Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reading Room ASTONISHING TALES "Doctor Doom: Tentacles of the Tyrant!"

There are some all-but-forgotten Silver and Bronze Age stories featuring the title character of...
including this tale behind a "split cover" by penciler John Buscema and inker Frank Giacoia!
You'll note the cover text mentions "T'Challa", not "The Black Panther", even though he's in costume!
When this issue of Marvel's Astonishing Tales (#6) came out in 1971,  controversies involving the political movement known as the Black Panthers were at their peak, such as this murder/kidnapping trial which ended in a mistrial.
Marvel was in a bit of a bind, as they had been developing plans to give T'Challa a higher profile thanks to his ongoing appearances as a member of The Avengers (which, at that point, featured characters who didn't have their own series).
So, when the Panther guest-starred in other titles (like here), or was cover-featured in The Avengers...
...he was promoted as "T'Challa", not the "Black Panther"!
When he appeared in Fantastic Four #119 (1972), though cover-featured as "T'Challa"...
...he proclaimed himself "Black Leopard", instead of "Black Panther".
But that's a story for another time...
Meanwhile, Doctor Doom scripter Larry Lieber (who hadn't handled the Black Panther previously) seems woefully uninformed about Wakanda in general and Vibranium in particular, with the most obvious fact being the Vibranium Mound isn't a volcano!
Two trivia notes:
Larry Lieber had written and penciled the first half of Doom's full-length cover-featured story in Marvel Super-Heroes #20 (1969), which would explain why he got the nod to write the ongoing Doom strip in Astonishing Tales a year later!
Penciler George Tuska would draw Dr Doom's two-issue encounter with Marvel's other major Black hero in Luke Cage: Hero for Hire #8 & #9 (1973)
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(which reprints this story...but in black-and-white!)

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