In all the excitement about Spider-Man’s appearance in the latest Captain America: Civil War trailer, you might not have noticed that Black Panther still has yet to deliver a single line. Okay, you probably noticed. You might have even wondered why T’Challa hasn’t been getting the same amount of marketing attention as the other Avengers. After all, he’s the newest character — shouldn’t Marvel Studios want to introduce new audiences to him?
Marvel’s marketing team doesn’t plan to keep T’Challa in the background for much longer. In addition to launching a new Black Panther comic book series by mega-talented duo Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze, which will debut its first issue on April 6th, Marvel has a few other marketing ideas in store — mostly merchandise, such as “apparel, toys, collectibles, home goods, and more,” according to a press release.
In addition to the items pictured above — such as action figures, clothing for men and women, LEGO figs — the planned lineup also includes “bags from Fast Forward and Global Design Concepts,” as well as “wall art from Artissimo and Pyramid, novelties from Monogram, and costumes for kids and adults from Rubies and Party City.”
Did you know it’s almost Black Panther’s 50th Anniversary? Paul Gitter, the senior VP of licensing for Marvel at Disney Consumer Products, explains that much of the upcoming marketing push will focus on that: “With a new comic book and his first appearance in a Marvel film both occurring during his 50th anniversary year, excitement is already underway for Black Panther product. We are excited to debut this all-new lineup of offerings so fans can start showing off their love for the newest member of the Avengers team.”
It’s weird to think of Black Panther as being a “new member” of anything because he’s a decades-old legacy character at this point. Admittedly, he’s not as old as Captain America, who recently enjoyed his 75th Anniversary, but 50 years? Nothing to sneeze at!
Still, a casual superhero/action-movie fan likely won’t know anything about Black Panther except for what they see in the Civil War movie — and that’s totally fine. But it does mean that Marvel needs to consider how the character comes across in that super big-budget, highly visible movie. And also the trailers for that movie. Hint, hint … ?
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