BLACK PANTHER: 1981-1987

T’Challa had a long-running series (Jungle Action) in the early 1970s that was both groundbreaking and high quality, and then the legendary Jack Kirby too a shot with the character in an eponymous volume.  But the 1980s offered him little.  He had a few panels in scattered issues of The Avengers and West Coast Avengers, Iron Man, and Hulk, as well as the first Marvel graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel and the classic Fantastic Four Roast by Fred Hembeck.  He was featured in Marvel Team-Up in #114 for a story that, of course, took place in Harlem, and had some cameos in other MTU and Marvel Two-In-One issues…Stuff like that.  But no lead roles, and barely any as a major supporting character.  Two appearances stick out: Fantastic Four #241, where we got to see him drawn by John Byrne, and Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions.

Contest of Champions was the first Secret Wars—a global scavenger hunt in which the heroes were pawns of the cosmically powerful Death and Grandmaster.  It was clunky, but notable in its attempts at diversity—it featured characters from Saudi Arabia, Israel, China, and, of course Wakanda.  Then again, the Israeli was a volatile dark-haired woman named Sabra, the Native Americans were Red Wolf and Shaman, two Canadians were Northstar and Aurora, there were Russians named Ursa Major and Crimson Dynamo,  Aguila represented South America, and then, of course, there was Arabian Knight.

But hey, they tried right?

Next: Panther gets another series!

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