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*On Tuesday (10-24-17), the fictional African country of Wakanda, home of the comic superhero Black Panther, was recreated at Playa Studios in Culver City CA.  Well, not exactly recreated, but that was the visual effect and vibe being offered.

It was actually:  1) A showing of the trailer for the upcoming Marvel Studios‘ “Black Panther” film starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o; 2) A display of two new Lexus LC 500 automobiles, one of which was “Black Panther” inspired; and 3) A preview of the first four chapters of the graphic novel, “Black Panther: Soul of a Machine,” written by Fabian Nicieza of “Deadpool” and “Thunderbolts” fame.

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In July, Lexus and Marvel announced a collaboration to bring together the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and Marvel Superhero Black Panther.

“This partnership was a good fit from the beginning,” according to Mindy Hamilton, SVP of Global Partnerships and Marketing, Marvel Entertainment, who was joined on Tuesday by Brian Bolain, U.S. General Manager of Products and Consumer Marketing, Lexus and Fabian Nicieza, Graphic Novelist to unveil the fruits of their labor.

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Fabian Nmicieza & Brian Bolain

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Mindy Hamilton

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who returns home to Wakanda after his father’s death to take the throne as King of Wakanda, only to have to face an old enemy, Machinesmith.  He is seriously tested and must rally his allies and the Black Panther to defeat his nemesis.  The Black Panther teams up with the LC 500, which obviously has a starring role in the movie. “I’m excited to see the Black Panther and the LC 500 partner up.  I’m looking forward to the movie being released” says Mindy.

A trailer of the “Black Panther” movie was released last week and any of the 48 million people who viewed the trailer within the first 24 hours of it being released, can confirm the LC 500 has a role in the movie, since it is hinted at in the trailer.  How big of a role will be revealed when the movie is released in February.  (To view the trailer, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxWvtMOGAhw.)

Two new Lexus LC 500 vehicles were on exhibit; one, an LC Inspiration Series and the other, a Black Panther inspired version.  The LC inspired structural blue vehicle, which goes on sale in January has a white/blue/orange combination interior and comes with a few extras, like a wine decanter, bottle opener and tray set designed by Barney’s of New York.  What’s a wine decanter without wine?  Don’t fret; a magnum of signed, award winning wine is being supplied by winery owner/race car driver Scott Pruett.

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The Panther inspired version of the LC 500, which was built by West Coast Customs, has been widened in the back and has the Black Panther mask on the hood, claws on the mirror, scrapes on the sides of the car, huge wheels and tires and lighting which shows whether the car is stationary or in motion.  Talk about a tricked out car.

Both cars should be a hit at the upcoming Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

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The first four chapters of the eight chapter graphic novel, “Black Panther:  Soul of a Machine” were on touch screen display.  Each chapter had its’ own cover.  The remaining four chapters will be released on November 12 and the full novel will be available in December.  To read the first four chapters, go to https://marvel.com/lexuslc.

In speaking with Mindy Hamilton, her passion for the project is unmistakable.  She spoke of how the Black Panther idea came to her a little over a year ago and she took off and ran with it.  She mentioned how the Black Panther/Lexus collaboration was “seamless.”

Although several people referred to her as the brains behind the entire project, she explained she had a really good team of people around her.

We discussed the recent announcement that rival DC Comics was partnering with Mercedes to develop a car for a Justice League character…pssst, Batman.  Mindy is not worried because she, “Knows what we have here.”

What we have are comic fans waiting to see “Black Panther.” Don’t miss it when it hits US theaters on February 16, 2018.

marilyn smith

Marilyn Smith

Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer.  Contact her via [email protected].