and plothammering. After his first arc, Panther's mother suddenly declared he should get married. So in the second arc, he went looking for a bride, but everyone would say, "you know, you and Storm should hook up." Even Panther's ex-girlfriends were saying that to him! "We were great together, but you KNOW who you should be with..."
There was an awkardity to it that was... it bugged me. Now that they're married it's not so bad, but just not as fun and exciting as the Don MacGregor and Priest runs on the character.

Dan Coyle said...

If our host would like to read some Black Panther comics, I'd recommend:

Black Panther: The Client and Black Panther: Enemy of the State, which comprise the first 12 issues of the Priest run, and an attempted coup in Wakanda, among other things. Funny, exciting, badass, though it focuses too much at times on the goopy diplomat Everett K. Ross, hapless white dude.

Black Panther: Bad Mutha- this was the only Hudlin run story that I've really liked- it's just four issues of BP tearing around the US with other black superheroes, including Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo, and Monica Rambeau.

Undercover Black Man said...

If our host would like to read some Black Panther comics...

Ummmmmmmmm... hmmmmmm... uhhhhhh...

Seriously though, Dan, thanks for the recommendation. But I'll stay a P-Funk geek, TV geek, improv geek, stand-up comedy geek, history geek, nostalgia geek and talk-radio geek.

Thanks for the background info, Alan and Comb & Razor.

dnA said...

Never forget:

Black Panther kicked Captain America's ass.


For that, he will ALWAYS be my hero.

Andy said...

I've never been a huge BP fan - but Priest's run was very good, and I wish I'd come into it earlier.

His short lived post-BP title...what was it called - "The Crew" I think, was also quite good.

I definitely noticed some sloopy writing on Hudlin's part, which still continues to this day, but overall I have to say it's been pretty decent (continuity bungling aside).

It's hard to hold that against him too much though, because many other writers (even good ones) do the same thing.

Some things definitely came off as a little jarring to me - but it's tough to know what kind of a valid perspective on blackness I can have as a non-member of the club. So I generally reserve judgment on those aspects.

I think I was a little annoyed with his characterization of Luke Cage, but I really only have the modern Bendis version to compare it to.

Priest is excellent, that guy can write a comic book. Hopefully Marvel gets him back on board for something soon. I'd dig the Crew 2.0.

I also give Marvel props for pushing the wedding as a big event, they really "made space" for it, allowing it to even briefly interrupt their big yearly event build up (Civil War), and I think I even saw some major media spots about it - there was something about Storm's dress being designed by a real designer or something too.

Hey Dan, what did you think of Monica Rambeau in Nextwave? Kind of a switch on her character...I wasn't real fond of that in particular, but I found the book itself hilarious. She's always been another character I really dug, but that doesn't get much face time anymore.

DJ Black Adam said...

I am trying to keep reading Black Panther, heck, I really enjoyed everything up until after the Marvel Zombies tie in.

Dan Coyle said...

Andy: Didn't read NextWave. I would hope that someone at Marvel would take her and use her on a title well, perhaps Dwayne McDuffie, but he's got his hands full with DC gigs.

I did like the way Hudlin used her in BP, and how T'Challa built her up.

CAB said...

Anyone else a little unhappy with the current BP comics?

UBM, you're a nostalgia geek? What does that mean?

Undercover Black Man said...

UBM, you're a nostalgia geek? What does that mean?

Cab, that means I get all glassy-eyed and smiley when presented with '70s artifacts... old Top-40 songs, old TV shows, old magazines, old Archie comics, old baseball cards...

Anonymous said...

WTF is a ghetto NERD? What an asshole!