Reading Black Panther
Like the rest of the world of sci-fi nerdom, I am hella excited about the upcoming Black Panther movie. I’ve been reading a lot of vintage British comic books lately, mostly Starlord and some 2000AD, but I can’t resist the urge to throw a little Black Panther into the mix. But where to start?
I started with Google, and I found an article written to help Black Panther noobs like me decide where to start reading his adventures. The article is a useful starting point, but the comics aren’t described in enough detail for me to really decide which one to go with. Ifanboy gives roughly the same information, but gives it in more detail.
The thing is, I’m not looking for a classic, or chronological place to start reading Black Panther. I’m looking for somewhere cool to start reading, and that isn’t necessarily the same thing.
IGN goes into a lot more detail about Black Panther comics. They put together a reading order for the comics that goes from the earliest appearances of Black Panther in the Marvel universe. But their advice for people looking to pick the story up ASAP, is to start with Black Panther Vol. 3 #1. That sounded okay, but it didn’t grab my imagination, so I kept looking.
Ratface, one of the contributors, suggests “Black Panther: The Man Without Fear”. It really piqued my interest. Black Panther and Daredevil in one comic book sounded very interesting to me.
I found another good suggestion on Film School Rejects about cool Black Panther comics. They say to read New Avengers: Everything Dies. This isn’t a Black Panther comic, but a grand science-fiction epic. They say it has fine Black Panther writing, portraying him as a leader of Wakanda first, and an Avenger second.
In the end, I plumped for Black Panther : Man Without Fear, and I’m enjoying it. I have to warn you that the covers are hideous, truly nasty. The cover of the first issue has Daredevil’s ass as the central visual element. It is a weird, painted monstrosity that looks like it should be on a heavy metal album cover.
The art inside is much, much better. It is dark and atmospheric, and reminds me a little of Batman Year One. It is done by Francesco Francavilla. According to Wikipedia Francesco Francavilla is the Italian comic book artist behind the creator-owned series The Black Beetle. Other notable works include The Black Coat (which he co-created) and his recent run on Detective Comics.
Francesco Francavilla is known for his pulp and retro-inspired style. He ran a blog back in 2013, Pulp Sunday, dedicated to this kind of work. Most recently he has been focusing on The Black Beetle, a series he originally created for his Pulp Sunday blog, which is now being published by Dark Horse Comics.
The illustrations for Batman: Year One were done by David Mazzucchelli. They have a very similar vibe, which fits, because Black Panther is often said to be Marvel’s version of Batman. Anyway, back to Black Panther : Man Without Fear.
The art, like I said, is great, but the story is interesting too, with Black Panther wanting to test himself. He gives up his throne in Wakanda and moves to New York to fill in for Daredevil. He is trying his hand at being a street level crime fighter, just to see if he can cut it without his technology and powers. It’s the type of story I enjoy reading.
He also starts up a secret identity running a diner called Devil’s Kitchen, which looks a little like the one from the Nighthawks. The scenes inside the diner are a bit 2 Broke Girls for a moment, what with the customers and the booths. 2 Broke Girls is a sitcom set in a diner in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. Thankfully, Black Panther is soon back out on the street, fighting crime.
When he isn’t fighting crime, Black Panther chills in his apartment, with the beautiful art contrasting the warmth of the space with the cold colours of the mean New York streets outside.
I got a shock a few pages later when I saw that Black Panther was skyping with Storm. They are married in the comic book. It shocked me so much I had to go and Google up their story before I continued reading. I found the history of Black Panther and Storm on Arousing Grammar. Apparently their marriage lasted six years and one month, so it is already long over.
This being the start of the arc, the bad guy is introduced in the issue, too. He seems interesting, with superpowers akin to those of Captain America, without the morals or interest in doing good, of course. He’s called Vlad the Impaler.
It’s a great first issue for this story, and I can’t wait to find out how Black Panther takes out this Vlad guy. I also can’t wait for the movie, but the comic book will keep me going till it hits movie theaters near me.
Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy) Start Reading the Dark Galaxy Trilogy
The first book in the Dark Galaxy Trilogy, always the best place to start, is Galaxy Dog. It’s a little more old-school and fun than a lot of the sci-fi that is around at the moment. It has spaceships, robots, battles, and brave warriors rebelling against an evil empire. Click the book cover and go to the storefront you prefer to buy it now, or follow this link.
This is a universal book link (UBL) and you will be greeted with a page displaying all the places the book is available online. Just select the storefront you prefer and, if you want, also make this your default bookseller. From then on, every time you click a UBL you will be taken directly to the book you are interested in, on the storefront you prefer. The UBL even allows you to go to the Amazon store that matches your region.