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The Wayner
02-10-2006, 04:52 PM
Now, I'll admit that this is a series I haven't read since the 70s. Actually, it was probably one of those titles I'd just read and throw into the collection pile; never thinking about it, again. However, with my current interest in the Black Panther shooting sky-high, I couldn't resist picking this series up.

I haven't got to revisit them, yet, but I did flip through the pages... and holy crap! This is some good stuff!

The issue I flipped through started with what appeared to have the Black Panther and his enemy having chased each other through a serious briar patch, as they're both cut up and have some serious wounds to show for it. I studied the opening page for quite a spell, simply drawn into the artwork. Fantastic stuff!

I can't wait to dig into this series (especially the BP material), and was just wondering what everyone else thought about this title?

matt levin
02-10-2006, 05:01 PM
The Don McGregor and Billy Graham (do I have this right?) issues of this title are my all-time standard for the Panther. Some of The Best Written, most exciting comics I have. Almost nothin' like'm until Frank Miller met Matt Murdock. Thanks for bringin'm back to mind!

Matt

Dan B. in the Underworld
02-10-2006, 05:17 PM
i re-read the run (having devoured it when it came out, or at least the last 10 issues or thereabouts ... i'm pretty sure i missed the first half-dozen ishes) just a few months ago. one of my favorite series back in the day -- when the mcgregor-graham team gave way to past-his-prime jack kirby's nonsensical grotesqueries, i was utterly appalled & wrote a letter of strenuous protest, prompting a personal reply from roy thomas.

graham, in particular, was never better. bob mcleod's inks may've had something to do with that.

The Wayner
02-10-2006, 05:19 PM
I've never read Kirby's BP series that followed JUNGLE ACTION. However, I've heard it's pretty horrible. I'm wanting to pick up the h/c to give it a go, but the reviews are kinda scaring me off.

Anyone want to give me the lowdown on that series?

berk
02-10-2006, 06:11 PM
I greatly enjoyed both the MacGregor/Graham and 70's-Kirby takes on the Black Panther, although neither was without its flaws. They're so radically different from one another that it seems to me the most natural reaction is to think of them as two completely separate entities, each pretty much unrelated to the other for all practical purposes.

I would concede, though, that Jungle Action is one of the best things MacGregor ever did, while Kirby's Panther run (to coin a phrase) isn't up there with his very best works - things like the New Gods, the Eternals, and so on. Still a hell of a lot of fun to read, though.

Babylon23
02-10-2006, 06:12 PM
Jungle Action is an incredible book, and one of the most underrated comics of the 70's. I'd love for Marvel to reprint these issues in trade.

I actually liked Kirby's Black Panther. The big problem, I think, was that Kirby wanted to do more new sci-fi stuff (like New Gods, Eternals, 2001, etc.) and Marvel wanted him to handle characters he'd created in the 60's. His run on both Black Panther and Captain America would have been better suited on different characters (FF perhaps).

telerites
02-10-2006, 06:25 PM
Billy Graham is an outstanding artist. I found this article on Graham which talked about his being an african-american artist and James Warren, Warren mags publisher, promoting him to art director. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham_%28comics%29

Definitely an underappreciated artist in my opinion. I actually have a portfolio by Graham that I need to dig up.

berk
02-10-2006, 07:27 PM
Jungle Action is an incredible book, and one of the most underrated comics of the 70's. I'd love for Marvel to reprint these issues in trade.

I actually liked Kirby's Black Panther. The big problem, I think, was that Kirby wanted to do more new sci-fi stuff (like New Gods, Eternals, 2001, etc.) and Marvel wanted him to handle characters he'd created in the 60's. His run on both Black Panther and Captain America would have been better suited on different characters (FF perhaps).Is that right? That's very interesting. I'd always assumed that Kirby requested the Panther and Captain America books himself. Either way, I completely agree that his SF-adventure stories would have been even better with different characters. Hell, he probably could have created a couple brand new ones, which might have been the best scenario of all.

Getting back to Jungle Action, I completely agree with the praise for Billy Graham's artwork. Great, heroic, superhero stuff. I think I recall Keith Pollard doing a real nice job on a fillin issue as well.

Hombre
02-11-2006, 12:33 AM
Jungle Action is an incredible book, and one of the most underrated comics of the 70's.

Incredible it's the right word. That book represents to this day one of the finest examples imaginable of unapologetic use of a super heroic setting, the villains, the fantastic situations, to tell a story that is profoundly ambitious in its scope and yet lets its philosophy unfold quietly, interspersing lyrical narration with the characters' matter-of-fact realizations, admissions of vulnerability and unassuming wisdom.

These stories, Panther's rage, the Panther vs. the Klan, fit my own sensibility perfectly, my own perception of the role of art in society and its transcendent nature. I can think of few others to better represent just how great, how deeply affecting, a comic book can be.

For all that, it truly saddens to hear Kirby's Panther dismissed in the same breath as a throwaway, I find his deceptively plain, dreamlike atmosphere extremely charming and subtly symbolic. But then, I always loved whacky, boisterous heroes and villains, so many of them co-created by Kirby, such as the Black Panther himself, so wonderful a character that back when he was first introduced the competition was certain to "tear their hair" in dismay!

Shellhead
02-11-2006, 07:05 AM
There were some other great comics back in the early 70's, but the epic Panther's Rage story arc in Jungle Action was my first encounter with truly amazing writing in a comic book. I was pretty young at the time (8), but even then I sensed something different about it. At first, I just had a couple of issues, but I read them and read them and read them until they were ragged, appreciating them more each time as I grew older. Finally discovered the local comic shop (it was several miles away, but that was a long distance for a kid on a bike) and picked up the rest of the Panther's Rage issues. My first classic run.

In some ways, this is still my favorite depiction of T'Challa, the brooding philosopher king who was away too long and is now desperately rushing to save his people. The supporting cast was well-developed, and to this day, remains one of the best depictions of a non-white community in all of comics. Amazing stuff from a bone-white Scotsman like Don McGregor.

The pencils were good too. Rich Buckler worked on the better issues, imo, but Billie Graham's vivid blaxploitation style was very distinctive and visually interesting. I would love to see a trade paperback, ideally in color, and maybe call it "Panther's Rage" instead of the mildly annoying "Jungle Action."

Gothos
02-13-2006, 05:55 AM
I always wondered if Priest's "duplicate Panther" storyline in his BLACK PANTHER run was his attempt to give a tip of the hat to both the serious McGregor Panther and the more freewheeling Kirby Panther. After all, one can hardly just dismiss the latter, since it was by one of the character's creators!

Babylon23
02-14-2006, 12:51 AM
It's great to see so much love out there for Jungle Action. I haven't met many readers who even know the series existed, let alone hold it in the high regard it deserves.

Roquefort Raider
02-14-2006, 05:34 AM
I always wondered if Priest's "duplicate Panther" storyline in his BLACK PANTHER run was his attempt to give a tip of the hat to both the serious McGregor Panther and the more freewheeling Kirby Panther. After all, one can hardly just dismiss the latter, since it was by one of the character's creators!

I've read something along those lines on this site (http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/pantherh.htm).

Hombre
02-14-2006, 06:08 AM
Priest claimed the character for his own, but he did that by building on established continuity, thus showing respect for the groundbreaking work of the authors that preceded him. McGregor's Panther's Rage and Panther's Quest are followed up on, and Kirby's wild tale of King Solomon's Frog is paid homage to.

Ironically, there's not much difference in the Panther's thoughtful, restrained demeanor from McGregor's stories to Kirby's. What changes is the world that surrounds him. McGregor had landed the Panther in Georgia, and had decided to take a good hard look at the betrayal of the ideals upon which America had been founded on the eve of its Bicentennial - which prompted Marvel to pull the plug and relaunch the book - whereas Kirby went for a surreal, evocative landscape populated by madcap, irresistible characters.

Babylon23
02-14-2006, 05:58 PM
Excellent analysis, Hombre. I agree entirely.

Gothos
02-15-2006, 11:08 AM
Priest claimed the character for his own, but he did that by building on established continuity, thus showing respect for the groundbreaking work of the authors that preceded him. McGregor's Panther's Rage and Panther's Quest are followed up on, and Kirby's wild tale of King Solomon's Frog is paid homage to.

Ironically, there's not much difference in the Panther's thoughtful, restrained demeanor from McGregor's stories to Kirby's. What changes is the world that surrounds him. McGregor had landed the Panther in Georgia, and had decided to take a good hard look at the betrayal of the ideals upon which America had been founded on the eve of its Bicentennial - which prompted Marvel to pull the plug and relaunch the book - whereas Kirby went for a surreal, evocative landscape populated by madcap, irresistible characters.

You may be right, Hombre: it's been a really long time since I looked at the Kirby Panthers. My recollection is that T'Challa's basic characterization is that he is determined without being as grim as McGregor's Panther. Thus he's not exactly being "Mr. Happy Pants" like the dupe T'Challa. I suppose my impression of zaniness from the Kirby Panthers really stems from supporting characters like Mr. Little and the Three Black Musketeers (or whatever they were called).

I don't mean to presume that Priest's only motive in creating Panther's "Harry Belafonte" persona was as homage to Kirby: in itself it was certainly an intriguing (if rather confusing) story-idea, and it certainly kept me reading! But FWIW I know that Priest expressed appreciation for McGregor's work, on the Alvaro BLACK PANTHER board if nowhere else, so I found myself thinking that paying homage fit with what I knew of Priest's proclivities. I don't fault any creator for not incessantly paying homage to those that went before-- if everybody did that, nobody would write anything original!-- but I do feel a bit more positively toward those creators that can pay homage AND create a good reading experience at the same time.

BTW, has anyone noticed that the 60s Panther seems modeled on Sidney Poitier while the 90s version seems modeled on Wesley Snipes? I also thought "Happy Panther" was given a Poitier look.

RolandJP
11-20-2008, 08:43 AM
I have been emailing MArvel and blogging to get this collected in atrade for a few years now. *SiGH*

MichikoS
11-20-2008, 01:06 PM
Considering how long he's been around, and the many approaches creators have taken the character, BP has been well-served. I agree with most of the praise that others had for Jungle Action BP and the exciting Priest incarnation of BP in the last decade. Even Kirby's short-lived run was worthwhile.

The key element in the success of the various BP titles has been respect, in my opinion. Not a single writer or artist has approached BP as a "throwaway" character, or tried to trivialize the issues of race and culture inherent in the character's name.

One of the toughest challenges in writing BP is addressing the African vs. African-American dichotomy. Black Americans have precious little in common with native Africans beyond their genes. Trying to write about an African character for Americans is tough enough; but to portray a black African in the context of black American culture is even harder.

Many writers have had T'Challla adopt American cultural norms; others have insisted on keeping the character rooted in Wakanda. Both approaches have worked, imo.

BP's current writer, Reginald Hudlin, has been highly successful in showing both aspects of BP's character.

Michi