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 by reader Tom A., we look into how Marvel retconend how T’Challa lost his father, T’Chaka.
The last time I did an Abandoned an’ Forsaked, I talked about how the depiction of how Wakanda appeared in the past had already been altered during Christopher Priest’s run on the title. However, the basics behind King T’Chaka’s death remained mostly the same.
The first time that we learned of King T’Chaka’s death was in Fantastic Four #53 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott), when T’Challa explains to the Fantastic Four why he lured them to Wakanda the previous issue just so that he could beat them up. As it turns out, he was planning on preparing himself to fight against Klaw, the man who murdered his father (what I am unsure, by the way, is whether we ever learned why T’Challa knew that Klaw was about to attack at that particular time. He tells us that he had been waiting for Klaw’s attack for years but what made him so sure it was happening soon? I’m sure there’s an answer, btu I don’t happen to know it offhand).
So he then explains to the Fantastic Four precisely how the evil Klaw killed T’Challa’s virtuous father, T’Chaka…
Note, again, how it really IS like T’Challa is going through is own version of “I shall become a bat,” right? He decides to become a Black Panther specifically to avenge his father.
Anyhow, as I noted in that other column, Christopher Priest re-wrote the history of T’Chaka to make him officially a Black Panther, as well.
However, while the change of T’Chaka into a Black Panther certainly dramatically altered the history of the Black Panther as a lineage (as it clearly was not intended to be – it would be like if Bruce Wayne found out that “Batman” was an identity handed down by Wayne over the generations. Okay, yes, Batman did find out that his dad once wore a costume that made him look like a bat-man at a party, but that’s not the same thing), it kept the basic death of T’Chaka the same. He was killed when Klaw invaded Wakanda in search of the Vibranium treasure, which is a nice, pat origin sequence.
That changed, though, when Reginald Hudlin launched a new Black Panther series in 2005…
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