12. Black Panther Starred in Marvel’s first “Graphic Novel”
Comic book fans still get into arguments about what constitutes a “graphic novel,” but historian Jason Sacks has argued that “Panther’s Rage,” a self-contained, two-year Black Panther storyline that ran in Jungle Action from 1973 – 1975, is the first Marvel graphic novel, and a big stepping stone for the comic book industry as it matured through the decades. At the time, a Marvel line called Jungle Action was mostly devoted to white jungle heroes in the vein of Tarzan, which felt out-of-date, even for 1973.
Author Don McGregor wanted to create a storyline for Jungle Action with a Black protagonist, which brought us this highly influential storyline. “Panther’s Rage” takes T’Challa out of the Avengers (he was a member at the time) and brings him back to Wakanda, where forces are aligning to stage a revolution against their king. The story also introduces Erik Killmonger as the leader of the revolution. Killmonger blames T’Challa and his father, T’Chaka, for the death of his own father, motivating him to take the crown.
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