Black Panther has had a tough run as of late. It appears that the Marvel Comics editors have no clue what to do with this franchise. Black Panther is an iconic Jack Kirby character. There is no doubt that Black Panther deserves to be one of Marvel Comics’ premier comic books. On top of that, Black Panther has become widely known by the general public thanks to the runaway success of the Black Panther movie and its $1.3 billion worldwide box office. Even the Black Panther sequel lacking Chadwick Boseman and Black Panther himself still managed to make $854 million in the worldwide box office.
Given that Black Panther has both a Jack Kirby pedigree for comic book fans and become a household name due to the success of the MCU movies there is no reason why Black Panther is not a consistent Top 25 or Top 50 comic book every single month. However, the biggest reason that this has not happened is purely the fault of the Marvel Comics editors.
The Marvel Comics editors still do not treat Black Panther like they do Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Men, and Daredevil. The editorial staff never hesitates in placing talented and experienced comic book writers on all of those titles. However, when it comes to Black Panther, the editorial staff keeps putting random writers on this title. It makes absolutely no sense.
When Marvel Comics relaunched Black Panther with its latest volume in 2021, they placed John Ridley on the title as the writer. Ridley is a novelist and screenwriter. Ridley is not a comic book writer. Ridley has never displayed any knowledge or love for the superhero genre. Yet, for some mystifying reason, Marvel Comics thought Ridley would be an excellent choice to write Black Panther.
The result was terrible sales numbers. So, what does Marvel Comics do? Well, what it always does when they make bad editorial decisions and a comic book goes down in flames. Marvel Comics simply rolls out a brand new #1 issue with a different creative team. Marvel Comics has announced that they will be relaunching Black Panther with a new #1 issue, again. The new creative team is Eve Ewing and Chris Allen. This decision is completely stunning coming off the heels of the unsuccessful John Ridley run.
Let’s address Chris Allen first. Allen is a talented artist. There is no doubt that Allen will make Black Panther a wonderful-looking comic book. Allen loves the superhero genre and knows how to draw a superhero comic book. Absolutely no doubt about that. So, Marvel Comics got this part of the creative team correct.
Then it all falls apart with Eve Ewing as the writer. Again, Ewing is not a comic book writer by trade. Ewing is a sociologist who is a professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She is the author of several books on sociology specifically education and racism. Ewing’s academic research focuses on school closures.
Ewing is also an author of poetry, prose, and journalism. Most of her focus has been on colorism, school choice, federal arts funding, and race in publishing. She has a couple of collections of poetry and prose.
Now, Ewing has a wonderful resume for many job positions. However, a comic book writer of a superhero comic book? That is definitely not one job that leaps to mind when reviewing her resume. Yet, Marvel Comics seems obsessed with taking people who have no love or understanding of the superhero genre and no history of being a comic book writer and putting them on titles. It makes absolutely no sense at all. I have no clue what Marvel Comics is seeing in these individuals that makes Marvel comics believe they should be writing superhero comic books.
Despite what Marvel Comics editorial staff believes, being a comic book writer is truly a skill and a talent. Not anyone can simply show up and start cranking out high-quality comic books. It is hard. Just because you may be a great professor and can write excellent academic papers or poetry does not mean you know how to properly write superhero comic books.
On top of that, having a comic book writer who loves and understands the superhero genre is absolutely a vital ingredient for that writer to have success. The lack of love or knowledge of the superhero genre can turn off readers who can sense this in a writer in a quick fashion. It can also lead to superhero comic books that utterly fail at the core aspects of the superhero genre.
I am stunned that Marvel Comics would follow up one non-comic book writer with yet another one on Black Panther. This is definitely something that Marvel Comics would not do with any of their other big franchises like Spider-Man, Hulk, Daredevil, etc. Black Panther deserves the same amount of respect. It is imperative that Marvel Comics properly support the Black Panther franchise with a real comic book writer who has a passion and understanding for the superhero genre. Until that happens, Black Panther will continue to fail in the sales rankings.
Rokk’s Excitement Level: 1 Night Girls out of 10
Rokk’s Prediction: This new Black Panther title is going to be a sales failure. This new title will have a real uphill battle. First, due to Marvel Comics’ poor editorial decisions, Black Panther has not been a good-selling title in a long time. The last volume of Black Panther which debuted in 2021 suffered in the sales charts. Black Panther #1 debuted at the number 23 spot. Black Panther #2-14 averaged the number 90 spot in the sales rankings. That is terrible. This is far below what a Black Panther title should be doing in the sales chart.
Eve Ewing has dabbled in the pool of superhero comic books with titles including Ironheart, Ms. Marvel, Marvel Team-Up, and Monica Rambeau: Photon. All of them have been sales failures.
Ironheart debuted in 2019. Ironheart #1 took the number 45 spot and sold 40,739 units. Then, the title crashed and burned as Ironheart #2-12 averaged the number 173 spot in the sales rankings and sold an average of 11,419 units per issue. Ironheart was then canceled with the twelfth issue.
Ewing wrote Marvel Team-Up #1-3 in 2019. Marvel Team-Up #1 debuted at the number 35 spot and sold 39,892 units. Marvel Team-Up then dropped like a wounded duck as Marvel Team-Up #2-3 averaged the number 125 sport in the sales rankings and sold an average of 17,095 units per issue.
Outlawed #1 came out in 2021 and took the number 61 spot in the sales rankings and sold just 27,969 units.
Champions came out in 2020. Champions #1 debuted at the number 23 spot. Champions then plummeted like a rock as Champions #2-5 averaged the number 111 spot in the sales rankings.
Monica Rambeau: Photon came out in 2023. Monica Rameau: Photon #1 debuted at the number 53 spot. The sales plummeted from there as Monica Rambeau: Photon #2-3 has averaged the number 121 spot in the sales rankings. This title is particularly instructive as Monica, like Black Panther, is a character who has become very well known in the general publish thanks to her high profile appearance in the Scarlet Witch Disney+ show and also in the upcoming Marvels movie. Yet, sales for this title were dead from the very beginning.
I was already not bullish on Ewing given the fact that she is a university professor in sociology and not a comic book writer and given the fact that she has no love or understanding of the superhero genre. But, examining Ewing’s total failure in the sales charts makes me even more doubtful of the success of this new Black Panther title.
Given that Ewing is not a comic book writer and has been a sales failure in her previous attempts at writing superhero comic books makes me wonder why Marvel Comics gave her this job. I have no clue what Marvel Comics sees in Ewing that makes them think she is worthy of getting one of Marvel Comics’ Crown Jewels in Black Panther.
All I can hope for is that after Ewing’s run crashes and burns that Marvel Comics finally treats the Black Panther with some respect and puts a real superhero comic book writer on this title. Black Panther deserves so much better than this.