Here are my picks for the top five most iconic covers featuring Black Panther (with iconic being determined by what covers are most established and most recognized when it comes to Black Panther, with a preference towards covers that are homaged a lot). This is not a BEST cover list and due to the very nature of icons, very few (if any) recent covers will be on the list. A notable exception to the rules is that I don’t count covers from a character’s first appearance (which isn’t applicable to all characters, of course, just those who appeared on the cover of the comic they debuted in), as those tend to be automatically iconic so they’re boring. Here‘s a list of all characters featured so far.
First off, while I’m exempting first appearance covers from the countdown, it’s only fair, I suppose, to share them here before the countdown begins, so here is the first cover appearance of Black Panther from his first appearance, Fantastic Four #52…
Artist: Jack Kirby
Artist: John Buscema
It’s not even that great of a cover by Buscema, but it’s the first time the Panther had the sole lead on a comic book cover, and getting a solo cover on the Avengers was no easy task at the time – heck, Hawkeye never had a solo cover at this point (except as Goliath)!
The three covers that barely missed #5 would be Kirby’s Tales of Suspense cover with Panther versus Cap, an Al Milgrom Marvel Premiere cover (where we learn that the Black Panther is “Marvel’s #1 Black Hero!”) and a cool Barry Windsor-Smith Daredevil cover.
Artist: Sal Velluto
With the marriage between Black Panther and Storm, this issue from Christopher Priest’s Panther run takes on a lot more notability, and Marvel recognized as much when they re-released a group of Panther/Storm stories and this was the cover they chose for the reprints.
Artist: Rich Buckler
The first cover of Panther’s first solo book.
Artist: Mark Texeira
The first cover of the Christopher Priest Black Panther run, which is probably the most iconic Panther run so far. And this cover, in particular, was notable (and homaged and parodied in Quantum and Woody).
Artist: John Buscema
Besides Fantastic Four #52, the only other really “famous” Black Panther cover.