Thursday, May 10, 2012

Essential Panther's Rage!


At long last I have Marvel's first great intentional epic collected under a single cover. No story deserves it more than Don McGregor's "Panther's Rage" saga from the humble pages of Jungle Action.

The saga was collected a year or so ago I know, but I don't generally get Masterworks, especially when they're that expensive. But I do buy lots of Essentials, and this volume featuring the Panther's first breakout series and his epic struggle against the forces of Erik Killmonger is going to be a heady read.

The series was oppulent and involving as it slowly unwound back in the height of the Bronze Age. The story is filled with Dickensian-esque named characters, each seemingly wanting little more than to destroy T'Challa for whatever reason. Wild and unusual and memorable.

McGregor alongside artists Rich Buckler, Gil Kane and Billy Graham and breakout inker Klaus Janson really offered up a story that punctured the norms of comic book storytelling and put the taste of blood in the mouth of the reader. It's impossible to read Panther's Rage and not feel the visceral nature of T'Challa's struggle to save his people, his land, and most of the time his own skin.

Great story! I'm eager to read it all again, and now it's dead easy to do.

Here's a cover gallery.














And the volume also has the Panther's initial battle against the Klan as well as Jack Kirby's peculiar take on the Jungle King. Sadly the stories which finish up the Klan saga are not included, but the book has to stop somewhere I guess. Great volume nonetheless.

Get it! Read it!

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5 comments:

  1. McGregor usually (and correctly!) gets the credit on that long Panther run but, along with DEATHLOK, this is also Rich Buckler's finest hour! His work, often considered derivative, is very original and in fact influential here. And the other artist's ain't bad either!

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  2. This is great stuff! I'm trying to get all the originals, but it might be easier for now to get this so I can read the whole story. Too bad they had to split the saga up. Well, they want to get you to buy two books, right?

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  3. I loved (and love) these stories... but I feel about them the way I do about much of McGregor's work... they're terribly over-written, with captions slathering purple prose onto panels that already portrayed the action fine on their own.

    But even with that small flaw, these are great comics that are well worth owning. I'm glad Marvel has collected them.

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  4. Steven - Couldn't agree more on Buckler. His own style was his best as good as his Kirby and Buscema swipes could be. The early issues of this series are powerful. But he drew less of it than I remembered.

    Dave - Panther's Rage is intact, and to be fair, they've jammed a lot of material into this package.

    Steve - McGregor's writing was "lush", but it was a different note at a time when comics needed distinctive notes. Whatever the case it works, but I do think on later things when he tried to pull the same trick it was less effective.

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  5. I have this on order. I have only read Kirby's Panther but as a big fan of McGregor's work on Killraven I am really looking forward to it. Distribution in the UK in the seventies was poor at best so although I managed to put together a run on Amazing Adventures I never even saw Jungle Action. I love Essentials!

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