Comic Books You Should Care About: Fantastic Four #52
This February, Dibbs, the real time fractional marketplace for collectibles and NFT sports cards, is showcasing iconic comic book issues that you should be collecting, all in part to celebrate comic books making their way onto the platform! While not every book we feature will end up on the Dibbs app, our list is jam-packed with the greatest stories from old and new!
Be sure to join us, February 8th @ 10am PST / 1pm EST, when we drop our first graded comic book, The Incredible Hulk #181 (The first appearance of Wolverine)!
The First Appearance of Black Panther
What better way is there to kick off the first installment of our month-long blog series AND the first day of Black History Month than starting with Fantastic Four #52? The issue may appear to be another random book in the classic Silver Age Marvel series but issue 52 introduces Marvel’s first Black superhero, Black Panther, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. While a lot has changed about Black Panther since his debut in 1966, this issue introduces us to King T’Challa himself, The African nation of Wakanda, and primes readers for the Black Panther’s origins in the next issue!
After being gifted a high-tech aircraft from the King of Wakanda, the Fantastic Four accept his invitation to visit the kingdom. Once the FF arrive, they are abandoned by their guide and left alone in the middle of a technologically superior city center. Falling right into the Wakandian trap, out of the shadows appears the Black Panther, who has no interest in talking.
One by one, the Black Panther steadily defeats and captures each member of the Fantastic Four. As Black Panther celebrates his victory over the super team, he discovers that the Human Torch, Thing, and Invisible Woman have all been freed by their friend, Wyatt Wingfoot. Outnumbered and overpowered, Black Panther admits defeat and reveals himself to be their royal host, King T’Challa!
The issue ends with T’Challa revealing that his aggressions towards his guests were merely a test to prove if they were worthy to ally with the Black Panther.
While Black characters had been portrayed in comic books prior to Black Panther's introduction, most of them fell victim to the stereotypes of the early to mid 1900s. In 1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who were witnessing the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, decided to create a superhero for their increasing number of young, Black readers. That hero would go on to become the catalyst of diversity in an otherwise white-ruled industry, on the pages and behind them!
Today, King T’Challa, his mantle as the Black Panther, and the advanced kingdom of Wakanda have managed to become integral parts of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Despite Chadwick Boseman (the young, talented actor who portrayed King T’Challa in Marvel’s 2018 ‘Black Panther’) tragically passing away at the end of 2020, Marvel is slated to continue paying tribute to this legendary character with additional films in the future.
Needless to say, Black Panther’s legacy lives on in the pages and on the big screen!
Notable Stories Featuring Black Panther
Enemy of the State by Christopher Priest and Mark Texeria (2015)
Black Panther by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr. (2017)
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze (2016)