– by Nick Doll

Black Panther was created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Kirby considered Black Panther one of his most important creations for its messages, messages that made their way to the big screen last night, reaching millions more people than his books ever did.

Though Kirby died in 1994, his family told The Hollywood Reporter that he would be overcome with joy and some shock to learn how beloved his risky character has become.

Kirby’s son, Neal, shared how important it would have been for to his father to see his message reaching so many fans:

“Fifty years ago, he could have never envisioned the statement that this movie is making and the way it is being embraced by everybody. In terms of a message, that was always his intention, but he could have never envisioned reaching this size of an audience.”

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Neal Kirby’s daughter, Jillian, is very proud of her grandfather’s legacy, and though she never met him, she knows Black Panther would make him proud:

“I do know that if he were alive today, my grandfather would be beaming, but not because of just seeing his creation on the screen, but for the message of pride, self-respect, dignity, hope and optimism it bears. A black superhero with both amazing mental as well as physical powers, from a technologically advanced society in Africa, sends as strong a message now as it did over 50 years ago. Today, my grandfather’s message will reach tens of millions of people of all races and nationalities, a concept my grandfather could never have conceived of.”

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter