‘It’s only a matter of time’: Black Panther creator foresees a Middle Eastern Marvel hero on the big screen

‘It’s only a matter of time’: Black Panther creator foresees a Middle Eastern Marvel hero on the big screen
Updated 19 April 2018

‘It’s only a matter of time’: Black Panther creator foresees a Middle Eastern Marvel hero on the big screen

‘It’s only a matter of time’: Black Panther creator foresees a Middle Eastern Marvel hero on the big screen
  • Stan Lee co-created Black Panther with Jack Kirby in 1966
  • He saw a need for a black superhero in comic books, mirroring that need in film decades later

DUBAI: Black Panther creator Stan Lee foresees a Middle Eastern Marvel hero on the big screen: ‘It’s only a matter of time’

When Black Panther became the first movie to screen in Saudi Arabia’s cinemas in 35 years at last night’s gala in Riyadh, it was the exclamation point at the end of an outstanding box office run for perhaps the most important film of 2018. 

Seeing a superhero film featuring a predominantly black cast has been a huge social moment for many people of color across the world, cementing a new era for the genre and mainstream cinema as a whole. 

When Stan Lee co-created Black Panther with Jack Kirby in 1966, he never dreamed it would be as significant as it became.

“It wasn’t a huge deal to me. It was a very normal natural thing,” Lee told HuffPost Canada. “A good many of our people here in America are not white. You’ve got to recognize that and you’ve got to include them in whatever you do. If my books and my stories can change that, can make people realize that everybody should be equal, and treated that way, then I think it would be a better world.”

Nonetheless, he saw a need for a black superhero in comic books, mirroring that need in film decades later.

“At that point, I felt we really needed a black superhero,” Lee told HuffPost Canada. “And I wanted to get away from a common perception. So what I did, I made him almost like [Fantastic Four’s] Reed Richards. He’s a brilliant scientist and he lives in an area that, under the ground, is very modern and scientific and nobody suspects it because on the surface it’s just thatched huts with ordinary ‘natives.’ And he’s not letting the world know what’s really going on or how brilliant they really are.”

Lee briefly appears in the landmark film, though he wished he could do more. 

“I’m a little disappointed in my Black Panther cameo,” Lee told the audience of ACE Comic Con in Arizona a few months ago. “I had wanted a great fight scene where I fight the Black Panther to a standstill. I didn’t get that, but I want you to see the movie anyway. Even though it’s not my greatest cameo, you owe it to me to see it.”

Lee, though he has not been able to come visit the Middle East, has appeared multiple times via satellite at the Middle East Film and Comic Con to answer questions from devoted fans in Dubai.

“It’s incredible that they have one out there,” he told Arab News. “They’ve always treated me kind and with the utmost respect. They are an A-class show.”

Though he’s decided that he can no longer travel abroad, he still has hope he can come see his fans in the Middle East soon.

“You never know, I can always change my mind and make a surprise appearance somewhere,” Lee says. 

When asked whether Marvel will introduce a Middle Eastern superhero on the big screen, Lee has no doubt it will happen. “It’s only a matter of time,” Lee said.

In his lifetime, Marvel has become one of the strongest brands in the world, especially since the launch of Marvel Studios
10 years ago with Iron Man. While Black Panther has become one of its greatest successes, Lee sees this as a continuation of the legacy that he began with his collaborators more than 50 years ago.

“It’s always been Marvel time. I think people are embracing these heroes because it’s fun. Comic books have always been about stories that you can enjoy and believe in. There is a greater acceptance to that now more than ever,” Lee said. 

Of all his creations, Spider-Man remains Lee’s favorite, co-created with Steve Ditko with help from Kirby. 

“The reason is because anybody can be Spider-Man under that mask,” including Miles Morales, the Black-Latinx character who will appear in the upcoming Sony/Marvel animation film Spider-Man: into the Spider-Verse. 

Lee is also happy to see Spider-Man back in the Marvel cinematic universe, including the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. 

“It’s been a long time coming but I’m very happy that he’s here now,” Lee says.

Important to Lee is that his characters, including Spider-Man and Black Panther, are imperfect, which is one reason why they resonate with audiences to this day. 

“I wanted to have my characters with flaws,” he said. “I wanted them to be more like an ordinary person having every day issues.”  

Lee said that in his long career, he has no regrets, with his only wish “to be remembered as a person who brought a little happiness to the world.”


Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
Updated 17 January 2021

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
  • Egyptian archaeologist says discoveries will rewrite history of region

CAIRO: An Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara area near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt has discovered dozens of archeological finds, including a Pharaonic funerary temple.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the discoveries —  made by the joint mission between the council and the Zahi Hawass Center of Egyptology — include wooden wells and coffins from the New Kingdom, dating back to 3000 B.C.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the council, said that the discoveries are located at the Saqqara necropolis, near the pyramid where King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, who ruled Egypt between 2323 and 2291 B.C., is buried.

Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and head of the mission, said that these discoveries will rewrite the history of the region, especially during the 18th and 19th Dynasties of the New Kingdom, during which time King Teti was worshiped.

Hawass said that the mission found the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, wife of King Teti, part of which was uncovered in the years prior to the mission, as well as three mud-brick warehouses on the southeastern side, used to store offerings and tools that were involved in a revival of the queen’s creed.

The mission also discovered 52 wells, ranging in depths between 10 to 12 meters and containing more than 50 wooden coffins from the New Kingdom era. This is the first time that coffins dating back to 3000 B.C. have been found in the Saqqara area.

The surfaces of the coffins depict various scenes involving the gods who were worshipped during this period, in addition to texts from the Book of the Dead that help the deceased pass on to the other world.

Inside the wells, the mission found numerous artifacts, such as statues of the deity Ptah, as well as a four-meter-long papyrus, representing chapter 17 from the Book of the Dead, with the name of its owner recorded on it. The same name was found on four statues.

Other finds included a set of wooden masks; games for the deceased to play in the other world, one of which is similar to chess; and statues and a shrine of Anubis, the god of death.

The mission also discovered a bronze ax, indicating that its owner was one of the leaders of the army in the New Kingdom era, and paintings inscribed with scenes of the deceased and his wife and hieroglyphic writings.

A large amount of pottery dating back to the New Kingdom was found, including pottery establishing trade relations between Egypt and Crete, as well as Syria and Palestine.

Hawass explained that this discovery confirms that the Saqqara antiquities area was not used for burial during the Late Period only, but also in the New Kingdom.

The mission studied the mummy of a woman who was found to be suffering from a disease known as Mediterranean fever or swine fever, which comes from direct contact with an animal and leads to a liver abscess.

Hawass asserted that the archeological discovery is one of the most significant ones of this year and will make Saqqara an important tourist and cultural destination. It will rewrite the history of Saqqara in the era of the New Kingdom and will confirm the importance of the worship of King Teti during the 19th Dynasty.