McGregor’s Wakanda

Black Panther Volume 1 and the White Liberal Imagination


  • Matthew Sautman


Primarily comprising Black Panther Volume 1, Don McGregor’s work on the Marvel anthology series Jungle Action provides a primary foundation for the mythology constituting the Black Panther canon, despite the character’s debut appearances in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four #52-53. Considered amongst the original graphic novels—along the likes of Eisner’s A Contract with God––McGregor’s work on Jungle Action represents a milestone both in comics history and the Black Panther canon. At the same time, McGregor’s vision elevated the Black Panther from side-character status into the first mainstream Black comic book superhero; still, McGregor’s contributions to the Black Panther canon are tainted by the limitations of the white liberal imagination. This article draws on works by James Baldwin, Marc DiPaolo, Robert E. Fleming, Toni Morrison, and others in an exploration of how white liberalism undermines the radical nature of the Black Panther’s earliest stories through Orientalism and sentimentality.