Podcast: For comics fan staffer, Black Panther was ‘life changing’

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As a kid, Alfred Day would spend hours holed up indoors reading comics. He loved Batman and Superman, but the character who really spoke to him — who taught him that he could be smart and powerful — was Black Panther.

Alfred Day at age 7.

Alfred Day at age 7. (Photo courtesy of Alfred Day)

“To see a character like Black Panther, who looked like me,” says Day, “who was the king of his whole country and in charge of any room he walked into — that’s an incredibly powerful idea. And honestly, a life-changing idea. At least it was for me.”

Listen to how Black Panther taught Day, now the director of student affairs case management at UC Berkeley, that there was a life beyond what he knew as a kid in Compton, California.

Day is a co-founder of Berkeley HEROES, a staff club that meets once a month to talk about comics and graphic novels on their list. In February for Black History Month, they’re reading the first volume of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ current Black Panther series.

alfred day reading a big comic book

Day has always been a fan of superhero comics. “The idea that that you know those granted with great power could use that power on behalf of others is a really powerful idea,” he says. (Photo courtesy of Alfred Day)

Berkeley HEROES (Higher Ed Reading Organization for Employees and Sidekicks) has organized a group of people to go see the movie on opening night, Feb. 15, at Rialto Cinemas in El Cerrito. And on Feb. 23, the club is hosting a discussion of the comic series with the Black Staff and Faculty Organization on campus. All are welcome to attend either event.

For more information about events or to learn more about Berkeley HEROES, visit their website or Facebook page, or email Alfred Day at alfred.day@berkeley.edu.