If it's crap ... We'll tell you
When I heard the early rumors of Marvel producing a Black Panther series I was excited. Marvel has a rich history of ethnic diversity, and while there are many black heroes in their comics none have the epic nature of the Panther. Created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Black Panther is ground breaking character. In this point of time people of color were at best exploitation caricatures, side kicks, or two bit hustlers. The Black Panther is a king of Africa, and not only a king, but king to a prosperous vibrant nation that has never been defeated in combat.
To be totally honest I am not fan of BET, and when the rumors were confirmed that Marvel would be teaming up with BET to air the Black Panther cartoon I was more then a little disappointed with the whole affair. BET has done more harm propagating black stereotypes then providing good thought invoking programing. Catch Aaron McGruder's editorials in the Boondocks to get my exact feelings towards that channel.
Its unfair to call the Black Panther series a cartoon it is actually a motion comic. Marvel has had some success with them, and even created Marvel Knight Studies to produce motion comics. I find this quite fitting, Marvel produces more adult theme comics under this brand. The action in these comics and motion comics can be quite graphic and might not be suited for younger viewers.
I had the pleasure to see Marvels earlier motion comics and I must say the animation isn't as good as Black Panther. When your watching Astonishing Xmen or Iron Man Extremis you know your watching a motion comic, you can tell the images are stills with a few frames movement added. There were moments in Black Panther that I felt like was watching a full fledge cartoon. I don't how Marvel Knights Studio did it, but I think they really hit their stride with this series. The artwork is beautiful and the integration of animation is flawless.
Marvel brought in the A talent with voice acting, casting; Dijmon Honsou as Black Panther, Stan Lee as General Wallace, Alfre Woodard as Dondi Reese, Queen Mother, and Jill Scott as Storm. Jill Scott portrayal was way more believable then Halle Berry's awful work in the Xmen live action movies.
All in all I liked the series, coming in with low expectations helped, but Marvel did a good job putting this all together. The episodes are short 10-12 mins, in actuality about 6 mins when you cut out the theme and the previous episode catch up. But at the end of an episode had me wanting more. I was lucky enough to watch the whole thing in one sitting. I could not imagine the torture of waiting week to week, to find out what happens.
This turned out to be a real winner for me and I hope it gets the attention it deserves. I would like to see Panther get a 30 minute cartoon series, or even his own full length animated movie. The character has the depth and history to pull it off, Marvel has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to diversity. They proved that a black hero is not just a gimmick, something to draw in niche crowd. Thanks to the vision of Lee and Kirby us black kids had a role model, who wasn't a pimp a gangster, or lab experiment, no slight to you Luke Cage, T'challa is a king.