The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History


YA & Up

  • Black Culture & Identity
  • Historical Figures
  • Politics
  • Violence
  • Racism
  • Police Brutality
  • Government Interference
  • Sabotage

David Walker & Marcus Kwame Anderson


Social justice and the Black Panthers go hand in hand. Inspired by the free food programs that the organization is known for, I searched online for information about what they would serve for breakfast in under-resourced areas. Party members would solicit donations from shops and eventually what started as a handful of children turned into thousands of free meals throughout multiple locations. For #sweetsandsocialjustice this week, I made grits which we specifically mentioned as a typical food that was distributed.

This graphic novel is incredible. I really appreciate that the creators took the time to give historical context and history before launching into the history of the Black Panthers right at the group’s inception. Great care has been taken to give detailed accounts of events, key members, and in-depth explanations of how the FBI and COINTELPRO sabotaged and engineered violent situations that were specifically meant to cause the Panthers to unravel.

The graphic novel gives ample knowledge about all aspects of the Party; the community programs, education, distribution of free food and clothing. Also discussed and explained is how drug use, government meddling, and paranoia contributed to some of the unsavory aspects. I consider myself a fan of and fairly knowledgable about the Black Panthers, but I learned a huge amount about them and related organizations while reading. This is the history I wish I learned in high school.

While writing this post, I enjoyed reading this article, where there are some adorable photos! This article definitely gives a very brief overview, but I think it helps to frame in layman’s terms what exactly was so concerning about the Black Panther Party to the government: community trust.

This book was kindly sent by Ten Speed Press, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to review it. All opinions and decision to review is my own!

David F. Walker

DAVID F. WALKER is an award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker, journalist, and educator. Walker is best known for his work in comics, including Shaft: A Complicated Man (Dynamite Entertainment), winner of the 2015 Glyph Award for Story of the Year, and its sequel, Shaft: Imitation of Life. His work for Marvel Comics includes Luke CageOccupy AvengersPower Man and Iron FistNighthawk, Fury, and Deadpool. He’s also worked for DC Comics (Cyborg), Boom! (Planet of the Apes), and IDW/Monkeybrain (The Army of Dr. Moreau). He is the creator of the prose YA series The Adventures of Darius Logan, and author of the novel Shaft’s Revenge, the first new novel starring the iconic black detective in more than forty years.

Marcus Kwame Anderson

From his website: “My name is Marcus Kwame Anderson. I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to upstate New York at an early age. I’m an illustrator and fine artist who has been creating art since I was able to lift a crayon.

Much of my work is a representation of the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora. I believe that the arts can be a powerful vehicle for change and I often incorporate social commentary into my work. I have a lot to say and art is my favorite form of communication.

I graduated from S.U.N.Y. College at Fredonia with a degree in illustration. I’m the co-creator of the ongoing comic book series, Snow Daze, and have illustrated stories in Action Lab’s all-ages detective series, Cash and Carrie. I’ve also done some illustration work for the Action Lab series, F.O.R.C.E.”

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