“Respect My Craft” – Colleen Doran

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Colleen Doran

Profession: Writer/Artist/Cartoonist

Notable WorkDistant Soil, Gone to Amerikay, Orbits, Sandman

“So, there came the self publishing movement and the Image revolution. Creators like me decided we’d had enough of being published badly, and went our own way. Image did crazy, scary business; the sales were out the roof. It was comics artist as rock star time. Good and bad for comics, because while the self publishing movement started off with a handful of people like me, everyone who could use a photocopy machine was rushing to the trough; not because they had a burning desire to make comics, but because they were hoping to get rich.” – Colleen Doran

 

Colleen Doran has had an impressive career and has been writing and making art since she could hold onto a pencil. Doran was always fascinated by animation and loved to draw. Her first realization that she could be a comic book writer came when she was ten and got really sick. An old family friend gave her a box of comic books and she devoured them. She couldn’t get enough. It was soon after this the idea of A Distant Soil came about. She has always been a big fan of superheroes. At age 15, she was commissioned by Steven Miller and Sharon Lee (writers) who wanted her to do their cover art. Steve Hickman then asked her to work on the Miss Fury revival for his fanzine Graphic Showcase. This is what got Doran her start and she hasn’t stopped since. She has left a lasting and continued presence on the comic book industry.

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On top of her extensive creative work, Doran is known for her openness about the publishing/comic book industry. She writes a lot on the topic in her blog. This website was also developed in an effort to restore Distant Soil and turn them into digital copies. Her original printer went bankrupt and the negatives (4′ x 4′ flats, not film strips) of her work were thrown out, which amassed to about 1000 pages. The process is slow – more complicated than many people realize – and eats up a lot of personal income. With the restoration effort, she can reprint Distant Soil, as well as keep a digital archive of her work. Stuff like this happens in the industry and it’s really sad that a lot of work once it goes out of print is completely lost. (Point one for the digital age). If you’re interested in her efforts, I highly recommend helping her fund the effort.

Doran’s work on Distant Soil has encapsulated three decades of work. It is about a young woman who’s born on a distant world to parents of a religious dynasty. The comic explores: politics, gender, sexual identity love. (It’s just awesome in other words) Many readers and those in the industry feel this graphic novel series is some of the greatest contributions to the industry and to literature. She creates an intense expansive world and her writing has a profound depth to it.  It was among the first graphic novels to be created solely by a female artist/writer which she came up with in started in high school. What a badass! What an awesome accomplishment, I probably won’t finish my work until my death bed. Goes to show you how consistent writing and drawing can help get work finished. Looking at her credits on her website it’s mind blowing, and I recommend taking a look. She has had her hands on a lot of work that you may not be aware of.

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Some of her latest work includes Gone to Amerikay, which came out in 2012 under Vertigo. It’s about Irish emigrants who come to New York. It spans about a century and follows several individuals whose tale intertwine and weave in out of the characters’ lives. According to scifiplus.net interview she did a lot of extensive research for the graphic novel. “Well, I care about all my books, but this is a historical work, and I don’t skimp. Research is essential to this sort of work. Not only is the story absolutely wonderful, and I owed it my very best, but it is also an important work, and I owe it to everyone involved, including the reader to provide as authentic an experience as possible. We’ve all seen comics where people simply don’t bother to do basic research” (scifiplus.net). She spent a lot of time entrenched in books for research and since a lot of her references were in black and white she had to spend more time on getting the costumes rights and the colors just so. On a cool note: Doran finished Gone to Amerikay off the coast of Tasmania while she started her work off the coast of Morocco.

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On a personal note, Doran has had to deal with a stalker over the last several years. It has been something that she has been honest and vocal about. She appeared on the show Someone’s Watching to talk about her experience.  It is really important to talk about these sorts of crimes as it impacts a person’s safety, family, and creative output. Doran has stayed away from and lot of conventions because of this in order to remain safe. Cons have a responsibility and a duty to make sure people feel protected and safe while attending conventions. In many ways, her choosing to come to Denver Comic Con is a huge deal. We in Denver are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to possibly meet her and see her on panels. (So no one fuck it up!)

 

According to various interviews, Colleen Doran has a busy year for 2014. A lot of work has been pushed off for this year. So, you can expect a lot of creative work to come out from her in the near future.

 

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties. Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con as we spotlight the Incredible Lou Ferrigno.

 

“Respect My Craft” – Max Brooks

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Max Brooks

Profession: Writer

Notable WorkWorld War Z, Zombie Survival GuideHarlem Hellfighters

“One time I was doing some radio press in Utah and this lady called up and she said, ‘I’m living in a trailer with my four kids and now I’m afraid of zombies and I don’t know what to do!’ And I said, ‘Lady, if you’re living in a trailer with four kids, you’ve got bigger problems. Don’t worry about the zombies.'” –Max Brooks

 

Max Brooks was born May 22, 1972 to Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. He graduated from American University’s film school in 1994, after having also attended Pitzer College as a History major and spending a semester at the University of the Virgin Islands. Mel Brooks is a name that should sound instantly familiar to anyone who has watched older comedies. He was an actor/producer in such films as The Producers, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Anne Bancroft was a name that I didn’t recognize immediately but after looking at her work, realized just how big she was. Anne Bancroft played Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, a role for which she won a Golden Globe for best actress, and a film that is preserved in the national registry for its cultural significance. You could say that their son had quite a bit to live up to.

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In his early years, Max worked as a writer for Saturday Night Live, and according to interviews, had written the manuscript for The Zombie Survival Guide even before working there. It was during his time at SNL that he met a book publisher that was willing to put the book out there and get it published. What initially was touted as comedy book slowly but surely started to be seen for what it actually is. With sales that were initially slow, Max decided to do a few interviews and lectures to prove that this book was the real deal and that it wasn’t making fun of its core audience. After people started realizing that this book was amazing, it shot up The New York Times Best Sellers list and eventually selling over a million copies while being the publishers most requested back cataloged book.

After the success of his first book, he followed up with World War Z, which was met with high praise. World War Z was immensely popular and spent weeks of the Best Sellers list. The novel remains one of my favorites of all-time, and it’s just as socially conscious as it is entertaining. From the Middle Eastern relationships to American non-interventionism, the underlining political tones were all on-point. These books made Brooks not only an acclaimed writer, but the new spokesman for the undead.

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This book was so popular, in fact, that it was picked up for a movie adaptation. After these two successes, they were followed up by a graphic novel that was a follow up to the Survival Guide, called The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks. Max Brooks wasn’t content to just be a writer, he has also acted in TV show such as Roseanne and 7th Heaven. He also has a career in voicing animation and has done voice over work for various cartoons such as Batman Beyond and Justice League. He has been handed the torch for the undead (even though Romero is still writing books), even representing zombies in the Deadliest Warrior special, “Vampires vs. Zombies.” Spoiler, zombies win.

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Latest work is the Harlem Hellfighters (review to come), a fictionalized account of an all-African American military squad during the First World War. They were set up to fail and ended up being some of the most decorated soldiers of the war. This is where his degree in History really shines, because he is able to take stories that actually happened and show the world the true bravery of this unit. Even though some of the people will be renamed as not to upset the families, everyone in the story is either real or based on a real person.

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One of the most interesting things about Max Brooks is that he is dyslexic and yet still managed to write one of the most popular zombie novels of all time. While a kid in elementary school, he was initially frustrated that he had such a hard time reading, but it was his love for history that actually saved him and allowed him to push past it.

 

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (NY Times, Spike TV, Broadway Books). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with comic book artist, Colleen Doran, famous for SandmanWonder Woman and more.

Graphic Novel Review-Spider-Man: Torment

Spider-Man: Torment

Collecting: Spider-Man #1-5

Original Release Date: 1990 (collected edition released 2011)

Publisher: Marvel

Pages: 144

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Characters: Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson, Calypso, The Lizard, Kraven The Hunter

Writer/Artist: Todd McFarlane

StoryLine – 6
Art – 10
Captivity and Length – 7
Identity – 7
Use of Medium – 10
Depth – 8
Fluidity – 6
Intrigue/Originality – 9
The Little Things – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9
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On the eve of the early premier to Columbia Pictures sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man, I ventured out to my garage to uncover my collection of Spider-Man arcs from over the years. Sidebar; It is important to recognize for the sake of this review that Spider-Man was my first nerdy obsession. I came to comics in purist tradition. There was no multi-billion dollar studio backing a franchise of movies or chain of retail stores carpet bagging 80’s cartoon T-shirts for the neo-nerds to wear as ironic or trendy. There were no celebrities gushing over their love of all things Marvel in hopes of landing the next big role. Web-heads like me had NBC’s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends on Saturday mornings, and that’s about it.

Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man saved my life. 1988 was a hard year for my family. My mother decided to move from New York City half way around the country to Denver to be closer to my grandparents. Nothing could have been more crushing to me at the time. All I knew was New York; other cities didn’t even exist to me. There are only two truths that keep me half-way sane: the Yankees are the greatest sports team ever assembled and Spider-Man is the best super hero in all of comics.

Parker is a New Yorker without both of his parents. He is nerdy and unsure of himself. Spider-Man reminded me of home. Without Spider-Man, I may not have fallen in love with comic books.

When McFarlane announced that he was leaving The Amazing Spider-Man, my heart sunk. The man who gave us spaghetti-webbing was leaving; who could possibly replace him? It was soon released that McFarlane would launch a new Spidey book simply titled Spider-Man. Not only would Todd pencil the book, but he would write its stories too. This was a dream come true! The man who gave us Venom would be responsible for creating new villains and plots in the Marvel universe! His first attempt launched in 1990 was the five part mini-series, Torment.

The first issue gave us an iconic cover. The Wall-Crawler, hunched over, over-exaggerated eyes, twisted arm, nestled safely in his web was here! Spider-Man sold 2.5 million copies initially. It’s variant covers helped push the title into uncharted territory in sales.

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And to top it off, in the top right hand corner of the issue, McFarlane dubbed the series, The Legend of The ArachKnight. This was an obvious dig at DC Comics and the tidal-wave success of Tim Burton’s blockbuster film, Batman. There were more subtle jabs towards the Bat in the first few pages and web-heads went nuts! The success of Batman was overwhelming, there seemed to be no stopping the media blitz and little if no space was left for any other heroes. Quite frankly, it was hard to identify with a billionaire playboy who played cops and robbers in some fictitious town, but Peter Parker was from Queens, and he could never quite get over the hump. His character was much more relatable to me.

Despite Torment‘s initial popularity, McFarlane faced wide-spread criticism from fan-boys, peers and even his last Marvel editor Danny Fingeroth. His initial editor, Jim Salicrup, offered Todd the shot to author and pencil his own title. The book was a huge cash cow for Marvel but Todd seemed to face opposition at every turn. He had already weathered the storm of critics who claimed that he couldn’t draw anatomically correct figures. Instead of changing his style and falling victim to self doubt, he drew even crazier. He twisted bodies in ways they shouldn’t have been able to, he gave us MORE spaghetti-webbing and made Spider-Man his way. He would, “Rise above it all.” With that being said, Torment isn’t Shakespeare, and it didn’t have to be. McFarlane used the Torment series to push HIS brand of art. And even though the company tried to tame his style, they encouraged their next generation of artists, including Amazing Spider-Man successor, Erik Larsen, to draw Spidey the same way because that’s what sold comics.

“The City. New York. Littered with towering concrete giants that seem to swallow up the sky.” Torment is simple – the Lizard is out of control in New York. He is under the control of the dark voodoo priestess Calypso, and on a vicious killing spree. The sensually drawn Calypso has revenge in her dark soul. Her wish? To kill Spider-Man and resurrect Kraven The Hunter. Spidey nearly loses his life in this bloody battle. Any true McFarlane fan will tell you that you don’t need much more than that.

Critics argued that McFarlane never learned how to establish tone in his writing, but if the artwork does it for you, imagination should take care of the rest. The panels are elegantly illustrated. The backdrop of New York is gritty and terrifying. The flow of the first five books may seem a bit sloppy, but the Spider-Man he depicted was a stretch from our friendly neighborhood hero. He is placed in a mysterious plot for no reason – other than torment – and we, the reader, get to enjoy a fresh perspective from one of the most successful comic book artists of all time.

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Graphic Novel Review – Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds

Graphic Novel Review – Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds

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Collecting: Bids of Prey #56-61

Original Release Date: 2003

Publisher: DC Comics

Character: Black Canary, Oracle (formerly Batgirl), Huntress

Writer: Gail Simone

Art: Ed Benes

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 6
Art – 7
Captivity and Length – 8
Identity – 9
Use of Medium – 7
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 8
Intrigue/Originality – 8
The Little Things – 9
Overall awesomeness – 8

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Think about your favorite team of heroes: Justice League (and their dozens of iterations), Avengers (and their hundred different iterations), Green Lantern Corps, X-Men… Now think about the gender representation among the group. Aside from the X-Men, women have been heavily underrepresented among the best in the universe for each team, let alone left in a position of power. Those female characters that are represented are typically typecast with revealing outfits and often find themselves “In A Refrigerator.” Well, in the mid-1990’s, Jordan Gorfinkel and DC Comics decided that readers wanted a team that they could relate to. The Birds of Prey were formed in 1996, consisting of Black Canary and Oracle. Through the years, DC’s elite women (sans Wonder Woman) have joined the Birds of Prey at some time or another. Characters like Hawkgirl, Vixen and Katana came under the spotlight of the Charlie’s Angels-esque team of strong women.

Chuck Dixon laid the groundwork for what would eventually turn into a DC Comics fan favorite. When Gail Simone took the reigns in 2003, we were already fifty-six issues in. Fortunately for readers, this was an opportune place to jump on, as Simone crafts Of Like Minds not only as an introduction to her writing, but the series, as well. Jumping into a series over fifty issues in is never an easy transition, but the dynamics of Birds of Prey is well established from the first page in. After suffering a paralyzing gunshot wound at the hands of the Joker in The Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon has become Oracle – tech extraordinaire and human calculator. Although confined to a wheelchair, Babs is the clear leader of the group and, to be honest, the most integral member of the Birds of Prey. Meanwhile, Black Canary (Dinah Lance) and Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) make the moves. Like messenger birds sent out by Oracle, they complete missions while Oracle feeds them intel.

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Of Like Minds gives up a lot of ground in story-telling establish an identity. Simone does an excellent job of portraying three distinct personalities among the group. While Oracle has the notable Batman influence – prepared to do whatever is needed to get the job done – Dinah is inspired by Green Arrow’s more “Robin Hood” view of how to be a superhero. Add a fired up and borderline violent Huntress to the mix, and you get an amazing chemistry that could carry its own series whether they were fighting crime or playing Cranium. Where the arc seems to falter, though, in with the characters surrounding them. The antagonist in Of Like Minds, Savant, has just enough juice to pique my interest, but not enough to be worthy of commandeering the book. That being said, there were far worse ways to introduce a villain like Savant, and his purpose seems to be solely make the Birds of Prey look good.

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Something that really impressed me about Of Like Minds was the amount of research Simone must have done to show just how legit our crew is. Take Barbara Gordon, for example. She’s no longer Batman’s sidekick, but rather one of the best most vital tools in the DC Universe for intel (really the only one until Cyborg’s rise to mainstream popularity a few years later). In fact, during Batman: No Man’s Land, which begins soon after the continuity of this book, she is crucial in Batman’s plight to take back Gotham. Throughout the pages, Babs: speaks multiple languages, quotes Benjamin Franklin and multiplies numbers together really quickly. She may be confined to a wheelchair, but Barbara Gordon uses her mind to thwart crime when her partner’s brawny methods come back fruitless.

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Keeping an open mind that this book was published over a decade ago, the idea of strong, capable characters is completely cut down by the way the characters are constantly being objectified. Ranging from blatant (Black Canary being bound and cuffed while Savant makes sexual banter) to subtle (putting the characters’ sexy parts conveniently next to word bubbles, and the awkwardly positioned poses to show off just enough butt to make it annoying), there’s no denying that DC was using sex appeal to sell Birds of Prey. With new-age super heroine books in the mainstream now like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Captain Marvel, it’s hard to imagine just how skewed the industry’s opinion of women was at the turn of the century.

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While the first arc of a Simone-written Birds of Prey shows its age in terms of the portrayal of women, the identity that Gail Simone – a woman writing a comic book about women – creates is worth the sticker price (or download price, as Of Like Minds is out of print and hard to find at a reasonable price). The pages are filled with Simone’s unique take on the Birds of Prey (a woman writer portraying a female led book – crazy, I know) was unprecedented at the time, especially ones smarter and mightier than their male counterparts. I was unimpressed with the story overall, but this is a case where style over substance is more over an investment. Gail Simone shows signs of becoming a tremendously talented writer, which really shines through in her recent work on Batgirl, one of my favorite series of the New 52.

All media credited to DC Comics

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

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Graphic Novel Review – Incognegro

Graphic Novel Review: Incognegro

ALL BLACK EVERYTHING

Collecting: Original graphic novel, Incognegro

Original Release Date: 2008

Publisher: Vertigo (DC) Comics

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Character: Zach Pinchback, the Incognegro

Writer: Mat Johnson

Art: Warren Pleece

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 8
Art – 8
Captivity and Length – 8
Identity – 9
Use of Medium – 7
Depth – 8
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 8
The Little Things – 7
Overall awesomeness – 7

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I won’t lie – Incognegro has been sitting on my shelf for years now, purchased solely off the amazing pseudonym given to the main character. It wasn’t until we started #AllBlackEverything that I knew this book had to be reviewed for Hush Comics. Growing up, I found myself enthralled with the book Black Like Me – I actually wrote a book report on it for every year of High School. Black Like Me, written by John Howard Griffin in the 1960s, documented the experience of a white man who disguised himself as a black man in Texas. Incognegro is the exact opposite approach – a very light-skinned black journalist disguises himself as a white man and documents lynchings that go on in the south. Mind you, this book is set only thirty-forty years prior to Black Like Me.

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The idea of being a light-skinned reporter infiltrating lynchings in the South is down-right terrifying, and it hooks readers right in. Incognegro follows a very linear story. Zane Pinchback is a syndicated journalist in New York who writes under the name “Incognegro.” His column is quite popular, and he has agreed to go on one last excursion before his promotion – to save his own brother from being lynched. His friend Carl has decided to tag along with him. Together, they must infiltrate the South and rescue Zane’s brother, Pinchy, from certain death. It’s a wild ride from start to finish, and tells a complete story.

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Incognegro can be humorous at times, but most of this book is brutal and fast-paced. It reads like a movie plays, and the story is benefited by the entertainment factor. The graphic images speak volumes for the mistreatment and cruelty that black people endured. However, as Incognegro, Pinchback details his strategy for hiding among the lynchings, it seems as though it’s turned into a game of not getting caught. It breaks the tension at times where the shock of the photos can be hard to swallow. Mat Johnson has a lot to invest in the story, too; he is a very light-skinned black man and a self-described scholar of African-American literature. He’s actually the man on the cover of the book.

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I can’t help but feel that Incognegro was written with a huge chip on the its shoulder. Every white man in the book is vilified and the dialog is a flurry of racial slurs and stereotypes. For being a book set to these times, I feel that the guilt was laid on a bit too thick. The degree of black and white extremes of race relations in Incognegro is challenged only by its artwork. I especially enjoy how the art reflects the transition from day to night. In the end, this was a well-written piece, but I feel as though the uninformed would take away more negatives about whites than focusing on the heroics of the main characters. There are definitely lessons to be learned, and I would recommend this to not only those who like a good story, but those interested in learning more about the heroics of undercover journalists in the 1930’s.

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All media credited to Vertigo/DC Comics

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

Graphic Novel Review – Who is Black Panther?

Graphic Novel Review: Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?

ALL BLACK EVERYTHING

Collecting: Black Panther #1-6

Original Release Date: 2005-2006

Publisher: Marvel Comics

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Character: The Black Panther/T’Challa

Writer: Reginald Hudlin

Art: John Romita Jr. (The Amazing Spiderman, Uncanny X-Men)

SCORECARD:

Storyline – 8
Art – 7
Captivity and Length – 9
Identity – 8
Use of Medium – 6
Depth – 8
Fluidity – 8
Intrigue/Originality – 9
The Little Things – 7
Overall Awesomeness – 8

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In honor of Black history month Hush comics is bringing you another entry to our All Black Everything graphic novel review series.  What graphic novel better represents this theme than the one starring Marvel’s first mainstream black superhero, The Black Panther?!  Before I dive into the greatness of Who is the Black Panther, you may be curious about the ties the Marvel hero has to the African American revolutionary group most active in the 60’s and 70’s.  You may find it interesting that Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s idea for a prominent superhero of dark skin predates the party’s founding.  Lee and Kirby state that, at the time, they recognized a lack of balance and representation throughout the panels.  In an effort to bring that balance the two of them created T’Challa, the man behind the mask, and the legacy of The Black Panther.  Premiering in Fantastic Four #52  (July 1966), The Black Panther makes a lasting impression as he trounces the famous superhero team when they visit The Panther’s home village, deep in the heart of Africa.  The rest is history… black history that is.  The Black Panther laid the path for other black superheroes to hit the scene: Luke Cage, Storm, DC’s John Stewart Green Lantern and several others all pay homage to The Black Panther as the father black superheroes.

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The Black Panther made a powerful splash in the late 60’s and into the next decades, but the impact of that initial splash was lost on my generation.  That is until Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr. teamed up to reboot the series in 2005 with Who is the Black Panther?, the subject of this review.  The series opens with a brief trip to the past, 5th century A.D.  A warring African tribe is making an attempt on the never before breached borders of Wakanda where the infamous Black Panther rules and protects his people and village.  In a show of force beyond what any of these rival warriors have witnessed, the boarders remain unbreached.  Jump ahead to the 19th century.  South African apartheid is in full swing and the Boers are determined to bring down Wakandan walls and reap the untold fortunes within the mysterious village.  Yet again the attempt is easily thwarted thanks to The Black Panther and his automated defense system that is light-years ahead of its time.  This aspect is one of the elements that makes this story great.  The notion that a peaceful and tribal African society can also develop gadgets and gizmos that would make Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking scratch their head in wonder is fascinating.  Throughout the issue we see time and time again the technological superiority of The Black Panther and the Wakandan people.  My personal favorite was the Skybike.  What I would give to be able to ride that thing to work every morning!

More impressive than their technological advancements is their spiritual advancements.  Like every good superhero, one must act and strive towards an ideal above the self and for the greater good.  The Black Panther is not just a protector and warrior, but also the leader of a nation.  While defending threats on the front line The Panther must also approve municipal sewage plant measures and discuss stately manners with the likes of Nelson Mandela (R.I.P.) and the United Nations.  Since The Black Panther title warrants such respect and responsibility it is no simple matter of dawning a cowl and cape in the name of saving the day.  It’s a title that must be earned.  In Who is the Black Panther we are witness to T’Challa earning the mantle.  I have a lot of appreciation for Hudlin and his attention to the events experience by The Black Panther while out of costume.  For several of us comic book fans, we search for deeper meaning in the panels all the time.  We look for things that inspire and motivate us.  On this aspect particularly, I hold Who is the Black Panther? in high esteem.

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Now, I stated earlier that The Black Panther predates the Black Panther Party (BPP) movement.  While this is true, it is not to say that we do not see any comparisons in this 2005 reboot.  The struggle of the BPP is most exemplified in this graphic novel through its super-villains.  Most of whom hail from Western and European regions that were involved in 18th century slave trade (America, France, Great Britain) and subsequent civil rights perversions.  As a direct descendant of African American heritage, it gave me a sense of pride to watch The Panther courageously and resolutely stand up to evil and hatred.

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Who is the Black Panther falls somewhat short in the art and use of medium categories.  With opportunities abundant, I wish there would have been move half and full page panels to emphasize truly awesome moments.  Some elements of the plot were very unnecessary, distracting and (in some instances) in bad taste.  “Recycled” US cyborg soldiers didn’t feel all that right in context.  All that aside, Who is the Black Panther? is a solid read.  It carries all the essential elements of a hero’s tale.  The true treasures of this graphic novel are in its morals more-so than the ink on the page.  For that (and the kick-ass Skybike) Hush is proud to have Who is the Black Panther? featured for our All Black Everything theme in honor of Black History Month.

Written by Taylor Lowe