CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 262

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

I figure we might as well look at the END of the classic Fantastic Four stretch by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee where they introduced the Inhumans, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther AND had one of the all-time greatest single issue stories!!! All we have left is the introduction of the Black Panther!!

Enjoy!

Fantastic Four #52 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee contains the first appearance of the Wakanda Chieftan T’Challa, the famed Black Panther. After dazzling the Fantastic Four with technological wizardry, T’Challa invites them to Wakanda for a visit.

Once there, however, the FF find themselves trapped, forced to be hunted by the Black Panther!!!

Of course, the FF escape (I won’t spoil HOW) but when they do, he lets them know that it was all just a test (yes, it was a pretty jerky thing for him to do, but hey, this was the Silver Age, heroes did jerky things all the time for even less valid reasons than what T’Challa had here – and when you see the Thing’s reaction to T’Challa’s origin, you’ll realize that there is jerkiness on both sides).

Issue #53 delivers the origin of T’Challa, and it’s a really impressively told one by Lee and Kirby…

This, of course, sets them up for the battle against Klaw. I won’t spoil that. You can find these stories in a number of collections.

By the way, by spotlighting this stretch, it isn’t to say that #54, 55, etc. were not great stories, TOO, they just are not as easily demarcated as the Inhumans intro/Galactus trilogy/This Man, This Monster/Black Panther intro is.

12 Comments

I’ve never seen Klaw in human form before. I assume when he returns in this story, he’s already replaced his hand with the sonic blaster (that much seems obvious), but has he already transformed himself to energy, or does that come later?

Klaw transforms in the last couple of panels of this issue, and comes back a few months later (#56 I think) to get revenge on the FF as a creature of pure sound

I always felt the plot threads from this run (#44 to #53) continued for another year. Don’t forget Crystal is still trapped in the great refuge at this point, and the Silver Surfer is planning a visit to Latveria. Those points come to a head over the next 8 or 9 months. The action doesn’t really stop until #63

And then in #64 the FF take a nice vacation and have their first encounter with the Kree

It’s too bad that the character of the Black Panther gets so much disrespect on *some* message boards because of the Storm/Black Panther marriage. They blame a characters, as if it is a sentient being, for decisions made by Marvel editorial

That’s weird. I’ve only ever seen Hudlin taking the blame for the way the whole thing’s been written, which is only appropriate. Whether or not you approve of the Panther-marriage or other recent events in his comic, Black Panther is and has always been an awesome character.

buttler: While it is true Hudlin takes responsibility for the story, I am sure that they had to go through Marvel editorial to get the OK to make such a large change to both characters. In other words, I imagine Axel Alonzo and Tom Brevoort would have to sign off on it.

Oh yeah, of course they would.

T’Challa is The Man.

Not the one we want to stick it to. The other one.

Good thing they eventually upped Sue’s power levels so she wasn’t such a helpless female.

What an amazing coincidence that Ulysses Klaw had a name suited for a villain with a sonic “claw.” It was even spelled with a “K” so it would be extra cool like “Rictor.”

I’m still amazed at how progressive this story was– not just that T’Challa was the first black superhero, but that he had his own unique setting, his own backstory, and the ability to defeat his own arch-nemesis in the Fantastic Four’s comic. He wasn’t a stereotypical ” magic minority ” to support the white heroes– he completely stole the show from the main cast!

It’s interesting to note how many Panther attributes that were introduced in this tale have been re-introduced after having been dropped for decades:

1. The Panther’s use of high tech weaponry.

2. The Panther’s cape

3. The Panther as a devious schemer

Considering how much play that these elements have had in recent years, one wonders why they were dropped in the first place.

I don’t recall the Panther’s use of high-tech ever being ignored completely, but it was less prominent at times. But to be fair, I haven’t read a great many Black Panther stories.

Mary Warner,

By high tech weaponry, I mean the type of personal armaments that we see in this story (cf the “sleep gas” in his claws), and not things like super-advanced Wakandan computers, airplanes, etc. This type of personal, Batmanesque weaponry was pretty much discarded in the Panther’s appearances in the AVENGERS, JUNGLE ACTION, MARVEL-TEAM UP.So far as I can recall, this type of equipment did not reappear until the Jim Priest run.

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