Lexus partners with Marvel’s Black Panther on vehicles and graphic novel

Black Panther

In anticipation for the upcoming release of Marvel’s Black Panther, Lexus and Marvel Studios have teamed up to create, not only Black Panther-inspired vehicles, but a new graphic novel titled, Black Panther: Soul of a Machine.

The two vehicles created were exclusively designed around Marvel Studios’ Black Panther film – the 2018 LC Inspiration Series production car and a concept coupe called the Black Panther Inspired LC. The limited edition 2018 Lexus LC Series features an iridescent Structural Blue color. This will be the first in a succession of Inspiration Series vehicles Lexus plans to create for each of its flagship models.

The limited-edition 2018 Lexus LC Inspiration Series features an exclusive deeply saturated, iridescent Structural Blue color. (PRNewsfoto/Lexus)

The Black Panther Inspired LC concept coupe is absolutely stunning with creative designs that give a Wakandan feel to it. This concept vehicle incorporates (mythical) “vibranium” into its very core to provide added boost. Much like Black Panther’s uniform, the sheet metal of the Black Panther Inspired LC is reinforced with a layer of vibranium weave, making the vehicle almost entirely bulletproof.  Top-secret refinement processes also allow for a self-sustaining fueling component (vibranium-powered core) that enhances the Black Panther Inspired LC’s driving dynamics.

Of course, you cannot work with Marvel Comics and not produce a comic book that centers around Black Panther and the use of a Lexus vehicle. Written by Fabian Nicieza, Geoffrey Thorne, and Chuck Brown, the graphic novel has T’Challa aka Black Panther and his sister Shuri up against Machinesmith, who infiltrates all of Wakanda’s systems. Black Panther and his team must create the ultimate machine to stop him. That machine? The Lexus LC.

Nicieza, who led the team of writers and wrote the majority of the chapters, knew he wanted to use Machinesmith in this particular story.

“I did three different pitches with three different antagonists, but I wanted Machinesmith all along,” Nicieza tells Nerd Reactor. “I always thought he was an interesting character. I’ve written him in Thunderbolts. I like what the character brings to the table, but most importantly, I felt he as a character was most reflective of the themes we’re trying to get across in the story. He, in his own way, is the dark side of the positive brand pillars that Lexus and Black Panther represents.So, Lexus and Black Panther are about infusing humanity into technology, so the technology could benefit humanity. Machinesmith is about infusing technology to eliminate humanity because he’s so desperately afraid and insecure of his own humanity.”

Like all comic books and graphic novels, crafting a story that includes incorporating a brand can be very difficult. Lexus references materials were provided to Nicieza when he took the job.

“These are Lexus brand pillars and they are so sympathetical with Black Panther’s brand pillars. It’s a very smart fit,” said Nicieza. “It’s a commercial and a comic book, but it’s also a comic book and commercial. You have to do both. You have to tell a story. The best thing that the Lexus gets out of this is that someone has read an entertaining story and at the end of that story, they go, ‘that Lexus car was pretty cool’. That’s a byproduct of a story well told rather than a story that was intended to tell you that a Lexus car is cool. My goal is to craft as interesting a story as I can that played with the themes of the main character Black Panther and the brand partner – Lexus – and make sure it works for everyone concerned.”

With the live-action Black Panther coming to theaters in February, we asked Nicieza if he was given any materials to reference in the comic. He confirms that they provided him nothing from the film. The graphic novel is completely separate from the film version.

“The comics are reflecting the world that is going to appear in the movie because it’s beneficial to everyone to do that but not because it’s a requirement to do that,” Nicieza said. “I did everything I did with zero awareness of what the movie was going to be doing. I was basing the majority of what I was doing on a synthesis of the 45 years of Black Panther I’ve been reading, as a reader, combined with the recent material that’s been done, which really fleshed out the world of Wakanda quite a bit.”

The first four chapters were released last night and can be found here. The rest of the chapters will be released in November.

Nicieza said he really enjoyed working on this graphic novel, “It’s been, from my standpoint, it’s been a pretty smooth ride. No pun intended. Alright, a pun was intended.”

Black Panther: Soul of a Machine Official Synopsis:

When the cybernetic artificial intelligence, Machinesmith, infiltrates all of Wakanda’s systems, the very existence of human civilization is threatened. It is up to six Wakandan science apprentices and six Takumi Masters, working with Black Panther and his sister, Shuri, to create the ultimate machine to stop Machinesmith’s flawed, but deeply felt, vision for integrating man and technology into harmonious perfection.

Marvel’s Black Panther will open in theaters on February 16, 2018.

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1730 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul