Black Panther by Kirby

By | Sunday, February 04, 2007 Leave a Comment
Being Black History Month, I thought I might take another post here to look at what could be considered the premier black comic book superhero: the Black Panther. A little while back, I picked up the two volumes of The Black Panther by Jack Kirby and the absurdly over-rated Superbowl Weekend has allowed me some extra time to start reading them.

These were stories written after what might be considered Kirby's prime. Two things struck me in general. First, Kirby's dialogue is fairly stilted. It reads decidedly like someone who's out of touch with what's "hip" is trying to write "hip." In that sense it's like many TV shows from the 1980s. Looking at Kirby's work with a few decades of hindsight, the dialogue seems a little more quaint than I expect it came across at the time, fortunately.

The other striking thing was how much raw power is in Kirby's work. The illustrations themselves are not his best, but every panel just exudes power and energy unlike anything I've seen from any other comic book artist. There's such a deep intensity in the layouts and the linework that even a shot of a couple people sitting and chatting has more power than a great many other artists.

These books really prove to me (again) that Kirby was an extremely powerful storyteller, and it makes me proud (yet again) to be able to write for The Jack Kirby Collector.
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