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Top Five Most Iconic Black Panther Covers

Here are my picks for the top five most iconic covers featuring Black Panther (with iconic being determined by what covers are most established and most recognized when it comes to Black Panther, with a preference towards covers that are homaged a lot). This is not a BEST cover list and due to the very nature of icons, very few (if any) recent covers will be on the list. A notable exception to the rules is that I don’t count covers from a character’s first appearance (which isn’t applicable to all characters, of course, just those who appeared on the cover of the comic they debuted in), as those tend to be automatically iconic so they’re boring. Here‘s a list of all characters featured so far.


First off, while I’m exempting first appearance covers from the countdown, it’s only fair, I suppose, to share them here before the countdown begins, so here is the first cover appearance of Black Panther from his first appearance, Fantastic Four #52…

Artist: Jack Kirby


Artist: John Buscema

It’s not even that great of a cover by Buscema, but it’s the first time the Panther had the sole lead on a comic book cover, and getting a solo cover on the Avengers was no easy task at the time – heck, Hawkeye never had a solo cover at this point (except as Goliath)!

The three covers that barely missed #5 would be Kirby’s Tales of Suspense cover with Panther versus Cap, an Al Milgrom Marvel Premiere cover (where we learn that the Black Panther is “Marvel’s #1 Black Hero!”) and a cool Barry Windsor-Smith Daredevil cover.


Artist: Sal Velluto

With the marriage between Black Panther and Storm, this issue from Christopher Priest’s Panther run takes on a lot more notability, and Marvel recognized as much when they re-released a group of Panther/Storm stories and this was the cover they chose for the reprints.


Artist: Rich Buckler

The first cover of Panther’s first solo book.


Artist: Mark Texeira

The first cover of the Christopher Priest Black Panther run, which is probably the most iconic Panther run so far. And this cover, in particular, was notable (and homaged and parodied in Quantum and Woody).


Artist: John Buscema

Besides Fantastic Four #52, the only other really “famous” Black Panther cover.


All of the muscles on Panther’s back in that Velluto cover are terrifying. In the “MONSTER!” kinda way.

The only one I guessed was the Tex cover from the Priest debut (and a good choice it is, too).

But not many others popped to mind. I guess these choices are okay.

I’m surprised there’s nothing from the Jack Kirby series, although again, I can’t think of a cover that would be suitable (even the first issue was more goofy than iconic).

One cover that i think is on its way to being iconic in a few years is the cover of the first issue of his new series by JR JR. The one with the glaring eyes.


Probably still too new to make this list though I guess

I think you should really reconsider your fourth choice (Black Panther #26). Those muscles are freakish. Just like Adam Jones said. Not a very good cover in my opinion. Many other choices that would be better than that one in my opinion. We need a poll or something.

I don’t think the JRJR cover is at all too recent. They have other covers from the more recent series here. Skipping it for the other two seems wrong.

Kirby’s Tales of Suspense cover with Panther versus Cap, is definitely more iconic than #4

I’ve got to concur that the cover with Storm is really disturbing. I’m not familiar with any of these besides #5. I thought for sure a Kirby series cover would have been one or one of the Marvel Premiere ones.

My main concern was that you might not include a “Panther’s Rage” cover.

You were, of course, too perspicacious to do so.

My soul is rested.

There needs to be at least one Kirby cover here. That series had some of Kirby’s best work EVER, and his cover to issue 1 was pretty stunning.

To be honest I wish the Black Panther versus The Klan cover was present.


Re:Avengers #87, Marvel called it “the origin of T’Challa” because they didn’t want people to see “Black Panther” and think they were referencing the Black Panther Party,which was very active around that time.

I agree with you, that’s a cover that popped to mind right away when I saw this thread.

On the cover with Storm…did they really reprint with a misspelling of seduction?

Yep, that T’Challa & Storm cover was almost bad in a Rob Liefield way. I half-expected to see man-boobs on Panther and, if the “shot” were a little farther way, Storm’s pelvis attached to her spine at a 90-degree angle.

Wasn’t the Black Panter Party well established when T’Challa debuted in FF?

Wasn’t the Black Panter Party well established when T’Challa debuted in FF?

Nope, they formed a few months after T’Challa debuted.

OT: Any chance we’ll see the top 5 John Constantine covers? I realize there aren’t many days of Sept left, so….

Great series, all the same.

It’s a few years too early for when that book was published but I really wish that Avengers #62 cover read “BLACK PANTHER… WHITE PANTHER!”

I’ve seen Coffy too many times. Or had too much coffee. Either way.

“Seducion?” Maybe they went to the Michael Golden School of Spelling.

I like the Black Panther/ Storm cover. Not because of the anatomy or Storm’s ugly costume, or the fact that she’s about to kiss him on the mask. When I saw that cover on the rack, I really wanted to read the story. The central image is very effectivce, even if the details were wonky. I had read the Marvel Team-Up story pairing T’Challa & Ororo, and had always wanted to read a follow-up. I had been enjoying Priest’s BP run. That cover promised a good story.

The recent Panther/ Storm marriage is fine, I guess, but I kind of like them better as former lovers that are now trusted friends.

Another reason why the Romita cover may be iconic despite being recent…BET has used the image for all its advertising and promotional materials for the upcoming Black Panther animated series:


The image has been everywhere in its promotional materials, and when you do a Google Image Search for “Black Panther BET” or “Black Panther Animated” it pops up like crazy.

Why was the Klan written with the KISS font on that BP cover?

>>Wasn’t the Black Panter Party well established when T’Challa debuted in FF?

>>Nope, they formed a few months after T’Challa debuted.

Was this covered awhile back as a Comic Book Legend? Can’t remember.

Anyway, it depends — the Panthers of Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, etc. definitely came along after T’Challa’s first appearance. The black panther as a civil rights emblem was first used by the Lowndes County Freedom Party in Alabama (one county over from where I’m typing this) sometime in ’65, though … which would’ve been before FF #52 circa the spring of ’66.

I seem to remember the black panther being the symbol of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964. It was in ‘Eyes On The Prize II’, but it’s been years since I’ve seen it. Anyway, they tried to send their own delegation to the Democratic convention, so I know it had to be ’64.

I think the JR jr one would be pretty iconic too. One of the Velluto covers I liked on the Priest run is kind of bittersweet because it came out when they new the title was coming to and end, and that was the cover of BP #49.


Since September is c oming to a close, will we see some Doctor Doom covers Brian ? You’ve had all the other major villains.

Does that explain why that image was used vice the Panther-Storm wedding issue?

Good choices overall. I don’t see any iconic covers from Kirby’s run on BLACK PANTHER. I might go with the recent JR JR #1 over cover #3 or #5. Or this cover:


Is this series only running for September? I wish it were ongoing. I’m really enjoying it.

That Christoper Priest run of Black Panther has got to be one of my favourite all time comic book series (well, until they got rid of T’Challa and brought in the cop…I sort of lost interest at that point). Is he writing anything else these days? According to Wikipedia he seems to have dropped off the map in mid 2005. Seeing the words Priest / Bright on the cover of a book is enough to get me to pick up anything for at least an issue.

Where the hell is the Kirby cover with the frog?


There we go. Come on! It should at least be an honorable mention. I had that comic on my wall as a kid.

Wow, those are some ugly covers.

@Brian Cronin – Actually, the name ‘Black Panther Party’ and the use of the black panther as a popular, well recognized radical image in the civil rights movement began a year before the debut of T’Challa – in 1965 with the Lowndes County Freedom Organization…wait, I was going to write up a whole bit on it but you covered it in a comics legend (http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/11/27/comic-book-legends-revealed-183/)!

Anyway…I always doubted Stan Lee when he said that T’Challa and the Black Panther Party / LCFO have absolutely no relationship. Even if Stan just happened to read about the LCFO / Stokely Carmichael and forgot where he got the name / image from …its too hard to believe that Marvel would introduce its first Black superhero during the height of the civil rights movement using a popular civil rights name / image and its all just a crazy coincidence…

I would’ve gone with Kirby’s #1 and the JR JR cover instead of the Veluta and Buckler covers.

“Where the hell is the Kirby cover with the frog?”

Yeah, when I saw the title of this post, I was certain it would be number one.

Can we just do a year of these iconic covers? I am sad that September is almost over!

I was sure AVENGERS #87 would be no. 1. For once I was right!

I’d say JR JR #1, JUNGLE ACTION #23, and Kirby #1 are the most iconic covers not on this list. That JUNGLE ACTION #6 was a “first” doesn’t make it iconic. Same with AVENGERS #62.

even though kirby cover had to be cut due to the rules. it is still one good one and the other ones also are worthy of the character though a couple of them have him looking slim and then like his suit is giving him more a figure. and that outfit on storm is bad

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 25, 2009 at 9:56 pm

One thing this series does for me, at least, is send me back to the Deluxe Edition Marvel Handbooks, the ones that consistently* used art from the original stories, to see what those guys thought of as “iconic” images of the characters circa 1986-87.** It’s often an interesting bit of contrast. (At least one of the main images for a character is actually clip art, where most were newly-drawn: Kraven the Hunter is straight off the John Romita, Sr. cover of ASM #47, which is especially odd as all the “action shot” panels selected are Steve Ditko art.)

* The ’89 Update starte out with all-new art, started having iconic panels and covers redrawn by the profile artists halfway through, and by the last few issues went back to using panels from old comics mixed with all-new “action shot” art.

** It’s also a trip to see that Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld were tested out by having them draw boring on-model shots in the later issues of the Deluxe OHOTMU.

The Panther is one of my favorite Marvel heroes ever, but I have to admit that I can’t think of one cover that is truly iconic to me. The McGregor, Kirby, and Priest runs are real gems, but I also liked the oft-delayed mini-series that Peter Gillis and Denys Cowan turned out in ’88 or so.

That cover with Storm is just…ugly. Then again, the whole BP/Storm marriage storyline is pretty lame to begin with.

I don’t know, the Priest run is a major and highly significant one for the character, and you can certainly argue that it did more with the character than all previous runs combined, but I don’t think there’s a truly iconic cover in the bunch, especially as represented here by the ugly and the generic, respectively.
Also, it’s weird, but as a total grew-up-on-70s-Marvel kid, I’ve got to say that somehow you’ve managed to dig up the one cover from the Jungle Action run that I just don’t recognize at all. Pretty iconic.
And, yeah, the total absence of anything from the Kirby run is a pretty glaring omission.

C’mon, how could they leave out this one — a classic:


Yeesh! That Valletto cover would have put me off… almost out-“Bisley”ing Bisley… Badly…

Panther is having some kind of Warp spasm that’s sucking Storm’s lips off her face!!!

Surely the Panther in the grass from the cover of the last series is pretty “iconic”??

Agree about the Romita #1 cover. It evokes Africa in a way that none of those above do (far more so than a couple of generic trees, a leopard and a reference to “the Wakandas” anyway). T’Challa’s Africanness is a pretty key element of the character, imo, and Romita’s cover captures that.

Agree about the Romita #1 cover. It evokes Africa in a way that none of those above do. T’Challa’s Africanness is a pretty key element of the character, imo, and Romita’s cover captures that far more than a couple of generic trees, a leopard and a reference to “the Wakandas”.

Reginald Hudlin

October 1, 2009 at 1:00 am

Two omissions really stun me. The Cap Vs. the Panther cover from TALES OF SUSPENSE was a classic. Folks here may too young to appreciate the impact that art had back then, but it is memorable to this day.

I’ve been forunate to have a lot of great covers on my run, but I have to join the other posters on this thread and say you cannot exclude John Romita’s Jr’s cover for BLACK PANTHER #1.

What Mr.Hudlin said.
It’s almost as if he knows more than a thing or two about the Black Panther.
Don’t know why but whenever i see Djimon Honsou onscreen, i can’t help but think “Boy, this guy would be perfect for a Black Planther movie. Absolutely perfect.”

wont argue about the velluto cvr, I thought “Hulk” in a bad way.
But I really do like the Texeira Cover.

I’m with Reggie on the Cap vs Panther cover. That and the first FF cover are favorites. And the first cover of Who is the Black Panther. Powerful.

Here’s possibly my favorite cover from the Priest/Velluto/Almond era. It shows that the Panther easily stands along side of other powerful monarchs of the Marvel Universe, like Dr. Doom and Namor:


I got this link from the Hudlin forum and I was going to post it at my personal website (http://www.almondink.com) but the ink artists are not represented here in the cover credits so I guess not. Thumbs down, CBR.

Neck muscles? Neck muscles are scary. How much did Panther have to work out from “old” Panther to new, shiny Panther? It looks like one of those “bully kicked sand in my face” ads!

Jungle action #6 wasn’t even his first. The first was Jungle action #5, and clearly was iconic. http://www.comics.org/issue/26440/cover/4/

Um actually Jungle Action #6 is the 1st solo ongoing due to the fact that #5 is a reprint of an Avengers issue.

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