With the Black Panther movie doing so well, I thought that I would reread his Epic Collection "Panther's Rage!". I had forgotten that it also included his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52-53 (Jl-Au'66) and those got me all a'wondering again!

1) In T'Challa's flashback where he speaks of his father's death, Wakanda appears to have no advanced technology and were helpless against Klaw's men's machine guns. Indeed it was only when a young T'Challa used Klaw's own weapon against him did he prevail. Also his village is consumed by fire and are seen as huts.

Yet "ten years later", Wakanda is a technological paradise its people now have weapons both modern and futuristic, all created by the scientific genius of the Black Panther. Wouldn't that cause some sort of culture shock? That's a small period of time to give any population those kind of advances.

2) That ten-year period also implies how young T'Challa is. He must be in his early twenties and was said to have studied abroad which was confirmed in Avengers #87 (Ap'71). How could someone of that genius at such a young age not be on anyone's radar?

3) The Black Panther was said not to have super-powers but he had to. Beyond his superior strength, speed and agility, he also hyper-senses of hearing and smell and could see in the dark. That would put him on par with Daredevil and Wolverine yet those were largely ignored.

4) He would leave Wakanda for America soon after as his meeting with the Fantastic Four seemed to alter him from an isolationist to an internationalist though he kept Wakanda secluded.

5) During his travels, he seemed to waver if he wanted to be king at all. He liked his freedom and again, he was young. His "Luke Charles" identity was almost like the person he wanted to be while T'Challa was the person he had to be,

6) And Wakanda was no utopia with open rebellion and betrayal around every corner and Panther story with Man-Ape and Killmonger as the most blatant examples.

7) His Silver/Bronze Age girlfriend, the singer Monica Lynne, was met with disrespect and distrust in Wakanda. She was even framed for murder there!

8) For the longest time, the Black Panther was the Avengers' only African-American member. Did that keep writers from adding more? Remember, in story, the Falcon only became a member because the Panther did not want to rejoin the team due to government requirements. Was one considered "enough"? Why wasn't Power Man, Storm, Black Goliath, Thunderbolt, the Prowler, etc. given a chance to join? It's very similar to the Wasp and Scarlet Witch "crowding out" other women for long term stints.

9) When he did join the Avengers in #52, he was wearing his half-mask which in places looked to me like it was redrawn. Also his costume was shredded which showed off a lot of his flesh. Was this to show how tough he was or was it an act of defiance to show certain dealers that there was a black Avenger. Later he would go back to his full mask probably because it looked cooler.

10) Is the Silver Age Black Panther an outdated character with troubling implications or an amazing achievement of its time? Did he break barriers or reinforced stereotypes? Or both?

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I don't know if Shadow Lass was meant to be black, not blue but her first appearance as Shadow Woman on the cover of Adventure Comics #354 had her portrayed as white which got homaged with makeup in Legion of Super-Heroes #300.

According to Jim Shooter, Ferro Lad was supposed to be black but he got over-ruled by Mort Weisinger which was why Shooter killed him off (Ferro Lad, not Weisinger!).

Black Goliath appears in Champions #11-13, assisting the team when he discovers that the aircraft he designed for them was built with substandard parts. As to why he never joined the team, he was never asked nor did he suggest joining the team either. Given that Hawkeye and the Two-Gun Kid also showed up during this time but were not offered membership, it's possible that they simply didn't want to add more members to the team.

Plans were for Black Goliath and Jack of Hearts to join the Champions but the book got cancelled abruptly with #17.

Randy Jackson said:

Black Goliath appears in Champions #11-13, assisting the team when he discovers that the aircraft he designed for them was built with substandard parts. As to why he never joined the team, he was never asked nor did he suggest joining the team either. Given that Hawkeye and the Two-Gun Kid also showed up during this time but were not offered membership, it's possible that they simply didn't want to add more members to the team.

Getting back to the Black Panther, if the Wakandans had advanced technology, why did they get slaughtered by Klaw? T'Chaka was gunned down maintaining this pretense? Why? Klaw already knew about the vibranium and his hostile intentions were crystal clear. If there was a time to use their tech, that was it!

Also T'Challa was amazed by the rising Panther God statue and its technology, suggesting that it wasn't the norm. And he converted a huge area into a technological jungle. If the Wakandans had no knowledge about advanced science, who built all that?

I should've mentioned Mal became the Guardian in Teen Titans #44 (1976), but went back to his older look and acquired a supernatural shofar in the next issue. In #49 Mal got an awful Hornblower costume, but at the end of the issue he returned to being the Guardian. As the Guardian he wore an exo-skeleton.

His girlfriend Karen assumed the identity of the Bumblebee in #48 (1977) and appeared with the team from the next issue. 

A black superheroine called the Butterfly appeared in Skywald's B&W Hell Rider #1-#2 (1971). She may have been the model for Bumblebee.

Wonder Woman's black sister Nubia was introduced in Wonder Woman #204-#206 (1972-73) as an antagonist.

Mal always seemed like a character in search of a reason to exist. His girlfriend, at least, had both motive and resources to become a superhero. Mal was just some guy who hung around.

And I always assumed Bumblebee was a Wasp swipe. That just seems more likely to me than being based on a short-run Skywald character. I collected everything in those days except Skywald, because they were so awful!

Phillip, where did you hear about those Champions plans? I"m curious.

And I can't answer the questions you raise about the early FF appearances of the Panther. As I said before, I just pretend that Wakanda was always ahead of the rest of the world, that techno-jungle was in place before T'Challa, and that T'Chaka was acting a part when everything went south. I have to pretend this to be true for it all to make sense.

Phillip Portelli wrote:

8) For the longest time, the Black Panther was the Avengers' only African-American African member. Did that keep writers from adding more? Remember, in story, the Falcon only became a member because the Panther did not want to rejoin the team due to government requirements. Was one considered "enough"? Why wasn't Power Man, Storm, Black Goliath, Thunderbolt, the Prowler, etc. given a chance to join? It's very similar to the Wasp and Scarlet Witch "crowding out" other women for long term stints.

I think that can be chalked up to the writerly belief that there should be a mix of powers and personalities. It was applied often in a very narrowminded way, like the nonsensical rule over in Justice League of America that said Hawkman could be a member but not Hawkgirl. That along with fiat that the Avengers should be limited to seven members. 

Captain Comics wrote:

2) That ten-year period also implies how young T'Challa is. He must be in his early twenties and was said to have studied abroad which was confirmed in Avengers #87 (Ap'71). How could someone of that genius at such a young age not be on anyone's radar?

He was black.

bwah ha ha photo bwah.gif True dat.

To Captain Comics: I wrote about Black Goliath before and in the letters column of #5 (N'76), they said that he would reappear in The Champions. I believe that his future membership was included in one of that book's last letters page, IIRC.

And to be complete, I wrote about Tyroc as well!

Sorry for not remembering your earlier posts, Phillip! old photo old.gif

To add to Luke’s list (many of these were adapted from tv shows):

Natongo (Brothers of the Spear) (1951)

One of the Outsiders in Magnus, Robot Fighter (I don’t know what issue they debuted)

Sgt. Joe Stryker (Total War/M.A.R.S. Patrol) (on sale 4/65)

Kinch (Ivan Dixon) Hogan’s Heroes (on sale 1/66)—I assume Kinch was in #1, at any rate he was on the cover of #2

Scotty (Bill Cosby) I Spy (on sale 5/66)

Barney (Greg Morris) Mission: Impossible (on sale 2/67)

Robert Jefferson (Jim Brown) Dirty Dozen movie adaptation (on sale 6/67), I assume this character was in the adaptation 

Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) Star Trek (on sale 7/67)

Linc (Clarence Williams III) Mod Squad (on sale 10/68)

Pete Dixon (Lloyd Haynes) and Liz  McIntyre (Denise Nicholas) Room 222 (on sale 10/69)

Pat Walters (Judy Pace) Young Lawyers (on sale 10/70)

Isak (Lou Gossett Jr.) Young Rebels (on sale 10/70)

Friday Foster (on sale 7/72)

David Moses’ character from the tv show may have been in New People (on sale 10/69) but I don’t know 

Thanks, Dave.

Thun'da #6 (1953) introduced King Rex, Chief of the River Bantus. He appeared in two stories and was cover-featured. Thun'da appeared afterwards in supporting slots but I don't think King Rex appeared again.

I read most of the Sgt Fury title when it was originally published. I don't remember if they ever addressed (faced the reality of) the segregation in the military at the time. Did they explain how Gabe Jones was able to be in the Howling Commandos? I hate when fiction pretends things were always the same as today.

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