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THE BOOK WILL BE RELEASED THIS WEEK! I WILL UPDATE WHEN IT IS ON AMAZON!
FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, THE BLACK PANTHER WAS ONCE ONE OF THE MOST OBSCURE OF MARVEL’S CHARACTERS.
THEN, FOR THE FIRST TIME, HIS BLACK COMICBOOK WRITERS TOOK OVER.
Now, a new book tells the history from the perspective of its Black and white writers.
MARVEL’S BLACK PANTHER: A COMIC BOOK BIOGRAPHY, FROM STAN LEE TO TA-NEHISI COATES (Diasporic Africa Press) is a collection of chronological thoughts about the 52 years this character has existed.
The first, in-depth examination of the first Black superhero to appear in American mainstream comics, it is a group of chronological essays—a “biography” of a comicbook character—exploring what writer Todd Steven Burroughs thinks about how this Black/African hero character has been shaped: first by white liberal American men—Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas and Don McGregor—then by a Black American liberal man, Christopher J. Priest, and even later by American neo-Black-nationalists Reginald Hudlin and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
It is about race, mainstream superhero comics and the Black American imagination within the backdrop of American history and world history. It’s about the limitations of white liberalism and the power of Black-centered but white-controlled American popular culture; ultimately, it’s how 20th century white liberalism had to yield to the 21st century multicultural reality.
This book, a new addition to the growing scholarly literature on the growing literature on Black American comic books, shows how Black writers developed the version of The Black Panther now seen and beloved on movie screens throughout the world.
Excerpts from the book can be found here and here.
BEFORE HIS BLACK WRITERS TOOK OVER, THE BLACK PANTHER HAD FADED FROM THE LEE-KIRBY BAD-ASS WHO HAD TRAPPED THE FANTASTIC FOUR IN MINUTES TO, FIRST, A SIDNEY POITIER HARLEM TEACHER AND, LATER, A GUY WHO TOOK FOUR PAGES TO FREE HIMSELF FROM A BEAR TRAP.
“Marvel’s Black Panther: A Comic Book Biography, From Stan Lee To Ta-Nehisi Coates” shows the character’s growth under Priest, Hudlin and Coates, writers who understood that The Black Panther was at least as cool as Batman. Both Priest and Hudlin turned The Black Panther, a character known primarily for leaping around, into a literal Dark Knight; Marvel finally had a character that imitated and matched Batman’s powerful aura.
Christopher Priest brought him back to his first, dangerous Lee-Kirby Fantastic Four 1966 appearance, and
Reginald Hudlin then followed up by bringing him out of the comicbook store into the larger 21st century Black popular-culture world.
Ta-Nehisi Coates put him in the complex world of 21st century African domestic politics.
By doing so, Marvel now had the Batman-like character it had long wanted, and Black comicbook readers, Afrofuturists and Black fantasy-lovers had essentially a brand-new, culturally-relevant version of an established Marvel superhero.
Thanks to Priest, Hudlin and Coates, one of Marvel’s greatest Hollywood blockbuster film superheroes in 2016, 2018 and beyond is an unapologetic Black Cat.
The book answers the following questions:
• Which Black Panther writer created Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan?
• What is The Black Panther’s complex relationship with The Avengers?
• When was The Black Panther ever female? When was the Black Panther a half-Jewish New York City police officer?
• Who are the secret LGBT characters a Panther writer slipped into the 1970s comic book?
• How does Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first Panther storyarc thematically compare with his acclaimed full-length essay book, “Between The World and Me”?
The book’s Foreword is written by Makani Themba, chief strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies based in Jackson, Mississippi. A social justice innovator and pioneer in the field of change communications and narrative strategy, she has spent more than 20 years supporting organizations, coalitions and philanthropic institutions in developing high impact change initiatives.
The book’s Afterword is written by Greg Carr, Ph.D., J.D., chair of the Black Studies Department of Howard University.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
FOREWORD— Makani Themba, community activist/strategist, Higher Ground Change Strategies, Jackson, Mississippi
INTRODUCTION—Black Panther vs. White Panther
CHAPTER ONE— From Patrice Lumumba to Sidney Poitier: Early Fantastic Four and Avengers Appearances
CHAPTER TWO— The Jungle Book: Don McGregor Creates His Own Africa
CHAPTER THREE— The Finished Man: Don McGregor (Almost) Completes His ‘Panther Novel’
CHAPTER FOUR— The Return of the Kings: The Amazing and Wacky Adventures of Jack Kirby’s Panther
CHAPTER FIVE—The Client Was a Man of Remarkable Focus: A Panther and a Priest
CHAPTER SIX—The Spy King: How Christopher Priest’s Version of The Panther Forever Shook Up The Avengers
CHAPTER SEVEN—’Bad Mutha’: Reginald Hudlin’s Uncompromised Royal Black (Super-)Man and the Unbridled Black Imagination
CHAPTER EIGHT—Side-Swipes: The New York Ghost Cop and the Wakandan Princess As ‘Replacement’ Panthers
CHAPTER NINE—The (Black) Man Without Fear: That Time Panther Briefly Replaced Daredevil
CHAPTER TEN—Between the World and Him: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Panther
CONCLUSION—Panther Slices Through Captain America: Civil War
AFTERWORD—Greg Carr, Chairperson, Africana Studies, Howard University