Matt Kamen Profile picture
Feb 18, 2018 20 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
OK, we need to talk about why this is nonsense, and why it matters - and it's far more important than 'nerds being wrong on the internet':

#BlackPanther #Comics #ComicsHistory #FakeNews
That image is a tweet that went viral last week, spurred by the movie's success. I first saw it posted by @ fatherdog, but I don't know if that's where it originated and it's since been deleted. However, the issue is that it racked up over 4000 retweets - and is completely false.
Here are the facts:
-Yes, Jack Kirby created Black Panther, in the pages of Fantastic Four#52-54 in 1966
-But. Black Panther's first solo stories were published in Jungle Action, from 1973
-That series was written by Don McGregor, with art by Rich Bucklin & Billy Graham
More facts:
-Jungle Action, incidentally, introduced #Killmonger
-The comic was, at different points, edited by Roy Thomas and Marv Wolfman
-'The Panther vs the Klan' was a storyline, by McGregor and Graham, beginning in #19
-Jungle Action #21 featured this still-shocking cover:
More facts:
-Kirby was NOT INVOLVED in this storyline whatsoever.
-If anything, Kirby's return to Marvel - after years at DC, crafting the Fourth World and introducing characters like Mister Miracle, Darkseid, and Kamandi - actually lead to the early end of McGregor's run.
See, Jungle Action ended at #24, cover dated November 1976, with a truncated story where T'Challa is still investigating a Klan conspiracy. It wouldn't be resolved until Marvel Premiere #51-53 in 1980, written by Ed Hannigan.
The reason McGregor's run was cut short was Kirby's impending run on the self-titled Black Panther, which was cover dated January 1977. Marvel wanted to make a big push for the return of 'The King', and gave him more or less free reign.
Kirby wrote, drew & edited his Black Panther run. It's one of the purest examples of creator freedom in superhero comics. In its own right, it was a fantastic arc, packed with the big, weird ideas & trippy visuals Kirby was known for.
But in the 12 issues of Black Panther he produced, Kirby didn't address the Klan, or much of social politics, at all. Kirby certainly wasn't told to add anything, let alone more white people "by his editors", because he was his own editor on Black Panther!
Now, why is this important? As I said, it's more than 'nerds being wrong on the internet'. There are a few reasons it matters, ranging from comics history to media literacy.
On a comics history level, that viral tweet erases the incredibly progressive work McGregor & Graham were doing, and credits it instead to a creator more people have heard of. The phrasing is more to lionise Kirby too, rather than anything particularly relevant to Black Panther.
On a media literacy level, it should be self evident why it's a problem - over 4000 retweets, with barely anyone checking if its true. Some versions of the tweet were even accompanied by the cover of Jungle Action #19, by Graham - an artist whose style is nothing like Kirby's!
The frenzy to unthinkingly retweet (to seem super-woke? To get on the Panther hype train? To add a comment and hope to go viral themselves?) is a near-perfect example of the old saying "a lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on".
But most importantly, I think, it shows that well-meaning people seeking to share something that, on the surface, seems positive, can be just as easily manipulated by lies, false statements, and events that are easily provably false.
If people jump on the bandwagon for something as ultimately harmless as this, how much thought do you think is given to stuff that's far more emotive or relevant?
How badly do you think social media, and the public mood it carries, can be manipulated by those acting deliberately to misinform? Look at how widely it's almost accidentally spread fake messages here, with the myth of Kirby and the Klan.
What's worse is, unless lightning strikes with this thread, a tiny fraction will see the truth compared to the thousands who saw the original tweet, or subtweeted it, or shared it on Facebook or other platforms. Think of that, and then think of how widely propaganda spreads.
Anyway, if you've read this far, have a couple of gorgeous pages from McGregor's Jungle Action run as a reward. The first, by Rich Buckler, was in #8, the second, by Billy Graham, was in #20.

And think before you retweet!
Clarification, courtesy of @KurtBusiek - this cover is actually by Gil Kane & Dan Adkins. Billy Graham is the interior pencil artist, Bob McLeod was inker, and P. Goldberg (I think that's Petra Goldberg, from the time) was colourist. Unfortunately, cover artists weren't credited!
And the cover artists here are Rich Buckler & John Romita. Again, no credits in the interior issue, at least not on the digital editions. Thanks once more to @KurtBusiek for clarification!

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More from @MattKamen

Feb 26, 2018
Watching this @jeremycorbyn Brexit speech live ( - all hot air. "Put people's living standards first" is impossible if Labour continues to back Brexit first. It will hammer the economy in every conceivable sense.
Commitment to supporting the Irish border/FTA - impossible without remaining in Single Market and Customs Union.
"We are an internationalist party" - which is why we're backing a mistaken move to cut ourselves off from our closest neighbours.
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