Staff Picks – Week of 21/02/2018

Black Panther Annual
Priest & Mike Perkins / Don McGregor & Daniel Acuña / Reggie Hudlin & Ken Lashley
Marvel Comics

Adam says: You’ve seen the latest Marvel Studios flick, right? Still hard to believe it’s a Marvel film some days actually…

Well, the wonderful “Black Panther” movie is, of course, based on some comics. And not just in the Panther’s origins by Kirby and Lee. The film cribs some design notes from Brian Stelfreeze’s work with Ta-Nehisi Coates in T’Challa’s current series, it borrows concepts that originate from Christopher Priest’s landmark run with the character beginning in the late ’90s, and the incredible Shuri comes from Reggie Hudlin & John Romita, Jr.’s work in the mid-2000s. The film’s broader narrative though, the story of Wakanda and Erik Killmonger – the story is most directly inspired by a pioneering story arc (Marvel Comics’s first multi-part story arc, as it happens) entitled “Panther’s Rage” by Don McGregor, Rich Buckler and Billy Graham. It’s currently available as one hefty ‘Epic Collection’ volume, and it is quite simply unparalleled.

This one-shot annual then, released to co-incide with the blockbuster film’s devastating success sees Priest, McGregor and Hudlin all return to weave short stories of the Black Panther. Each of these three features is distinctive in mood, tone and artistic style. Each is decidedly great. “Panther’s Heart” by McGregor & Acuña, however, is a stunning stand-out. Kinda obviously.

Without either of his original artist collaborators by his side, McGregor puts together a moving story that reflects on the original “Panther’s Rage” all these years later, as well as the passage of time itself and rather poignantly, human frailty. Almost implausibly, because of the sheer magic in the original artistry by Buckler and Graham, Acuña steps forth and deliver layouts which pay true homage to those artists and in so doing, turns in some of his finest pages to date. And while the creative layouts recall the Wakanda of the ’70s, the choice of colour palette plants us firmly in modern-day Wakanda as principally designed by Brian Stelfreeze. Phenomenal.

“Panther’s Heart” by McGregor & Acuña is a practically perfect strip in a great collection of three, celebrating the legacy and long-awaited success of one of Marvel’s greatest characters.

They Say Blue
Jillian Tamaki
Abrams Books for Young Readers

Will says: A new release by award-winning Jillian Tamaki hit the shelves this week! It’s her first picture book aimed for young readers. Finally, a book that appeals to my 5 year old brain! A little girl explores the colours of the world around her. Jillian’s stunningly radiant artwork ignites the fire of your imagination and will warm your heart. This is a book I will recommend to any parent looking for their child’s first read.

The end of the world
Ed Stockham

Camila says: It’s always great to be reminded of all the amazing and different ways in which creators can push comics as a medium.

Ed Stockhan‘s interactive mini-comic The end of the world, a choose-your-own-adventure comic packed into a paper fortune teller, does just that. It is a really lovely and creative use of the medium that is super fun to read (and play!), and a great addition to any indie comics collection.

Multiple Warheads: Ghost Throne
Brandon Graham

Karl says: Concluding the tale that had been running in that much missed ” Island ” anthology, Brandon Graham ties the loose strands that make up this latest series of the adventures of the wolf and the girl known as Sex.

As always, the outlandish creatures and all their paraphernalia that exist in the extraordinary world in which ” Warheads ” is set are a joy to spend time with, the sentient car with legs ( says “VRR” a lot ), butts with wings etc. Brandon Graham’s hyper stylised storytelling and indeed style also never fails to please. Page layouts and panel arrangements are really not like any other comics. The colour palette he uses is also very pleasing – all pastels with occasional warm reds.

As I have said before, I like it when series end instead of meandering from good to not so good and the bad bits. This arc finished neatly and this one shot finale is printed at that slightly larger format that Island itself was, which leads me to wonder – will the collection be in this format too?