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.)

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