With the Black Panther movie approaching the $1-billion gross revenue mark, it’s clear the enthusiasm and appreciation for this movie — and more importantly, what it represents — is likely without end. It’s sets an intimidatingly high bar for the inevitable sequel, but given the intelligence of the story and characters in the first, it’s something Marvel Studios and the creatives who crafted the film can achieve.
The Panther pandemic means the property has remained at the forefront of my mind as of late. Previously, I revisited my review of the first issue of the Priest-helmed Black Panther series from 1998. Now, I’m turning my attention once again to the only Panther-related piece in my collection of original comic art.
This is Page 9 from Black Panther v.3 #30. There’s so much I like about this page. The first is that it’s a page reimagined by Christopher Priest, one of my favorite comics writers. Furthermore, the scene — testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee — includes other iconic Marvel heroes (the Fantastic Four, mainly in flashback). Speaking of the flashback, I like the coloring note in the left margin to differentiate the first panel from the rest on the page. It’s little touches like those — editing and production notes — that offer a glimpse into the creative and printing processes, thereby adding to the appeal of these original boards.
Truth be told, I wasn’t specifically seeking a Panther page when I acquired this board. I’d always wanted to own a page of original Norm Breyfogle art. I fell in his love with his style in the late 1980s when I first glimpsed it on Batman books of the era, and his distinct style has remained a favorite over the years.
Now obviously, those Bat pages are the most sought-after of his work, and getting a page such as that wasn’t really within my budget parameters. However, after winning an auction for an Ultimate Spider-Man board on eBay from Anthony’s Comic Art a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to add onto my order with some offers on other pages in the dealer’s massive inventory. I decided a Breyfogle board would be among the additions to my order, but deciding on which one… that was a task. While there were Batman-related boards sans the Dark Knight available, as well as Anarky and Prime pages, I ultimately settled on this Black Panther page.
Among my reasons for doing so, in addition to those stated above, was the fact Breyfogle pencilled *and* inked this issue, so it’s completely his style. His art suits the agile nature of the Panther, and I love the lithe take on the character. The page also carries Breyfogle’s signature at the bottom. The signature is accompanied by “’08,” likely when he sold it originally, as the issue dates back to 2001.
The only thing this piece of original comic art is lacking is the lettering. The lettering was done digitally, and that’s been the norm for a couple of decades now. But as I noted above, I want to see as many aspects of the process as possible on these boards. Here’s a scan of the printed page, complete with letters and colors:
As you can see, Priest’s script add so much to the visuals. The context of what’s being said in that scene brings even more strength to Breyfogle’s art. The everyman quality of Everett Ross comes out in his dialogue, and that juxtaposes nicely with T’Challa’s imposing and stoic look in the courtroom scenes. It’s one of the reasons I really do prefer vintage boards over more modern ones. It’s no slight to the craft and skill of the comics professionals working in the medium today, but rather a fondness for the old-school methods and the insight they offer into how comics are made.
To see my entire original art collection, visit my gallery at ComicArtFans.com.