SALT LAKE CITY — Inside the Utah Jazz locker room, Derrick Favors is often a go-to player after games for strong sound bites.
The longest-tenured Jazzman can articulate a player’s perspective to average civilians with the best of them, but if you really want a more voluble side of the Georgia boy, just bring up comic books or anything anime-related.
“I’m a big comic book guy so I like all that stuff,” Favors said, smiling. “I could talk about it all day with somebody.”
Comic geeks such as Favors have certainly had a reason to chatter lately as everyone is pumped for the theatrical release of Marvel Comics’ "Black Panther" this Friday.
There’s a ton a buzz surrounding the film, as it’ll feature a black lead actor with a predominately black cast for the first time in a Marvel Comics movie.
Ryan Coogler directed the movie; Chadwick Boseman stars as the Black Panther and Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar produced the soundtrack.
Favors won’t go see it this weekend but will tune in once the hype dies down.
“With movies like that, I don’t go see them when it first comes out because I know the movie theater is going to be packed,” Favors said. “It’s going to be a lot of people always waiting even after couple weeks after the movie has been out so when I go to the movies to see it, I might be the only person in there so I can really enjoy it.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he added. “It seems like it’s going to be a good movie.”
Favors’ love for comic books began at a young age, growing up on Cleveland Avenue on Atlanta’s south side. His uncle, Clarence Jordan, was a longtime collector and was the first to introduce him to the superhero caricatures in an attempt to spark his interest in reading and it worked.
“I remember he had two big boxes full of comic books,” Favors recalled. “Ones that he did read and ones he didn’t read, still in the plastic so he gave me a couple of the old ones that he had like the first issues of Superman 1-10 and all that stuff so I think in all he maybe gave me 50-60 comic books.”
Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and X-Men comics were some of the heroes with super powers that he would read about from his uncle. His favorite is Batman and his classmates and friends would sometimes tease him in Atlanta for being so heavily engaged in the anime topics. They just didn’t understand, probably because almost none of the characters or plots were based in a minority setting until now.
“I don’t really like the older (Batman comics), but I like some of the newer ones like the Dark Knight in the movie now so I read the graphic novels, which are the best to me,” Favors said. “I watch the independent movies they put out and obviously the Dark Knight franchise I loved it, the old Batman, I loved it, and I just like the whole Batman universe so I’m a fan of that.”
Other than cameos in other comics, Favors didn’t know much about the Black Panther but is looking forward to learning more about him through the movie.
Favors still values his vintage comic collection and could be adding a Black Panther comic to his cherished possessions really soon.
The really good ones are still in the plastic bags, just like his uncle taught him.
“I’ll read Batman all day, but I saw Black Panther make a cameo in other comics so it’ll be good to check the movie out, see what the movie’s about then I’ll probably get onto that probably later in the summer and start reading comic books about it,” Favors said.