This week we’re going back to 1976 to talk about The Panther vs The Klan from Don McGregor and Billy Graham’s Jungle Action. Over the course of a three issue storyline, Black Panther got a firsthand look at institutionalized racism in the American South. Too the eyes of the contemporary reader, it's clear that things haven’t changed as much as we might have hoped over the past forty years.
One of the major misconception that informs this idea is that, prior to 1986, there were no serious superhero stories. That's emphatically untrue. The late Silver Age and Bronze Age were full of dark, mature superhero stories ---"The Death of Ferro Lad," "The Night Gwen Stacy Died," etc, --- but there's one in particular that stands above the rest for how much it foreshadows the current mood of superhero storytelling; "Panther's Rage," a 13-part epic that ran bimonthly in the pages of Jungle Action from 1973-1975.
Written by Don McGregor and pencilled by Rich Buckler, Gil Kane and Billy Graham, with inks by Klaus Janson, P. Craig Russell and Bob McLeod, and colors by Glynis Wein, "Panther's Rage" was the first great Black Panther story, combining a thrilling saga with a series of great stand-alone tales.
On this day in 1966, in the pages of Fantastic Four #52, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to Wakanda, the most technologically advanced civilzation in the world, hidden in the heart of the African continent. At the head of this great nation was its king, T’Challa, who had recently assumed the throne from his father, and with it the title of the Black Panther.
I've been black since the day I was born, reading comics since before I could properly read, writing about comics since 2005, writing about the intersection of race and comics since 2006, and purposefully writing about the intersection of race and comics since 2007...