It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my friend ‘James’. On another blog we discussed M.A.N.T.I.S., a television program back in the 1990’s about a paralyzed Black scientist who puts on an exoskeleton to fight crime. It didn’t last long, of course. Don’t worry, because Marvel Studios has caused ‘woke’ Black bruthas and sistahs to dust off their dashikis, pump their fists and scream……oh, it’s not that kind of movie? So I found James after thirteen years and we’re talking about the next great Black superhero movie.
Chas: James, how’ve you been? I haven’t seen you since 2005! Remember when we talked about M.A.N.T.I.S., that Black superhero show that used to be on Fox?
James: Yeah, the one where he had two African assistants in the pilot only to have them taken out of the regular series once it was approved by two white assistants? Yeah, I remember.
Chas: What about how the show ended? Wasn’t that weak?
James: Dude, he was stomped by a dinosaur! I’ll tell you white folks play evil man. He didn’t even get to keep that trench coat he wore in the pilot! They are so wrong!
Chas: Thirteen years later, we have Black Panther from Marvel Studios. Bruthas and sistas are determined to see this movie no matter what! What about you? You plan on going?
James: Does the Black Panther wear a trench coat like my boy M.A.N.T.I.S.?
Chas: Uh nope. He does wear a bullet proof costume though. He could have used that in any issue he appeared in my stack of my 1970’s Avengers comics.
James: If he doesn’t wear a trench coat even for five minutes, I’m out. White folks need to give Black superheroes some class man.
Chas: You know how much social media is going to blow up on February 16, the release date. You wouldn’t watch it because he’s not wearing a trench coat………
James: Think about it. I’ve heard righteous brothers said they don’t plan on seeing the movie because A) he was created by a white man and b) the Panther doesn’t wear a trench coat.
Chas: I can see why folks wouldn’t go to see the film. They have their reasons, but they should let us decide for ourselves whether or not it’s worth it. They do understand that Virgil Tibbs (The Heat of the Night), Shaft and Hawk were all created from the minds of white men right? John Ball, Ernest Tidyman and Robert B. Parker. Even M.A.N.T.I.S. was created by Sam Raimi who directed the Evil Dead and Spider Man movies.
James: That dude? He’s the one who thought up our boy?
Chas: Yep, and I didn’t hear from the righteous crowd from the 1960’s to 1990’s telling us to boycott those television shows and movies. But hey, maybe one day I’ll create my own iconic character so if he or she ever makes it to film, there won’t be an excuse not to come out and support.
James: You know there are going those people who say we shouldn’t watch it. I’m still on the fence because………
Chas: The trench coat thang, yeah I got you on that.
James: Seriously though, I saw on the movie poster that the movie is going to be written and directed by a Black man. I have no problem with that. My problem is that when they change things around after the movie or TV show is out.
Chas: If I see it, I would like to see the changes later writers like Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin and the late, great Dwayne McDuffie contributed to T’Challa (the Black Panther’s real name) back in the early 2000’s long before there was a movie. These creative bruthas gave him an upgrade and new motivations to his character. If I plan on seeing the movie, it’s because of those writers. I follow them and they do great work.
James: I second that my brutha, but still…..they should have given him a trench coat! That would have been a sweet upgrade!
Chas: I think Marvel should be careful when trying to sneak in an agenda that not everyone is ready for, if ever. It should be all about the characters, nuff said. If there’s some political strife that threatens to tear Wakanda apart, write about it.
James: Yeah, I caught a snippet that Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing his stories now. For his sake, he better give the Panther a trench coat or I’ll be mad!
Chas: Chill with the trench coat nonsense man! LOL. Whether it’s Don McGregor or Coates, all we ask for is for great character development, challenging plots and action! Lots of it! I can’t get enough action! Marvel left that back in the early 2000’s and that was their bread and butter back in the day!
James: You mean Stan Lee was getting all the bread from the books he wrote and the butter? Anyone not named Stan Lee.
Chas: It’s only a month left, but do you plan on seeing Black Panther?
James: Still on the fence. I know there’s a ton of great actors in it, but there are some things I need to check out for myself before I decide to give the Mouse my money. I hope it’s not another M.A.N.T.I.S. or it’s like Shaft. You know it was twenty-seven years before the so-called ‘powers that be’ filmed another Shaft movie. When they did, it was WEAK!
Chas: Wesley Snipes, the candidate for that role made it plain why. It’s on the internet.
James: At least Carl Lumbly, our boy on M.A.N.T.I.S. found some work.
Chas: Yeah, ‘Alias’ was a good spot for him. That is until we hear some ‘behind the scenes’ commentary on YouTube.
James: Tru that. About that time C, we’ll find out in a month. Black Panther fans, keep calling and email Marvel to insist he wears a trench coat in the movie in memory of M.A.N.T.I.S!
Chas: You’re too much James. Hope it’s not another thirteen years before we have another conversation. Chas out!
Charles L. Chatmon
Who played the part of ‘Chas’
President, Chatmon’s Books