As a professional comic book artist and comic book historian. Yep, I married Uber Nerd!
So, I think it’s important to point out that Stan Lee, co-creater of Black Panther, did so in a turbulent time (1966) of racial inequities, strife and down right human degradation of African Americans. Marvel’s recent push toward diversity and inclusion from comic book pages to the big screen is changing they way characters were once portrayed. They were almost all White.
Did you know that “Iron Man was black in the ’80s, but now Iron Man is also a woman. The Hulk is Korean American. Marjorie Liu penned the first gay marriage in comics for Astonishing X-Men in 2012; in 2014, Thor became the eighth Marvel title to feature a female lead protagonist.
And yes, Black Panther, a blockbuster movie ( grossed $1.346 billion… I looked that up!) with a black lead, and a black director, premiering during Black History Month made history by breaking the proverbial bank with basically everybody that went and watched and LOVED IT! Stan Lee knew way back in the day that there weren’t enough black superheroes and thought hey, let’s make some!” And he did.
From 1966 to 2018, things have changed, maybe not by leaps and bounds (that’s a different cinematic universe), but changing nonetheless. Here is one of Stan Lee’s Soap Box blurbs that he would put in at the end of his comics. Stan used his Soapbox as a force for good and encouraged readers to just flat out not be bigoted. By the way… Luke Cage is a badass, too!