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Brooks Walker
Brooks Walker

Books Written By Black Panthers

TSB: As a comic-obsessed teen, I was deeply indifferent to the Panther character. All he did was jump around a lot, and I thought that was corny. In fact, the main reason I read Panther when it came out written by Christopher Priest in 1998 was because Priest was the writer of Xero, this fascinating-but-by-then defunct DC comic about a black assassin who, on the job, disguised himself as a white man. So I picked up Panther because I wanted to read anything by the guy who wrote Xero.

Books Written By Black Panthers


And so I actually don't think there's a really grounded conservative argument, and by which I mean one argument grounded in tradition because the tradition of comic books is to change who wears the mantle all the time. It happens less with major superheroes, I'll grant that, but I don't actually see what's wrong. What's important is that people write great stories, and that's ultimately what's important. It does no good to make Spider-Man black or Thor a woman if the comic books are gonna suck. That does no good at all.

But in 1993, the black superhero saw a new dawn with the arrival of Milestone Media. Founded by black artists and writers, Milestone devoted itself to black and multicultural stories. The comic Icon, for example, presents a Superman-like alien who arrives on Earth to find himself in the antebellum South. There, he takes the form of the first person he sees: an enslaved African American. Milestone set a new standard for black characters, while serving as a talent incubator for writers and artists who would go on to influence the entire industry. Dwayne McDuffie, one of its founders, defined traditional characters like Batman for a generation of new audiences and brought original creations like the black superhero Static to the screen. Christopher Priest, who broke barriers as the first black editor at Marvel and was part of the group that established Milestone, would go on to rejuvenate Black Panther, writing an acclaimed series from 1998 to 2003 that lifted the character from obscurity to the A-list of comics. As written by Priest, the Black Panther is an enigmatic genius who maintains a careful remove from the Western world. It is Priest who shaped the character for the next 20 years, and whose work (along with that of Ta-Nehisi Coates, who began writing the character for the page in 2016) was the foundation for the hero we saw in the film.


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