I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got four new comics:

  • Flashpoint: Deathstroke -2
  • Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman – 2
  • Rasl – 11
  • Teen Titans – 97
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

    “Marvel Masterworks: Black Panther Volume 1” By Don McGregor, Rick Buckler, Billy Graham, and others.

    This volume reprints Black Panther stories that were originally printed in the comic book “Jungle Action” from 1973-1976. That was a little before I started collecting comics (1976) but I managed to pick up a few issues of “Jungle Action” from some of the older kids in the neighborhood. It was a favorite of mine back then even if I didn’t have a lot of them.

    One of the reasons it was a favorite was that there weren’t any comics like it. It was different than anything else. I’ve always liked different even if most people don’t. These Black Panther stories were more “Grown up” than the usual comics I read as a kid. The art and writing are both lush and dealt with things not found in your average comic book. There is a lot of inner turmoil in these Black Panther’s stories that weren’t found anywhere else. An inner turmoil beyond Spider-Man worrying about his Aunt May. All lavishly written by McGregor.

    It takes longer to read one sixteen page “Jungle Action” story than any three issues by most writers these days. And it’s not over-written. McGregor just uses a lot of words to build up the Black Panther’s world. He writes with a writers love for words and communication. It pairs well with the art. Especially Billy Graham’s art as he uses a lot of lines in his drawings to define the Black Panther’s world. It’s Neal Adams influenced and a bit more illustrative then most comics in the early 1970s. Plus there is Jim Steranko influence in some of the splash pages and layouts. It really looks like the artists were trying.

    I wasn’t sure how I’d like these stories not having read them since I was in High School but I really go into them. There is a richness to them and a great sense of desperation and pain at times. In the “Panther’s Rage” story line the Black Panther spends a lot of time battered, bruised, and bleeding as he is constantly trying to overcome adversity. One issue in which he fought a man covered in thorns was especially painful. I remember wincing at that story as a kid. it made me wince all over again.

    In McGregor’s notes at the beginning he mentions how much grief he was getting at Marvel for the “Panther’s Rage” story because it didn’t have any white people in it. It took place in a hidden kingdom in Africa so how could it was McGregor’s answer. When I was a kid I didn’t even notice that there weren’t any white people in it. The thought never crossed my mind. It was a good comic that I enjoyed. And I still do.