EVERY APPEARANCE OF BLACK PANTHER:  Jungle Action #5-8

bushmaster

After a single issue by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, Don McGregor and Rich Buckler are given control over T’Challa.  McGregor would end up writing this title for several years.  The mandate: You can do whatever you want with him, but make sure all the stories take place in Africa.

McGregor’s script, “Panther’s Rage,” stretched from issues #6-18) was one long 13-issue arc—the longest in Marvel history thus far.  It introduced characters like Man-Ape and Killmonger (above), who would end up being part of Black Panther’s regular rogues gallery.  And it also made Wakanda a “real” place….

map of wkanda

The tale was about Wakanda’s revolution against their leader, The Black Panther.  I don’t think there was a single white person in any of these issues, and they existed completely separate from the mainstream Marvel Universe.  You could make valid arguments that the issues are a little too wordy, but the reality is that these are some of the best comics of the 1970s—maybe even of all time—and few people remember them.  Yes, they’re wordy and occassionally clunky—but it’s important to remember that this was still the eras of Stan Lee and Roy Thomas, and nobody was wordier than them.  The issues were popular on college campuses, but didn’t get widespread, mainstream comic reader appeal.

Creators: Roy Thomas and John Buscema (#5), Don McGregor and Rich Buckler (#6-8)

Grade: A

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