Want More ‘Black Panther’? Here Are 5 Comics to Read
There’s no denying it; Black Panther is one of the most thrilling superhero movies in quite some time, introducing audiences to a whole new world within the Marvel universe and a cast of soon-to-be-faves. While Chadwick Boseman’s onscreen incarnation of the hero (and a few of his fellow Wakandans) will return in this summer’s Avengers: Infinity War, that might not be enough for everyone—especially since that movie doesn’t hit theaters until May 4. If you walk out of the theater this weekend and find yourself wanting more, here are five comic book runs to tide you over until you can get your next cinematic Black Panther fix.
Jungle Action #6-24
Ignore the title of the comic. (Please.) Instead, just know that these comics—career-making work from writer Don McGregor, with art from Billy Graham and Rich Buckler—were the first attempts to actually tackle the subject of race and nationality in relation to the character, leading to criticism that the series’ initial Wakanda-based storyline was “too black.” McGregor’s response? To bring the series back to America and let the Black Panther take on the Ku Klux Klan. To this day, this run remains bold and invigorating—and it contains some of the best comics to ever feature the character.
How to read it: Available digitally and in the Black Panther: Panther’s Rage print collection.
Black Panther (1998) #1-49
Writer Christopher Priest initially turned down the chance to head up a revival of the character in the late 1990s, convinced that the character’s race would doom the book’s chances in the market. It’s to everyone’s benefit that he changed his mind, as his Black Panther run remade the character as smarter than Batman and sneakier, too; a political genius one step ahead of everyone else, yet still stymied by society, the system, and the stupidity of those around him. Darkly funny, wonderfully cynical, and determined to change the mind of naysayers, these are thrilling reads.
How to read it: Available digitally and in the Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Vols. 1-3 print collections
Black Panther (2016) #1-12
It remains almost unimaginable that Marvel somehow convinced Atlantic journalist and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates to write comics, but the result has been some of the most thought-provoking work to ever come from the publisher, matched by some peerless artwork from Brian Stelfreeze and Chris Sprouse. Earnest and hopeful where Priest’s earlier take was sarcastic and misanthropic, it’s a counterpoint to much of what had come before, demonstrating the breadth of potential inside T’Challa.
How to read it: Available digitally and in the Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vols. 1-3 print collections
Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1-5
Coates didn’t come to Marvel alone, as it turned out; with this short-lived spin-off, he brought Roxane Gay, Yona Harvey, and Alitha Martinez on board to flesh out the lives of the Dora Milaje—the none-more-bold bodyguards to the Black Panther who, it turns out, are arguably more bold, more passionate, and perhaps even more interesting than the king they’ve dedicated their lives to defending. For those who fell in love with the all-female task force in the movie, this is where you’ll find more of them.
How to read it: Available digitally and in the Black Panther: World of Wakanda print collection
Rise of the Black Panther #1-6
A new series, just launched last month, Rise of the Black Panther features writer Evan Narcisse and a group of artists led by Paul Renaud retelling the origins of the hero in a way that places him deep within the greater Marvel universe without sacrificing the individuality and uniqueness of what makes T’Challa such a great character. The first two issues are already available, and highly recommended for anyone who wants to know where he came from or wonders where the cinematic version might be going next. Grab these now to keep up with the world of Wakanda as it moves into the future.
How to read it: Available digitally and in print editions