Three issues into the Ta-Nehisi Coates/Brian Stelfreeze Black Panther and I’m struggling. Coates has a really interesting vision here but his lack of experience in writing comics is showing, I think. Stelfreeze’s art is quite beautiful, but there are a great many panels that are somewhat difficult to read, visually, and panel-to-panel continuity is seriously lacking. Sometimes I look at a whole page and can’t tell why the panels are in the order they are. And in this third issue especially the story seems to advance hardly at all. I’m thinking of bailing out. Anybody else want to encourage me to stick with it?

Text Patterns

July 5, 2016


  1. Alan, I for one encourage you to stick with it at least for the next issue. I agree with all of your points above. Stelfreeze's art and Martin's coloring are highlights, and I find myself returning to individual panels more than once to appreciate subtleties I sense but do not fully appreciate on first viewing. However, like you, I find myself struggling with Coates's narrative pacing. While we sense the end game, it's not yet clear how or when we're going to get there, and the relative lack of compelling (and coherent) action sequences doesn't help matters. What keeps me invested in the story is Coates's vision, the questions he is posing. In many ways it reminds me of your recent Dialogue on Democracy in the American Conservative ( although of course Coates's Panther is a meditation on monarchy. I'm sticking with it because I'm invested in seeing what the new social and political order will be. How will legitimate concerns with justice and traditional wisdom be incorporated within a monarchy that must be maintained for obvious reasons?

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