What Was Wakanda Like Before T'Challa Was King?

In Abandoned an' Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically "overturned" by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Today, based on a suggestion I've received from a bunch of people (first ones being Chris N. and Tom A.), we look at when, exactly, Wakanda went from being a traditional small African country until King T'Challa transformed it into one of the richest countries in the world to being a rich and technologically advanced country for decades before T'Challa became their king!

We first met Wakanda in Fantastic Four #52 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott). In that story, the whole deal is that no one, not even Reed Richards, actually knows anything about Wakanda. They are a mysterious country whose chieftain asks the Fantastic Four to visit. He offers them a fancy new ship just to entice them to come to his country (Reed Richards is easy to buy off).

They get there and they are shocked that, hidden within Africa, is a secretive country with futuristic technology!

Once there, the Fantastic Four find themselves battling the head of Wakanda, King T'Challa - the Black Panther! Panther almost defeats them all, but he did not know that Johnny Storm's new college buddy, Wyatt Wingfoot, was along for the ride (Reed Richards is EXTREMELY open with letting people go on flights that could be dangerous. Like how he said, "Yeah, sure, my civilian girlfriend's teenage brother should totally on my illegal space mission! I'm a genius, so it must be a good idea! How could an idea thought up by a genius go wrong?") and Wyatt helped the FF fight back. Anyhow, it turned out that Panther just wanted to test himself against a mighty foe because he was about to fight against his arch-rival, Klaw.

In the next issue, T'Challa told the story of how Klaw killed T'Challa's father while trying to steal Vibranium from Wakanda...

Note that Wakanda was still quite primitive at the time that King T'Chaka was murdered. T'Challa specifically notes here that it was only when he went out to prepare for the return of Klaw that he began to sell Vibranium and build up Wakanda as a country of the future.

That was the status quo for years. That Wakanda was a primitive country, despite the existence of the great Vibranium mound, until T'Challa turned it into the futuristic city of technological marvels that it is today.

Even when Don McGregor gave T'Challa his first ongoing series in the pages of Jungle Action, it was re-iterated that it was only under T'Challa that things got all high tech in Wakanda...

Many years later, in 1993's Fantastic Four Unlimited #1, T'Challa once again explains that it was he who built Wakanda into a technological miracle.

However, that status quo would not last for long! In just a few years, the history of Wakanda (and T'Chaka in particular) would be changed forever!

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