7 Black Panther Stories You Should Read

7 Black Panther Stories You Should Read

Are you looking for awesome Black Panther comics after seeing the movie? Then you can’t go past this list that features seven of the best Black Panther stories. It contains a mix of stories from his long history from his earliest all the the way to his current series. As a result, there should be a story for every fan from the action-packed to the philosophical.

If you’re looking for ever more stories or want to know what to read next, don’t forget to check out the Black Panther Reading Order.

Enjoy!

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Fantastic Four #52 cover by Jack Kirby. First appearance of Black Panther.
Fantastic Four #52 cover by Jack Kirby.

The Black Panther!

Written by Stan Lee. Art by Jack Kirby.

At the mid-point of their 100 issue run on the Fantastic Four, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee were firing on all cylinders. During this period there were heaps of classic stories and the pair brought to the world many memorable characters – one of them being Black Panther.

In this story the Fantastic Four travel to the mysterious Wakanda on the invitation of the land’s king, Black Panther. On arrival the team is ambushed by the kind and they spend much time facing off in this exotic land. Although, in true superhero fashion, they all team-up to take on the much larger threat in Ulysses Klaw.

This debut appearance sets the foundation for the character, which allowed for others to flesh out the character over the decades. We learn of his origin, we get a peak of at the exotic Wakanda and get a great look at Black Panther’s skillset. It’s this skillset which caters for Jack Kirby to illustrate him in with plenty of dynamic action.

Original issues: Fantastic Four #52-53
Trade Paperback: Black Panther Epic Collection: Panther’s Rage
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Avengers #52 cover by John Buscema.
Avengers #52 cover by John Buscema.

Death Calls for the Arch-Heroes

Written by Roy Thomas. Art by John Buscema.

On recommendation from Captain America, Black Panther heads to the Avengers Mansion to join the team. On his arrival he find members of the Avengers dead! What’s even worse is that Black Panther’s been framed for the crime. Now he’s on the run from police and SHIELD while he finds the real “killer.”

Along with the introduction of a now classic Avengers villain in Grim Reaper, this tale is also important in that it recruits Black Panther as a regular on the Avengers team. In a time where the African hero had been bouncing around with various team-ups, Death Calls for the Arch-Heroes gave him a home in the pages of Avengers.

Original issues: Avengers #52
Trade Paperback: Black Panther Adventures
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Jungle Action #10 cover by Gil Kane.
Jungle Action #10 cover by Gil Kane.

Panther’s Rage

Written by Don McGregor. Art by Rich Buckler, Gil Kane and Billy Graham.

Up until 1973 Black Panther had never had his own solo series. He’d either been a guest in someone else’s comic or been a member of the Avengers. It wasn’t until Don McGregor, who was a proofreader on the dated reprint series Jungle Action, demanded for that the series demanded Marvel publish something a bit more tasteful that Black Panther became the star of his own series. With the only restriction being that it had to be set in Africa, McGregor and a batch of artists kicked off the series with the 12-part (something that was unheard of back then) epic Panther’s Rage.

After being in the US with the Avengers for some time, Black Panther comes home to find that there is unrest in Wakanda. That unrest stems from Erik Killmonger, who with his army has gone around attacking villages with the intention of taking T’Challa’s throne. Over the span of 12 issues Black Panther will face down many of Killmonger’s lieutenants all over the country in order to stop this revolution.

Panther’s Rage was a story well be before it’s time. McGregor fill the book with strong characterisations, by fully fleshing out character relationships and motivations. Also, he wasn’t affraid to impose difficult question on his characters. As a result, this epic explores the impact of violence, along with other themes such as culture shock and mortality.

Through the occasional page experimentation, Panther’s Rage was also quite dynamic in it’s action with the book giving Black Panther plenty of time and enemies to show off his unique blend of fighting. The action is exciting and doesn’t feel jarring with everything else in the book.

Original issues: Jungle Action #6-18
Trade Paperback: Black Panther Epic Collection: Panther’s Rage
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Black Panther (1998) #1 cover by Mark Texeira. Marvel Knights.
Black Panther (1998) #1 cover by Mark Texeira.

The Client

Written by Christopher Priest. Art by Mark Texeira.

Most of the 90’s was a quiet time for Black Panther. Apart from the occasional appearance he didn’t feature in many comics, little own his own. But in 1998, during a Marvel’s post-bankruptcy creative renascence, he received a brand-new series helmed by Christopher Priest.

This tale is a unique melting pot of elements which could be described as Coming to America meets street-level action with a hint of the supernatural. Black Panther is forced to leave for the United States when a Wakandan-backed charity organisation is responsible for the death of a child. As he investigates this it sets off a domino effect which will see a leadership struggle as well as a visit from the devil himself.

Priest presents this story in an interesting manner with The Client told out of sequence and narrated by secondary character Everett K Ross. Ross is introduced in this arc and used throughout Priest’s long run to be the bridge the gap between familiar Western elements and the exotic and foreign Wakandian culture. He’s also a comic relief and injects humour into a series which is contrasted by the stern and seriousness of T’Challa.

Original issues: Black Panther (1998 series) #1-5
Trade Paperback: Black Panther by Christopher Priest Volume 1
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Black Panther (1998 series) #27 cover by Sal Velluto and Bob Almond.
Black Panther (1998 series) #27 cover by Sal Velluto and Bob Almond.

Sturm Und Drang

Written by Christopher Priest. Art by Sal Velluto.

Black Panther finds himself on the verge of World War III when tensions between the underwater nation of Lemuria escalate. These tensions are made worse by Klaw who is working in the background to build tensions with other nations and forcing them to get involved. In all of this, Black Panther is advocating for peace at every step, but at the same time refuses to back down and show any signs of weakness.

Sturm Und Drang is an exploration of War and how that effects leadership. We see this not only in Black Panther’s actions as a leader of Wakanda, but also in the other leaders that he must deal with including Namor, Magneto and Doctor Doom.

Original issues: Black Panther (1998 series) #26-29
Trade Paperback: Black Panther by Christopher Priest Volume 2
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Secret Invasion: Black Panther cover by Jason Pearson.
Secret Invasion: Black Panther cover by Jason Pearson.

See Wakanda And Die

Written by Jason Aaron. Art by Jefte Palo.

Acting as both a standalone story and a tie-in for Marvel’s 2008 event Secret Invasion, See Wakanda And Die is an action packed addition to the Black Panther library. An army of Skrulls have come to Wakanda in order to claim the country and vibranium, but Wakandans don’t bow down to invaders in the slightest. We see two sides of Black Panther which compliment each other quite well. The first is the leader, which is seen through his tactical decisions and devotion to the people of the nation. The other side is the hero which takes the threat head on and never gives up. The combination of these two sides makes for a satisfying read that moves at a breakneck pace.

Original issues: Black Panther (2005) #39-41
Trade Paperback: Secret Invasion: Black Panther
Comixology | eBay

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book One by Brian Stelfreeze.
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book One by Brian Stelfreeze.

A Nation Under Our Feet

Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Art by Brian Stelfreeze and Chris Sprouse.

Wakanda is in a state of upheaval. After being ravaged by multiple attempts at being invaded the people of the advanced African nation have lost faith in Black Panther as their king and revolution is afoot at multiple angles. While he attempts to stop the country from ripping itself apart he also questions his own leadership qualities and constant push and pull of being a hero.

A Nation Under Our Feet is the most philosophical of all the spotlights on this list. It explores the Wakanda’s identity tensions and how to honours tradition of the past while still looking to the future. This extends to the leadership of the nation and if there is still in need of a monarchy.

Stelfreeze and Sprouse visualise Wakanda spectacularly. There is a science fiction quality to them with the nation’s advanced technology, but stylistically informed by African art and culture. The result is a world that you can easily get lost into as it currently looks like nothing else that is being offered on the stands at the moment.

Original issues: Black Panther (2016 series) #1-12
Trade Paperbacks: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Books 1-3
Comixology | eBay

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