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With the release of the massive crossover film Captain America: Civil War just weeks away, Marvel Entertainment is going all-in with a huge push for Black Panther.
Though much of the buzz about the upcoming film has been centered on the first appearance of a certain wall-crawling web-slinger in the MCU, one of the most exciting aspect of the film is the on-screen debut of T’Challa of Wakanda, also known as Black Panther.
Marvel has received widespread criticism for its seeming lack of diversity on screen, but Black Panther represents a major paradigm shift for the company. In ramping up the merchandise line for the character, Marvel is demonstrating a commitment to making him a centerpiece of their strategy moving forward. This is good news for long time fans of the character as well as neophytes. Black Panther is easily the most prominent and historically significant character of color for either of the Big Two comic book companies. Seeing him get his just due after decades of being treated as a second-tier character can’t be anything but good for the industry and for fans who are ready to see the industry take on a somewhat less pale tone.
For a complete look at the line Marvel has announced, take a look at the gallery below.
[FROM THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE]
Glendale, Calif. (March 15, 2016) – Marvel is rolling out a heroic new merchandising program inspired by Black Panther just in time for his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an all-new comic book written by esteemed author Ta-Nehisi Coates, and his 50th anniversary. The campaign will touch on all major categories including publishing, apparel, toys, collectibles, home goods, and more, offering both longtime T’Challa readers and new fans introduced to the character through Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War exciting ways to embrace this legendary Marvel Super Hero.
The licensing program features a wide range of products for kids and adults inspired by both the new Marvel comic book debuting April 6th and Black Panther’s first film appearance in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War in May. The products will feature standalone representations of the hero, as well as team-oriented sets inspired by the new film.
For consumers looking to wear their fandom, the impressive lineup includes bags from Fast Forward and Global Design Concepts and stylish apparel for men and women from Mad Engine, C-Life, Freeze, and Fifth Sun. Hasbro is debuting a toy line including action figures and role play items, and LEGO will be featuring the character in construction sets. For the first time, collectors will be able to add Black Panther to their Super Hero collections with Marvel Select figures and Marvel Minimates from Diamond Select and Mopeez plush, Dorbz vinyls, and POP! bobbleheads from Funko. The program is rounded out with additional product offerings including wall art from Artissimo and Pyramid, novelties from Monogram, and costumes for kids and adults from Rubies and Party City. Select product is in stores now, with more rolling out at retailers including Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Walgreen’s, Disney Store, Toys “R” Us, and specialty retailers this Spring and into 2016.
“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,” said Paul Gitter, senior vice president, licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products. “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.”