Pop culture guru Rob Weiner has led several courses and authored multiple books about comics, superheroes and film.
This weekend, Marvel Studios will release its latest superhero film, “Black Panther.” Texas Tech University pop culture librarian and film, comic book and superhero expert Rob Weiner has led several courses on superheroes, comics, film and pop culture and is the author of “Marvel Graphic Novels and Related Publications: An Annotated Guide.” Weiner says there is great excitement surrounding the release of the movie, which features a mostly black cast and African-American director Ryan Coogler.
- Backstory of the Black Panther
- The Black Panther's role as the first African superhero in mainstream comics
- The importance of diversity in comic book movies and superhero films
- “Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby during the civil rights era, the Black Panther first appeared in ‘Fantastic Four #52' in 1966 and eventually became a regular member of the Avengers. It is hard to imagine just how revolutionary the concept of having a mainstream black superhero was in 1966, but it was rare at the time.”
- “In 1973, Black Panther was given an ongoing series in the pages of ‘Jungle Action #5.' Under the writing of Don McGregor, this series brought critical and mainstream acclaim to the character. The character's storylines, like ‘Panther vs. The Clan' where he takes on the Ku Klux Klan, were milestones in comic storytelling and social activism through the medium.”
- “When I've attended scholarly comic studies conferences, many of the academics I've talked to point out our current crop of comic book movies, especially superhero films, don't go far enough in terms of race and gender. The success of ‘Wonder Woman' in 2017 showed that a comic book superheroine movie can be commercially viable. Hopefully, ‘Black Panther' can show that a black superhero movie featuring a diverse cast will also be successful.”