Midday Culture Connections: Black Panther and the Evolution of Black Superheroes | WYPR

Midday Culture Connections: Black Panther and the Evolution of Black Superheroes

Mar 6, 2018

Credit Photo Courtesy Marvel Studios

Black artists are enjoying more mainstream success behind the camera as well as on the screen, in roles crafted to speak to the entirety of the black experience throughout the African Diaspora.  

Perhaps no film embodies that truth more so than Black Panther.  The latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been smashing box office records around the world, and thus far, has grossed nearly $900 million world-wide.

On today’s edition of Midday Culture Connections with Dr. Sheri Parks, we reflect on the history of race, representation and inclusivity in the world of comics, and how Black Panther has flipped the script on feminism in film.

From problematic caricatures steeped in racist stereotypes for the consumption of white audiences, to King T’Challa, the billion dollar box office powerhouse; it appears we are seeing an important evolution of Black comic book characters. 

Sheri Parks is an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at the Univ of Maryland College Park. She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.

And from the studios of WBEZ in Chicago, Dr. Stanford Carpenter joins us.  He’s a cultural anthropologist, comic book creator, and scholar of comic books. He serves on the board of the annual Black Comic Arts Festival, and Pocket-con a convention that focuses on comics for young boys and girls of color.