Three great action pages from Jack’s last issue of Black Panther# 12 (Nov 1978). Pgs. 9, 10, and 16 from the original publication. Inks by Mike Royer.
It still amazes me that the pages for these books are turning yellow. It seems like yesterday when I bought comics from this era, but that was over 30 years ago!
You can see a lot of Jack’s famous storytelling strategies at work in this artwork. On page 9 (the first page above), I like the undulating shadows under the characters walking through the walls in panel 1. Also note the crazy light source for that character all the way to the right in panel 1. You can see the “Kirby eyes” close-up in panel 3.
On page 10, panel 2, the Panther delivers a crushing blow sending the bad guys flying in all directions.
Page 16, panel 1 starts off with the great low angle shot. Panel 3, a pure impact shot. Panel 5, the Panther on the move, leaving plenty of Kirby debris and Kirby tech in his wake.
I didn’t buy Black Panther off the stands in the 1970s (mainly because I don’t ever recall seeing it at the local 7-11), and I still haven’t had the time to read the series, but these examples, to me, rank right up there with some of Jack’s best action sequences. Kirby was remarkably consistent throughout his whole career — there were rarely any pure “filler” pages in his books where there wasn’t something visually dynamic to feast your eyes upon. I’ve seen some of Kirby’s critics say at this point in his career maybe Jack was getting lazy or cutting corners, but even though this book came at the very end of Jack’s career in comics (except for his brief return to Pacific in the early 80s) you can see Jack clearly is still at the top of his game.
Thanks to Kenn Thomas for pointing out: “the first panel has some characters walking through walls, something I remember Kirby doing well in an issue of Chamber of Darkness.” Kenn adds, “Kirby could have drawn an incredible version of the Philadelphia Experiment, where crewmen from the USS Etheridge supposedly passed through walls.” Also thanks to Henry Kujawa for providing this scan from Chamber of Darkness # 5 (June 1970), from the story “And Fear Shall Follow.” Inks credited to Verpoorten.
Henry also added, “with all the speculation about how much Jack tossed around ideas for others to use (Don Heck on IRON MAN and AVENGERS, Gene Colan on CAPTAIN MARVEL), is it possible that Jack was the one who suggested that the NEW, ANDROID version of THE VISION should be able to WALK THRU WALLS?”
Here’s a slabbed copy of Avengers # 156 (Feb 1977). Note the Vision coming out through the wall in the top right-hand corner of the image.