It’s been said that this splash page featuring the Black Panther for Marvel’s Avengers #58 by John Buscema, inked by George Klein, published in 1968, is one of the earliest occasions Marvel incorporated the story title into the artwork a la Will Eisner‘s “The Spirit”.
It’s also just the second solo Black Panther splash, in any series, the character making his debut just two years earlier in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966), created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The page opened the classic Roy Thomas tale “Even An Android Can Cry” which gave the Avengers (and readers) background information on the Vision, artwork currently up for auction through Heritage Auctions with bidding at present at the $31,000 mark with six days to go.
Back Panther may have dominated the splash, but the cover led with appearances by Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor – the Avengers’ “Big Three”, who Alan Stewart notes series writer Roy Thomas wasn’t allowed to use as regular team members by the fiat of editor Stan Lee, but whom he nevertheless shoehorned into the book every chance he got.
In the story, reprinted in Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 6 (which is a darn sight cheaper than the art board at auction!), the Avengers consider the Vision’s wishes to become an team member, so Captain America, Thor and Iron Man all attack him to test him. The resulting battle sees his successful entrance into the team, but also throws up a number of mysteries involving arch villain Ultron and the Vision’s origins…
It’s certainly one of Black Panther’s appearances that stuck in my mind, although I’m not sure if that’s because of this original publication, or a reprint in an early 1970’s Marvel UK title. (Seeing this in black and white jiggles more faded memory cells than the page in colour, so I suspect the latter!)
• Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 6 (AmazonUK Affiliate Link – using this helps support downthetubes, thanks)
With thanks to Ernesto Guevara for spotting this