I was fully intending to use the art from Juliet McKenna’s The Green Man’s Silence for this issue’s cover. Then the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death broke and there was a last minute change of plans. I’ve been a fan of T’Challa since I was a teenager, a time when being a Black Panther meant something far more important than being a fictional superhero. In those days the character was written by a white guy called Don McGregor. He also created the character of Eric Killmonger, and was responsible for the first inter-racial kiss in mainstream comics. Having said that, Ryan Coogler’s movie makes T’Challa seem so much more like a real African superhero. That Boseman will not be available to reprise the role in the sequel is a tragedy.
The movie business will, of course, grind on. Kevin Feige & co. are doubtless still weighing their options. Like so much of their casting, the choice of Boseman to play T’Challa seemed perfect. I have no idea where they will go from here, but I have a lot of faith in their judgement.
I’d like to finish up with two things. Firstly the end credits scene from Black Panther in which T’Challa makes a speech at the UN which includes a very obvious dig and certain politicians: “In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers.” And second a reminder that the very term, Black Panther, is a protest.