I recently received a couple of collections of these (Thank you!). I vaguely recall reading an issue or two back in dinosaur times, but most of these are brand new to me. So, here are some superficial impressions!

Views: 695

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Black Panther #1 (January 1977) "King Solomon's Frog!"

1)Kirby/Royer art. It's Kirby.  No one ever did "stuff that could never possibly exist" like the King did.  That is why, I think, no later artists that drew Kirby characters or concepts ever quite captured their essences.

2)""King Solomon's Frog"?  Kirby, you crackhead, what have you done now?  The things that man came up with! What a boundless imagination! He shot out ideas that lesser men would have built whole storylines out of.

3)Mr.Little: He's a short guy, and he's called "Mister Little", yuk-yuk-yuk-yuk-yuk. I once heard Mark Twain described as having a tin ear for prose - that is, he would produce stuff that was brilliant and stuff that was awful, and not seem to notice the difference.  I sometimes think that Kirby had a touch of that as well.  

4)For a first issue, this sure feels like something that was a continuation of an existing story. Was it?  There's no explanation of how Little met the Panther or how he acquired the time frog. they're already on the go as the story starts.

5)I wonder where Zanda is princess of?

6)"Hatch 22"! Kirby sure loved his weird, cryptic designations. I wonder if he had a hand in naming Kellogg's Product 19?

Cliffhanger: A weirdo form the future appears!

“There's no explanation of how Little met the Panther or how he acquired the time frog. They're already on the go as the story starts.”

Kirby hits the ground running. It’s to you to catch up.

“For a first issue, this sure feels like something that was a continuation of an existing story. Was it?”

No. After a lengthy stint in as an Avenger and other guest appearances, the Black Panther was granted his own series in Jungle Adventures, the critically “Panther’s Rage” by Don McGregor. Kirby’s return to Marvel was teased to readers that he would be writing a new title featuring a character he co-created who was a king. McGregor’s series was truncated mid-story, and Kirby’s Black Panther was given a new #1.

I’ve always found this odd. When Kirby went to DC in 1970 and was assigned to Jimmy Olsen, he was adamant about not putting another artist and/or writer out of work. Perhaps he wasn’t aware of McGregor’s series? (I think that’s possible, even likely; Kirby didn’t follow comics he wasn’t working on.) Or perhaps that point wasn’t negotiable? In any case, Kirby completely ignored McGregor’s story and started afresh.

Kirby’s Panther wasn’t McGregor’s, but it wasn’t the Lee/Kirby version, either. The original version was an exotic antagonist-turned-ally for the Fantastic Four. McGregor’s version was more socially relevant. Kirby’s solo version was… something else. I think you put it best when you said, “Kirby, you crackhead, what have you done now? The things that man came up with! What a boundless imagination! He shot out ideas that lesser men would have built whole storylines out of.”

I did follow Kirby's DC work. When this started I was still buying Marvel and DC comics before my 1979 cold-turkey break. I don't remember reading it.

IIRC, the reason Kirby took over Jimmy Olsen was that it was otherwise going to be cancelled. Is it possible that McGregor's Black Panther was also going to be cancelled? Billy Graham, according to GCD, drew the beginning of Jungle Action #22 and then was gone before it ended with #24. Did they reassign McGregor to a different book or did he leave on his own? Did the fact that he created the character make it OK to Kirby that he take it over?

.
Attachments:

Comichron doesn't have a reported average sales figure for Jimmy Olsen from 1969, but it was still a top-selling title in 1968. There's the complication that we don't know how well it was selling in percentage terms, and I can believe its sales had headed down as I find the late Weisinger Jimmy stories less likeable than the earlier stuff.

I would think Carmine Infantino wanted to put Kirby on a top title, and that was the closest he could get to it. Kirby said in an interview Infantino wanted him to take over "Superman" and he turned it down. His story was he asked what their worst-selling title was and was told Jimmy Olsen, and said to give him Jimmy Olsen. It can't have been DC's worst-selling title, but it may have been the worst-selling Super-book. (In 1968 it had average sales higher than Action Comics and Adventure Comics, but they were both monthlies. Supergirl's feature was moved into Adventure Comics in 1969, but Mike Sekowsky didn't take it over until the month before Kirby's Jimmy Olsen run started.)

Likewise when Kirby returned to Marvel he was put on one of the established features, Captain America. His run on Black Panther didn't start until a year later. It's a long time since I read the issues I used to have: I read most of them in my later teens, and didn't like them enough to keep them. It now seems to me he did a much better job on Black Panther than he did on Captain America. I like the new characters he introduced and concepts, and my recollection is the issues don't tip over into sheer incompetence the way the Captain America ones sometimes do (as with the character Texas Jack in the Night People story).

Black Panther #2 (March 1977) "The Six-Million Year Man"

1)We get  a really trippy vision of the future that our visitor comes from, stuff only Kirby could come up with.

2)Mr. Little is still alive, and he, the Panther and Zanda team up to find a way to send this guy back where he came from.  They have to find a second time frog to do this. How they know all this is anybody's guess.

3)This is amusing stuff, but not a lot of character development so far. This could be any hero, really, nothing especially distinguishes it as a "Black Panther" story as such.

I’m looking forward to catching up and reading this series along with you starting this weekend. I didn’t have time to read anything last night, so I asked Tracy to post one picture in lieu of 1000 words.

I did have time to read Don McGregor’s introduction to the previous volume of MMW Black Panther. He spoke quite a bit about the behind-the-scenes politics surrounding “Panther’s Rage” et al, but he didn’t mention Kirby’s series at all. He did say the reason he was given as to why he was “taken off” the series (his words), was that he was “too close to the black experience.”

A couple of years ago I picked up a TPB that reprinted the first several issues of the series. It was my first time reading these stories and I agree that the Panther came across as a very generic super guy. The stories are actually pretty entertaining as long as you can accept them as stand-alone bits of Kirby story telling with no relation to anything before or after.

The Baron said:


3)This is amusing stuff, but not a lot of character development so far. This could be any hero, really, nothing especially distinguishes it as a "Black Panther" story as such.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

 He did say the reason he was given as to why he was “taken off” the series (his words), was that he was “too close to the black experience.”

What the Hell does that mean?

I think that was McGregor's point: What the hell does that mean?

If I had to guess, the social issues raised in the last few issues of McGregor's Jungle Action run were deemed unconfortable by Marvel's Editorial.

To be fair, they were not very good either. Nor very clear.

Black Panther #3 (May 1977) "Race Against Time"

1)T'Challa and pals race against time to find the other time frog before the future man completely regains his senses.  Gee, when you say it that way it sounds silly.

2)I'm a little sketchy as to why King Solomon's tomb would be in Africa.  Or how he had a robot bodyguard.

3)Overall, still enjoyable stuff.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2018   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service