So, in high school, I developed a passion for comics (heroic, mostly). This was just before the time of Graphic Novels exploded in popularity where individual comic book issues were still the dominant form of comic book collecting/reading. In my freshman year, I found several acquaintances who shared my passion and I watched as they traded issues amongst themselves.
Eventually, I joined their group and began to become involved in reading and trading comics. As noted before, Spider-Man was my favorite hero at the time and I traded whenever possible for Spider-Man comics. However, one of my friends bought and read a four-issue mini-series of Black Panther. He traded it to me and I read it and enjoyed it, but again, wanted as many issues of Spider-Man as possible, so then I traded it for four Spider-Man comics. My friend found out about it and confronted me and said that if I wanted to trade them to “X” person, I would have done so, but I traded them to you. Luckily, our friendship survived that “rocky” incident, and flourished during our junior and senior years (but unfortunately, we lost touch during college), but I’ve always regretted trading away those comics.
Black Panther is such a “unique” character in that he (along with Storm) represent a non-traditional representation of a character of African descent. While I like Cyborg (yes, I know, different publisher than Black Panther and Storm), I’ve always found that his characterization (like most African-American, African-descendent characters) relied on too much stereotype (esp. in the late 80s/early 90s). Cyborg (and other characters of color) during that time period would often drop endings on words (such as I’m goin’, I’m goin’). In the late 90s, early 2000s, this morphed to “cool” catchphrases such as “Booyah!” Black Panther and Storm are both articulate and well-spoken, highly moral (often surpassing Captain America in terms of “Goodness”), and highly educated. They are often aspirational and represent the “best” of the culture of African/African Americans/Those of Color.
With the upcoming Black Panther movie, I really wish that I’d kept that particular mini-series. While I’m familiar with the Black Panther, I’d love a “refresher course” on the character to see what changes Marvel has made. I’d also love to be able to compare comic and movie changes to Black Panther in the same way that I could do a comparison with Spider-Man’s movies and comics. I will try to find out if that storyline was adapted/reprinted in a Graphic Novel, but somehow it won’t be the same. To have the actual issues in hand to refer back to as well as the nostalgia of the issues and the trade and the friendship–that is something older me would tell younger me is far more important than the ephemeral satisfaction of “making the trade.”