NDG Book Review: ‘Black Panther’ is one work that is sure to please

Written by Terje Schlechenmeier

After school and Saturday morning dedicated to fighting crime.

There you were, seven, eight, nine years old, hard-bodied, stout, and fireproof — at least, in your mind. With your ancestors and others with superhuman powers, you were invincible. And in Black Panther by Don McGregor, Rich Buckler, Billy Graham, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, you’ll notice that it all started with a dark streak.

In the years between the mid-Depression and the middle of World War II, more than “seven hundred super-powered philanthropists” appeared in nation-wide comic books. After the war ended, comic books continued to proliferate, but the superhero genre faded into just a small group whose publisher called the Justice League of America.

This prompted rival publisher Marvin Goodman to “stand up and take notice.” Deciding that his comic book company needed its own superhero team, he partnered with many talents to create the Marvel Universe. In the early 1960s, Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four is joined by several other “in the same story universe” superheroes, each with a unique talent. In 1966, the Black Panther became one of them.

The character appeared at just the right time. The origins of the Black Panther, the authors say, reflected what was happening in the United States socially, politically, and in the field of civil rights. The introduction of the Black Panther reached between Jim Crow and the founding of the Black Panther Self-Defense Party. The authors say that America “was facing the profound historical consequences” of what it did to its black citizens and T’Challa was his man. He didn’t need the white superheroes to save the situation for him.

There were a few rough edges to the character – at first, there were “hints” that Black Panther might be spinning an evil comic book – but early story readers eventually rested. The Fantastic Four and Black Panther have always been in good hands, in Wakanda and elsewhere…

Imagine, as Ndee Okorafor says in her introduction, being a young child of immigrants from Nigeria, trying to visit a comic book store when older white males were her regular customers. She then ran away from the store empty-handed, went back to the comic books when she was an adult and found a character that looked like her. The earliest incarnation of that character and the story of his comic book are found inside Black Panther.

Fans can rejoice: the latter takes up the bulk of this book, in chronological order and in full color, just like the original comic books on offer. But patience: before you get there, read our overview of comics in general, Marvel Comics, specifically; Introduction Okuraphor; And a combined introduction to this character. Turn around for the Black Panther essay, and layout the summaries with the author’s notes. It’s the whole deal.

The bonus, for fans of both the movie and the comic book, is that you can read this paperback version of the hardcover book without worry. Show your love for this version of “Black Panther” and share it, knowing that you are someone else’s hero.

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