Classic Comic Cover Corner – Fantastic Four #52

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Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling pop culture commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Fantastic Four #52 – July, 1966

Cover art by Jack Kirby

Fantastic Four #52 – July, 1966
Fantastic Four #52 – July, 1966
The first full trailer for Captain America: Civil War, hit the street last week and in-between its Cap versus Iron Man awesomeness we got a brief look at the king of Wakanda, the Black Panther. But even though the Marvel cinematic universe seems to have the Panther poised to become a part of the Avengers, he actually first appeared in Marvel Comics’ original team book, the Fantastic Four.

In Fantastic Four #52, a mysterious African chieftain called the Black Panther lures the FF to the scientifically advanced country of Wakanda, where he springs traps on the unsuspecting do-gooders and nearly defeats them. In fact, it’s the Human Torch’s Native American and non-super-powered friend, Wyatt Wingfoot (who has conveniently come along on the trip) who saves the day.

Fantastic Four #52 – July, 1966
Fantastic Four #52 – July, 1966
In perfect silver-age comic logic, the Wakandan Chief only tricked the Fantastic Four into fighting him in order to test his readiness for going up against his true foe, the “Master of Sound,” Klaw! But none of this would be explained until FF #53, which tells the origin of the Black Panther and Klaw (who, you might remember, made an appearance in the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.)

Black Panther in Captain America: Civil WarThe Black Panther’s real name, T’Challa, was not used in Fantastic Four #52 nor #53 (where his identity is revealed), he was merely known as the son of T‘Chaka (his father.) Issue #53 is also where we first learn about that rare substance called “Vibranium.”

The Black Panther character coincidentally came into being in the same year as the Black Panther activist organization, but one had nothing to do with the other. In fact, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created their character months before the BPP took the moniker.

While it was great to see T’Challa in action in the Civil War trailer, Marvel is still holding out on showing us the guy everyone is anxiously waiting to see, Spider-Man. Nevertheless, the preview rocks and the next Cap movie is already looking like another Marvel masterpiece.

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Bob Leeper
Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.