Fantastic Four #119 (Black Leopard)

T’Challa changes his name from Black Panther to Black Leopard.


Roy Thomas



John Buscema, Artie Simek







Publication Date



In 1972 the Black Panther Party had gained such notoriety that Stan Lee thought it necessary to change the Black Panther to the “Black Leopard” in issue #119 of the Fantastic Four.

To emphasize Marvel’s position on the “radical” political party, and thereby T’Challa’s position, we are presented with the following quote in FF #119:

“The latter term [meaning the Black Panther] has political implications.  I neither condemn nor condone those who have taken up the name — but T’Challa is a law unto himself.”

The Black Panther Directive

For my Trekkie friends in the house, this quote sounds a lot like the Prime Directive in Star Trek.  The Prime Directive is a non-interference directive that prohibits members of Starfleet from meddling in, “the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely.”

This Black Panther mandate work’s in a similar fashion.  The Black Panther himself represents “Starfleet” being that he is the ruler of the “most technologically advanced country on the planet earth.”

When he states, “I neither condemn nor condone those who have taken on the name…” he is refusing to offer his power, resources or talent to their cause or to any African-American cause.  Especially those causes deemed controversial to Marvel Comics. 

Secondly, T’Challa states that he is a “law unto himself.”  Which means as a King he does not follow anyone’s rules.  He follows his OWN rules and does whatever HE wants to do.  This may be directed towards any foreign government or country he finds himself in.

However, I believe this statement is directed more towards the African-American community and the collective African diaspora.  Ultimately, this means T’Challa’s actions are not governed by the whims and cultural mandates of the African diaspora.  

Killmonger was right!?

You may be reading this and thinking this is a reach but this “directive” eventually found its way into the storyline of the Black Panther Movie in 2018; 46 years after it was first introduced.  In the film, Wakanda’s “non-interference” is the very thing that raises the ire of the “villain” Killmonger. And it’s the first thing he changes when he overthrows T’Challa.  

“I want the throne. You are all sitting up here comfortable. Must feel good. There’s about two billion people around the world who look like us and their lives are a lot harder. Wakanda has the tools to liberate them all.”

In the film, T’Challa ultimately relents and extends aid to a community in Oakland by buying property and making plans for “outreach” centers.  

I am not aware of T’Challa ever doing anything of that nature in the Black Panther comic book.  If he has, I’d love to hear about it.


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