365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

T-shirt #193 - The Far Side

T-shirt #193 - The Far Side

MR. T-SHIRT BLOGGER'S OFFICIAL HIATUS TEXT - Mr. T-shirt Blogger (that's me) is on vacation in Hawaii until October 9th. Blog posts may be simple and brief during this time, or there may be many Hawaii pictures and updates. No promises. It's vacation.

When My wife an I got married four years ago (as of 10/3), we never took a honeymoon. With our difficult work schedules, there has never been a good time to schedule a trip. Given recent life events, we threw out caution and welcomed chaos and uncertainty. Carpe Diem! So, off we go (or by the time you read this, there we are).

Today's shirt - I think today's shirt was a gift. I cannot remember from whom. Isn't that terrible? It's the Far Side, of course. One of the great comic strips of all time, though I am not sure I put it in my top ten when I did my Calvin and Hobbes entry. If I update this entry, I may check this fact. If there's nothing here, then I am enjoying my vacation.

- chris tower - for 1309.30 - pre-written and scheduled.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

T-shirt #192 - Change & The Nature Center

T-shirt #192 - Change & The Nature Center

MR. T-SHIRT BLOGGER'S OFFICIAL HIATUS TEXT - Mr. T-shirt Blogger (that's me) is on vacation in Hawaii until October 9th. Blog posts may be simple and brief during this time, or there may be many Hawaii pictures and updates. No promises. It's vacation.

When My wife an I got married four years ago (as of 10/3), we never took a honeymoon. With our difficult work schedules, there has never been a good time to schedule a trip. Given recent life events, we threw out caution and welcomed chaos and uncertainty. Carpe Diem! So, off we go (or by the time you read this, there we are).

Today's shirt - I believe my father gave me this shirt after our family made a substantial donation to the Nature Center. My dad served on the board of directors (and I think was chairman for a time) for a few years.

- chris tower - for 1309.29 - pre-written and scheduled.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

T-shirt #191 - Centrals Society

T-shirt #191 - Centrals Society

Greetings. I am leaving on a jet plane for Hawaii later today.

The next ten blog posts may all be "hiatus" posts.

I am auto-scheduling at least three days of posts this morning.

I may update from Hawaii, and then, I may not.

I suspect that I will have many pictures, and time permitting, I suspect that there will be updates. But I promise nothing. It may all have to wait until I get back.

This shirt is hardly a unique design for which I cannot take complete credit. But it was my idea to create a shirt like this one (themed on so many other shirts of this style) for our Centrals tournaments and sell them at our 2000 tournament.


- chris tower - 1309.28 - 6:04

Friday, September 27, 2013

T-shirt #190 - Stereolab Green

T-shirt #190 - Stereolab Green

I leave for Hawaii in 24 hours. I will be posting easily described shirts and stock "hiatus vacation" text. However, I may update during the trip. I am not taking any of the shirts I am featuring so updates will not match the featured shirts. I am also going to experiment with the scheduled publishing tool. All of which is not the best way to start a blog entry, but it's what is foremost in my mind.

Today's shirt features Stereolab again. I featured the band originally in T-shirt #145. I actually did some blog recap in that post, but I also did a good job with describing Stereolab and my one time seeing them live in concert. Today, as my follow up, a few random topics (one of which is more blog recaps) and a couple music videos to enjoy more Stereolab music from my playlist of favorites.


Comic books continue to be the number one subject of the blog by category with 58 entries. Not counting the categories I created of shirts by color (of which white still leads followed by black and grey), the second most common category is sports (39). The other top categories include just logos (34), TV and movies (31), gifts (29), music (28), posts with music videos (27), DC comics (25), science fiction (23), and finally ultimate (23) and KUDL (22).

I have logged 15 weeks of the Weekly Comics Stack feature. I analyzed and broke down the new t-shirts (17) category in T-shirt #185.

DC comics (25) continues to beat out Marvel Comics (13) in shirts, leaving 20 shirts that are neither DC or Marvel related (which is also beating out Marvel). These figured surprise me and I may have to examine them in the next blog recap.


I may render a full review of  this show in the future. I asked Liesel to watch it with me, and she did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did. I was surprised to see Cobie Smulders reprising her role as Maria Hill, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Will she be a regular? When is the time an actor performed on two primetime network shows at the same time. There were many moments that made me smile. I was not blown away, but I was not disappointed either. I enjoyed the show very much, and I am waiting for the next episode (which I am not likely to see until I get back from Hawaii).


I am posting two links here. Less than a half hour after the end of the MARVEL AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC announced its own super-hero themed and related show: Gotham. If only this show were a straight up adaptation of the excellent Gotham Central comic book, by Brubaker and Lark published from 2003-2006, about the Gotham City PD. But it will be a show about the early years of Jim Gordon, who becomes Police Commissioner, in the days before Batman. In an uncharacteristic mode, ABC approved the show straight through to the schedule without the creators needing to create a pilot and winning a slot.

It's a very exciting time to be a comic book fan. And that's a funny thing to share because it makes me think of the next comic book movie, about which I am very excited, Thor 2: Dark World. I shared the promo for Thor 2: Dark World in T-shirt #145, in which I wrote about Stereolab. How is that for a connection.

Gotham TV show - yahoo

Gotham - Damn Good Coffee and Hot update


I wanted to share "The Stars Our Destination" from Stereolab's Mars Audiac Quartet, but there is no You Tube video. In any case, for your listening (and maybe a little viewing in some cases) pleasure, four good ones and Stereolab favorites.

And then, off to Hawaii. And so begins the vacation with this soundtrack. I will listen to Stereolab on the volcano on the big island just to make this soundtrack the real thing.

Stereolab- Monstre Sacre

Come and Play in the Milky Night - Stereolab

Stereolab performing Slow Fast Hazel

Stereolab - Prisoner of Mars

- chris tower - 1309.27 - 14:25

Thursday, September 26, 2013

T-shirt #189 - Green Lantern - White

T-shirt #189 - Green Lantern - White

When I originally posted this, I had to cheat because Mr. T-shirt Blog Guy is overwhelmed with work to do before he leaves for Hawaii, before I leave for Hawaii. Wow, first person and third person in the same sentence.

Here's the original text I posted here: This is a cheat again. It is Thursday night and after finishing final grades, I have been caught up in a maelstrom of activity all day as there are many things to do before we fly out to Hawaii on Saturday. I will finish as much of this as I can tonight and the rest tomorrow morning. Of course, after I update this entry tomorrow, "finish" it, I may leave this text here for historical accuracy. Meanwhile, if you have stumbled upon this page before I spam out social media, then you get to again see what  a blog in progress looks like as I draft and organize. If you are viewing this after I finished, well, there's no way .... okay, no easy way for me to save the blog's progress in stages. Though, maybe... in the future some time. Though I suspect that this kind of blog drafting step-by-step is only the kind of thing that would be interesting to me.

Today's shirt is the Green Lantern shirt from when DC crowned Kyle Rayner as the Green Lantern of Earth. I have another Green Lantern shirt, so this is my short Green Lantern entry. Kyle became Green Lantern in the DC universe in 1994, which was almost twenty years ago, meaning this shirt may be close to 20 years old. I do not wear it often as the collar is stretched out, and it is no longer in the best condition. In the photos, I am showing the White Lantern ring, a giveaway by DC, following the recent Blackest Night and Brightest Day story lines. Those phrases come from the Green Lantern oath, which we first heard from Hal Jordan in the Silver Age reboot of the 1940s Green Lantern.

“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power...
Green Lantern's Light!”
—Hal Jordan / Most Green Lantern Corps

Currently, Hal Jordan has once again resumed his mantle as the primary Green Lantern of Earth. Kyle Rayner serves off world as the "White Lantern."

I do not read all the Green Lantern books. But I avidly follow the main Green Lantern comic.


No official back log this week, though technically the villains books go into the back log. I am just listing the villains books last because they are not "officially" back logged as there may not be any others of the same title in the back log, but I am definitely not keeping up on the few weekly villains books that I am buying.

I read only Ultimate Spider-Man before I dropped off to sleep last night. Ultimate Spider-Man has been consistently one of Marvel's most excellent books. The switch in artists did not change the quality. The art remains human and emotionally raw. As I have claimed before, Bendis is in the best phase of his career, turning in tremendous writing on nearly every book (so far I am not overly impressed with the Guardians of the Galaxy).

In other notes, FF remains relatively high now that it has been rescued from the back log. I bought a variant edition of Wolverine and the X-Men because Fanfare was sold out of non-variant issues. Fanfare only had one copy, this variant, in stock.

Despite loving Saga, I usually stack it lower because I want to savor it. I am not sure why lower in the stack means "savoring" as this is not what it means for each book that is ranked lower.

Because last week was a small week in terms of numbers of books, I did manage to read all the books that came in with the exception of the two villains books from DC. I am completely unimpressed with THUNDER Agents. And as I predicted, I pulled Thor out of the back log. And though Thor #012 was sort of a fill-in, it was a GREAT fill in, more of a transition issue. It was brilliant and possibly the best Thor yet in this run.

Things will get a bit wonky now as I am not trucking any comics with me to Hawaii. So, not only will I not get through this stack before I leave, but I will have even more to read when I get back. Because I will be out of town, there will be no weekly comic feature next week, and I return the day before comics come out, so early blogs upon my return will feature two comics lists.


Ultimate Spider-Man #27
Guardians of the Galaxy #006
Young Avengers #010
Nova #008
Avengers #20
FF #012
Jupiter's Legacy #3
Uncanny Avengers #012
Wolverine and the X-Men #036 - (Battle for the Atom chapter 5)
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #3 of 6
Infinity: Heist #001
Saga #14
Sex Criminals #1
Aquaman: Ocean Master #23.2
Green Lantern: Sinestro: #23.4
Batman: Detective Comics: Man Bat #23.4
Superman: Parasite #23.4

- chris tower - 1309.26 - 13:18

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

T-shirt #188: KUDL Bear

T-shirt #188: KUDL Bear

Featured on today's shirt, you will find our original KUDL bear logo for our Kalamazoo Ultimate Disc League. This is a specialty item as only a very few of these shirts were produced as a bonus gift from a company we used to use for some of our printing. It was the good idea of Hether Frayer and shared as a great kindness. I know of two other shirts that exist, but I am not sure if there are more than three in existence.

Grading Robot continues to bang away at the pellet dispenser. Crunch time is upon me, and so I am actually writing this entry a day ahead in another meager attempt to bank some entries before the day of posting. Then again, crunched as I am, I did not finish the entry the day before and am now finishing it Wednesday morning when I should be working.

Once again, no KUDL content on KUDL day. I have already written about KUDL a lot. I will say that I missed ultimate last week (IE. KUDL) because I was so buried in work. I am equally buried this week, and yet more determined to go as I need the exercise and the social time. Also, I will miss the next one, so I don't want to be absent three in a row. It will depend on where I am with grades. The first big batch of the week, and the final ones for the semester, are due Thursday morning at 9 a.m. So, I will not be going to KUDL, if I don't have enough of those grades completed. So far, early estimates are favorable; I think I can make it. But I have to get back to it, and what I am doing, I am writing this blog entry a day in advance and making phone calls and doing laundry. All important stuff but not helping me make progress on the mountain that is the final grades due in fewer than 48 hours.


MOMENTUM - I addressed the idea of the blog as a huge commitment some in T-shirt #158 - Bone. Somewhere I also discussed the issue of momentum a little bit, but I cannot find it. Yes, the blog has officially exceeded my memory at this point. Or it may be the excessive amounts of whisky in my system at all times. It may also be the lies I tell to attempt to display a particular persona to the world.

My therapist asked me if there has been a shift in momentum in regards to the blog since the cancer surgery and discovery that I am cancer free. Yes, there has been a shift. And no, there has not been a shift. It's like the Schrödinger's Cat Quantum Physics puzzle: sometimes the cat is alive with the unopened bottle of poison, sometimes the poison is opened and the cat is dead, and sometimes it's something else. Okay, I added the something else part. I like third choices. The point is that the results depend on when you look. (If you do not know what I am talking about, or if you want a refresher, check out Schrödinger's Cat or the following video).

Schrödinger's Cat

So, the momentum has shifted, and it has not shifted. After 188 days, I find it difficult some days to generate the content that I think is worth your time in reading, which is why I try to work ahead. But as much as I try to work ahead, I always lose the lead and have to try to pull content out of myself the day of posting, which is not always easy.

You cannot always read huge entries just like I cannot always write them. So it will be like the cat. Sometimes the cat will be dead, the inspiration will not be as intense and exciting, the momentum will be weak; and other days, I will produce something that I am really proud to share and recommend.

And on other days, it will be neither of those and both of those at the same time, a confusing third choice.

Stay Tuned.

And now for something completely different (a movie I did not mention in yesterday's Monty Python post, shame shame).

TIGERS CELEBRATING - The Detroit Tigers clinched a playoff berth last night and did not celebrate. I misread the article at first which claimed that the team would not celebrate "until it won the American Central Title." I read this as "American League Championship." Before I noticed my misreading, I liked the idea of the Tigers not celebrating with the spraying of Champagne and all that until they win the American League, at least, if not the World Series.

The World Series win is the big goal this year, especially after last year's disappointing defeat to a team that will not even be in the playoffs this year. Maybe the Tigers should not celebrate until they win it all.

- chris tower - 1309.25 - 8:21

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

T-shirt #187 - Monty Python's Flying Circus - My Brain Hurts

T-shirt #187 - Monty Python's Flying Circus - My Brain Hurts

I first discovered Monty Python's Flying Circus on a local PBS TV station, which did not come in well, on an old black and white set. I had no idea what I was seeing. It was the strangest thing. This must have been some time in the early 1970s. I had missed the titles, so I did not even know what it was called. But I loved it. It was strange and quirky and British. Living in middle America, I was fascinated and watched without knowing what I was watching.

No one in my school or small world knew what it was either. It was not until I met my friend Steve Curl (see T-shirt #81) that I found someone who had seen it, too, and knew what it was. Though, it is possible that I have forgotten the connections I made over Monty Python prior to meeting Steve with high school friends who may or may not be reading this and will be happy to correct me for historical accuracy.

By the time I started college, I knew Monty Python well and found many, many people who loved it, too. In fact, loving Monty Python seemed to be almost a requirement for admission to Kalamazoo College along with knowing the air velocity of a laden swallow.

Emphasizing this like-mindedness, this shirt was a gift from my best friend and college buddy Tom Meyers, who may love Monty Python more than I do (which is saying something) as he memorized the entire Word Association Football sketch. Though it was not a recent gift, so it does not qualify as a New T-shirt acquired since the blog's inception.

There are many, many subjects worth exploring about Monty Python, and I am not devoting the time and text to all of them at this juncture. There's the brilliant three-sided LP record Matching Tie and Handkerchief; the most ingenious comedy movie ever made: Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Live concerts like Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl and Secret Policeman's Other Ball; and the TV show that started it all Monty Python's Flying Circus, which wisely burned very bright for 45 episodes and stopped production before they ran it into the ground. The Wiki entry for Monty Python's Flying Circus does an excellent job with an overview of the great comedy show, and so, keeping to my short entries, I will leave it at that (and I have one more Monty Python shirt to feature some day anyway).

I am most excited to own all the Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes on DVD. After years of trying to find broadcasts and then recording some, it is nice to be able to watch the show whenever I feel like it.

The shirt calls up the famous Mr. Gumby sketch, which I have shared via video here (see below).

I will include links to two of my most favourite sketches, and possibly the great favourites of many readers: The Cheese Shop and The Dead Parrot. I could try to be all "cool" and "hip" and select lesser known sketches as favourites--after all I am rather fond of the Blancmange from Outer Space that wants to win Wimbeldon--but these are enduring favourites, so there you have it. I am also impressed with the many videos available on You Tube, including interviews with the comedians and writers. I will definitely be exploring for more content before my next Monty Python related post.

I would enjoy hearing from regular, semi-regular, and even occasional readers about your favourite sketches, movie scenes, or songs. After all, I do have that other shirt to feature, and it might be nice to have reader content to share.

Monty Python's Flying Circus - MY BRAIN HURTS!

The Cheese Shop sketch, Monty Python

Monty Python - Dead Parrot

From someone's DEVIANT ART page... brilliant.

- chris tower - 1309.24 - 8:15

Monday, September 23, 2013

T-shirt #186 - Bell's Kalamazoo Brewing Company

T-shirt #186 - Bell's Kalamazoo Brewing Company

Good morning and happy Monday. I toast to you here in this picture as you see me enjoying a Bell's beer, a pale ale from the Kalamazoo Brewing Company. The photo was taken yesterday (Sunday 1309.22) as some friends and I embarked on another Pathfinder (D&D) adventure.

Blog entries will be short for the week, and then I am not sure what will happen. I am in full Grading Robot mode this week as I finish a set of final grades for one school, more than the usual sets for another school, and, really, I should deliver papers to the WMU students as they are stacking up, though that's somewhat negotiable.

I run hard all week leading up to when Liesel and I will fly out to Hawaii on Saturday the 28th, which will be Day 191 of the blog. I am going to give another try to the schedule for publishing the blog as I think I figured it out since my time in the hospital, so entries may appear without posts to Google+, Facebook, or Twitter for as many as twelve days.

So, for this week, I am planning some shorter entries, and then I hope to schedule all my T-shirts for the trip and update if needed. I may take the ten days as a hiatus with pre-selected shirts about which I do not have that much to say. Or I may update from the road. I will wait and see how it goes. Right now, I am packing at least two T-shirts that have yet to be featured, so that I may be able to get some candid Hawaii photos. Whether these shirts will be featured while I am gone or when I get back is one of the things I am trying to decide. And then, of course, there is the strong possibility that I will buy some T-shirts IN HAWAII. Stay tuned.

As for today's shirt, I have enjoyed Bell's beer for many years. I am impressed with the great success the Kalamazoo Brewing Company has enjoyed since its humble formation in the early 1980s.

I leave you today with a bumper sticker I spotted Friday during the day I spent at Kalamazoo College with my best friend Tom, whose son Sam is thinking of going to K-College. Being around people who hold such sentiments dear as well as just being around the sentiment itself, on the car's bumper, is one of the things I love best about Kalamazoo College.

- chris tower - 1309.23 - 7:42

Sunday, September 22, 2013

T-shirt #185 - Black Panther-1978

T-shirt #185 - Black Panther-1978

Happy Autumn people.

Is the Black Panther autumnal?

Is a yellow shirt the color of autumn?

No, definitely not. I associate yellow with Spring, even though many leaves on trees turn yellow in the autumn.

The Marvel Comics character Black Panther is one of the coolest characters in all of comics. More on this subject in a minute.

This is a new shirt since the start of the blog. I bought it via an Internet store for the specific purpose of writing about it on my blog.

If you check my category, so far, I have only 18 new shirts since the start of the blog, which includes one you cannot see yet because it's under production for a future blog entry. So of the 17 shirts featured so far that have been purchased since the beginning of the blog, four of them are KUDL shirts, not really purchased for the sole intention of being featured on the blog. Two were purchased at concerts, which is something I would have done anyway. Two shirts, including the very first shirt, T-shirt #1: Son of Satan, and T-shirt #49: Hawkman were both on order before the blog began, which is how the blog project began when T-shirt #1: Son of Satan arrived at Fanfare. And one was a gift. This leaves me with nine shirts that have been featured so far that were purchased just for the blog.

I know these statistics may be more interesting to me than anyone else, but here's another interesting point to make: I have many newly purchased T-shirts waiting in the wings. Five are stacked in my office awaiting the photo shoots. I have photos with three others that are hanging in my closet. I wore another one (ninth overall) on Friday hoping to take photos and never did. So, if I am truthful, this brings me to a total of twenty-six shirts, twenty-two not counting KUDL, that were purchased so far for the blog. But given that I am featuring T-shirt #185 today, I do not think those purchasing numbers are significant (26 of 185 is about 15%). Granted, it's likely that there has been no other six month period in my life in which I bought or acquired twenty-six T-shirts. But then, I was not writing this blog before.

I originally featured Black Panther in T-shirt #104 along with the Silver Surfer and Daredevil in the image directly below. Promising you readers more on Black Panther and Daredevil in future posts, here's my delivery of some Black Panther content.

I focused the majority of T-shirt #104 on the Silver Surfer.

Black Panther also came up in the incredibly huge Doctor Strange entry that I wrote for T-shirt #119.

In the Doctor Strange entry, I listed my top twenty male superheroes that were not "Flagship" characters. They were not the big and best known characters. Black Panther ranked third on that list just after Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer.

Of those three characters, two of them--Silver Surfer and Black Panther--were created by Jack Kirby. In the photos, you see me posing with various Jack Kirby Black Panther books and the Jack Kirby Collector magazine, featuring Black Panther content.

Jack Kirby invented the Black Panther for issue #52 of the Fantastic Four comic book published in 1966. Interestingly, the naming of the Black Panther, which must have occurred at least a couple of months prior to the July publication date of the comic book preceded the foundation of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary socialist organization, which came in October of 1966. With some minor exceptions, which are not significant enough to detract from the following claim, the Black Panther is the first black hero in comics, certainly the first black hero with any kind of powers in the history of comic books.

I missed the introduction of the Black Panther in Fantastic Four as my first issue of FF was #69. But later, after the Black Panther (whose name is T'Challa) became an Avenger, he became one of my favorite Marvel characters.

The idea of an African king of a fictional nation called Wakanda that was scientifically advanced and bestowed its king with a super powerful panther spirit was very intriguing.

Some of the earliest Panther stuff is the best as seen here in Avengers #87 with cover by John Buscema and a story inside "Look Homeward, Avenger!" written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Sal Buscema published in 1971. This issue elaborates quite effectively on the origin of the Black Panther first told in Fantastic Four #53, which was the second issue of the arc introducing the Black Panther by Lee and Kirby. It was also the first mention of Wakandan Vibranium, the special extraterrestrial ore that gives Wakanda its technological advances. Check out that link, too.

Via the link, there's a map to the likely location of Wakanda. Awesome.

Hold on to your hats and galoshes, kiddos. There's gonna be a lot of art on the blog today. In fact, it's mostly art. Directly below are the title splash page and part of the last page of Fantastic Four #53.

Splash Page Fantastic Four #53
Most of the last page of Fantastic Four #53

Some of my favorite Marvel heroes have nobility, which is what attracts me to them. I probably should revise the top twenty list from T-shirt #119 to include one of the most noble of all: Namor, the Sub-Mariner. I probably did not include him because in many ways he is a Flagship character, especially since he is also one of the oldest Marvel Comics characters (dating back to 1939). I often wondered if the idea for the character's name, Namor, came from reversing "Roman," or if that's simply a coincidence.

On the subject of nobility, Black Panther and Namor are currently in conflict in the comics and one of their conflicts, two kings, two nobles is immortalized in one of the images in today's art gallery.

After debuting in Fantastic Four and being featured featured in Avengers, the popular character found a home in the comic Jungle Action (please forgive Marvel Comics for the potentially insulting title). Don McGregor along with many artists, including one of my favorites, Gil Kane, created what many comic historians consider the first comic book graphic novel from Jungle Action #6-24 (spanning 1973-1976). Though my comic buying was sporadic in those years, I own many of these issues and have since read the entire story, known as "Panther's Rage." The story is considered the first long story conceived as a novel, a two hundred page story of Wakanda ravaged by revolution against its king, T'Challa, the Black Panther.

Following on his success with "Panther's Rage," McGregor wanted to focus a Black Panther story on the Klu Klux Klan. Deemed too controversial, the story ended midway and Jungle Action was canceled.

Jack Kirby, who had been working at DC Comics since leaving Marvel in 1970, launched a wacky, unique, totally wild, and Kirby-esque Black Panther comic book that ran 15 issues from 1977-1979. You see me holding the collected volumes in one of the pictures. At this point in my comic buying, I bought every issue. As I wrote about previously when I wrote about Jack Kirby (1917-1994) in T-shirt #106: Captain America, I was buying all of Jack Kirby's work in this period, including Black Panther, Captain America, Eternals, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Devil Dinosaur, the last in the list is seen in the picture to the above left and is one of the permanent images on the blog page (see upper right corner): "Bonk! Bonk!"

yes, I actually wear the shirts
Me in Detroit on 1309.14
working in the hotel

Kirby's Black Panther is among his most creatively brilliant work in comics like all that 1970s work, especially the late '70s return to Marvel. Kirby started the Panther mid-adventure with no explanation for his association with someone named Mister Little. The socially relevant stories of Don McGregor were gone without a single reference or connection for continuity. The first issue begins as the duo enters the home of someone named Queely, who has just been killed by a mysterious swordsman, whom the Panther battles, over an artifact called King Solomon's Frog. The stories became increasingly more wacky and surreal as the Panther encounters a strange, purple-headed visitor from the future called Hatch-22.

The Kirby stuff from the late 1970s at Marvel was much maligned by the majority of fans at the time. I found it to be brilliant, and I still find it completely unhinged and chimerical. It's wild stuff from one of the greatest geniuses in the history of comic books.

The book Marvel Comics in the 1970s claimed that the Marvel Comics landscape that Kirby had helped to create had moved on without him and called him an "anachronism." Granted, more ground breaking and modern work was being done in other comics of the time, but Kirby's stuff was hardly as abysmal as the writers of that book claim. Now that the Black Panther comics have been collected as well as his other work from that period, the Eternals being the best and some of the best of his career, others can judge his genius in retrospect.

The Black Panther continued without Kirby though for many years only as a guest in other books or as an Avenger. Christopher Priest and Mark Texeira launched a new series (known as volume three) about the character in 1998, which eventually resulted in a new character, Kasper Cole, adopting the mantle of the Black Panther for 13 issues, ending with issue #62 in 2003. Volume four ran from 2005-2008 with John Romita Jr. on the art originally (as seen in some of the images here - directly below) and written by filmmaker Reginald Hudlin. Volume five started in 2009 as T'Challa's sister took on the role of the Black Panther. I would love to review all these stories in detail, but this will have to wait for another shirt (not that I own any at this time) and another blog entry after I re-read those runs.

I will note that one of the smartest moves at Marvel in years was to ret-con T'Challa meeting Ororo Munro (Storm of the X-Men) when they were young and falling in love. The two later rekindled their love and married, with Storm becoming Queen of Wakanda for a time.

John Romita Jr's Black Panther





Marvel's Black Panther Movie Confirmed!


Lots of art images to share today. Probably too many, but I kept finding good stuff on the Internet showcasing T'Challa, the Black Panther.


- chris tower - 1309.22 - 19:31