Marvels new bard of Wakanda
Marvel's new bard of Wakanda

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Vulture reports that in one month the first issue of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Black Panther comic from Marvel has already become the best-selling comic of this year:

North American retailers ordered an estimated 253,259 copies of the issue, while the second-place finisher (for the month as well as the year) only snagged 175,322.

That number doesn't include European sales, nor does it include re-orders that come in after April, meaning the final number will likely be closer to the 300,000-copy mark that Marvel announced in March.

Good luck trying to buy a copy at a comic shop around town. Of course, you can get a digital version of Black Panther #1 and Black Panther #2 for your Kindle, and you can buy physical copies on Amazon, but then you'll have to answer this question, first posed by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: what you gonna do when judgment comes for you?

I called up Chris at Phoenix Comics and asked if he had any copies in the back. He said they ordered 59 copies of Black Panther #2 last Wednesday, and they're sold out of all of them. About 1/3 of those copies went to subscribers of the series, and 7 had already been reserved, but the rest flew off the shelves.

The shop's also out of Black Panther #1. When they first got the issue back in April, they sold 60 in a day. They were totally sold out in two days. Marvel reprinted the first issue and released it with the second, but now all of those are gone, too. Chris said they're going to get 15 more of the first issue soon, but they're not sure about when.

Phoenix will probably get more of the second issue when Marvel releases the third issue.

"We got a lot of people in who had never bought a comic book before," Chris said, when asked who's buying. He attributes a lot of the interest in the comic to the fact that readers are interested in the writer, who I've described as one of the greatest systems analysts America has produced in a long while.

As for his strength as a writer of comic books? "[The series] is pretty good!" Chris said. "It's a little dark and politically complex for a superhero comic, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s just dense. And the art style is really pretty."

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Black Panther is also a character in the latest comic book blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War, which could be boosting interest.

"It’s been a while since that character had a solo issue," Chris said, "But I think it’s a good time for it."

Hear, hear.

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