'The Black Panther': America's First Black Superhero Returns

Shadowandact.com
Shadowandact.com

The new 12-episode TV and DVD series The Black Panther has nothing do with the black-empowerment group of the 1960s 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 (40 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 "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."

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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 and singer Jill Scott also have roles.

Read or listen to the full interview at NPR.

In other news: Al Sharpton: MLK Fought for Unions, and So Will I.

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