Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
In 1966, a comic that captivated so many of its young fans released its fifty second issue and changed comics forever by introducing comic's very first black superhero. That is correct. The Black Panther is mainstream comic's very first powered superhero of African descent, and, yes, Fantastic Four #52 holds the Black Panther's first appearance in comics.
That's not the only key issue goodness this issue contains. Some of you may already know all of the goodness, but some may not. Either way, let's take a look at this comic that's becoming a major Silver Age key comic to own.
Fantastic Four #52
Black Panther's First Appearance Begins Here!
Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the Black Panther is the king and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. His real name is T'Challa and is the son of T'Chaka. Despite the name, Stan Lee has denied any connection to the political party and has called it a "strange coincidence."
In his debut, the Black Panther lures the Fantastic Four to Wakanda, and once they arrive, they are attacked. Alone, members of the Fantastic Four are no match for the Black Panther. However, when they united their efforts, they are able to subdue their mysterious attacker.
In the end, Black Panther finally reveals himself to the Fantastic Four. In the next issue, he will reveal why he invited them to Wakanda and attacked them. The next issue of Fantastic Four #53 reveals the origin of Black Panther and the villainous Klaw as well, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.
After all, this is about the Black Panther's first appearance in Fantastic Four #52.
The Debut of Wakanda
Like the movie, the world of Wakanda is a wonderful blend of the old and new. The fictional African nation is a melding of African culture and western technology. Yes, this depiction of Wakanda did go against traditional western stereotypes of African nations being "primitive" and inhabited by "savages" that were little better than beasts.
Reed Richards immediately marvels at the technology the Wakandan emissary uses when they are first invited to visit the mysterious Wakanda. Although in the next issue of Fantastic Four #53, this stereotype is touched upon even more. Seriously, read issue #53, and you'll see what I mean. It's displayed on the very first splash page of that issue.
So, we see the debut of Wakanda in this issue, and just like in the very comic that introduced this fascinating world, the movie version of Black Panther's kingdom is absolutely gorgeous.
Black Panther Movie Phenomenon
Am I surprised at the success of the Black Panther movie? No, I'm not.
I'm not because there isn't any group that doesn't want to be represented. It doesn't matter if it's in the U.S. or if it's elsewhere in the world. Even more so, represented in a good light. I should clarify and emphasize that.
What child does not wish to have a role model to look up to that looks like them? What child wants to feel ashamed of their ancestry or who they are just because?
Joe Robert Cole and Ryan Coogler truly delivered a film that is empowering and inspiring for a whole new generation. Once again, much of the film was inspired by the actual character in the comic books.
Did Stan Lee and Jack Kirby foresee just how much the character of the Black Panther would impact so many? I dunno, but Black Panther's mythos and the world of Wakanda begins right here in this issue of Fantastic Four #52.
T'Challa as Black Panther would be a supporting character in the Fantastic Four comic series before becoming a starring feature in Jungle Action comics and then finally getting his own titled comic series by late 1976. Like in the movie, T'Challa would also become a well-known Avenger.
Fantastic Four #52—the first appearance of Black Panther—is absolutely and 100% a historical comic book and rightly so!
Thank you for reading and appreciate you sharing this brief look at Black Panther's debut. Please cast your vote below about what you think of this comic book and the Black Panther movie also.
Feel free to comment as well. I really appreciate it, and as always, my fellow comic fans, happy hunting out there. We shall hopefully see you sooner rather than later.
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© 2018 Vic