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"Upgrading" and beyond: Priest’s Black Panther


black_panther_old_and_newOne key comic series for me during college was Priest‘s Black Panther. I’d first tried the series because of its part in the launch of Marvel Knights in Fall 1998, and kept up with it for a few issues. I was nearly ready to let it go–and posted something about that on an old usenet forum–and was convinced to try a couple more issues. The way I remember it, the very next issue was “that” one with the big revelation about why T’Challa actually joined with the Avengers…and I stayed with the series through the end of its run and even followed the short-lived The Crew that followed it.

While I have the entire series in single issues, I remember being thrilled to find the series in paperback (though I don’t remember these early volumes being QUITE so early–2001 based on the indicia). And I was QUITE disappointed when nothing else got collected beyond the first 12 issues, and when this series was basically ignored and “forgotten” for everything that’s come since.

black_panther_book_stack

black_panther_one_volume_thicker_than_two_oldNow, in one single volume, we get 17 issues…five more than the previous two volumes combined. Which really makes this quite an “upgrade.” The two prior volumes collected 5 issues and 7 issues each. Though my photo doesn’t show it very effectively, the new volume IS thicker than the previous two, even with the extra set of covers. The old volumes are also noticeably of their time-period, as they’re from when Marvel tried to save money by shaving 1/8 inch black_panther_new_taller_than_both_oldoff the height of their publications to use less paper or something to that general effect.

This new volume also stands out as being another where after all those years, Marvel switched to a red box with white text for their logo instead of the red text on white box.

While I was left hanging with only the first twelve issues collected, with 17 issues or so per volume, three volumes would get us through the first 50 issues or so, and a fourth would be able to include The Crew as an extension of this series.

I’m definitely hoping the cover/title of this edition holds true: Black Panther: The Complete Collection by Christopher Priest.

Though an Omnibus or other hardcover series of collections would be preferred…I’ll gladly take this over nothing, and it sure beats the skinny little 6ish-issue collections.

black_panther_old_prices

Despite the decade or so waiting, the price of this new volume is surprisingly well in-line (if not better value) than the originals. $15 and $17 got me 12 issues for $32; another $3 adds five more issues (the same quantity as the first $15!). Of course, I don’t recall what I paid for these originals, whether it was full cover price or a discount; given I’d’ve sworn I got them during grad school as they came out, but they seem significantly older.

black_panther_new_price

And of course, I paid significantly less than cover price by pre-ordering this from Amazon this time around.

black_panther_new_book_back_text

I doubt I’d care whatsoever about the Black Panther character if it wasn’t for this series. So while I’m shying away from Marvel‘s print products lately…stuff like this gets through on the nostalgia factor.

And being able to have the contents of two books in one with even more content, I’m actually glad to “upgrade” to have–hopefully–the entire series in nice-looking paperbacks that actually look like they go together, on the shelf…and AS a series, having numbering. Perhaps I’m odd, but I prefer the numbers, as it makes it more obvious this isn’t just a single contained story or volume…and the publisher has more “confidence” in it to give a number rather than just one skinny volume at a time with no apparent intent to go beyond the current.

Still…a  Black Panther by Priest omnibus would be quite a volume–even as two volumes–to sit on a shelf with the Classic Quantum and Woody volume.

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