As Black Panther experiences a surge in popularity, one Seattle police officer is offering the opportunity to own a piece of the character’s comic book history.
“I have been collecting comics since I was 12 years old … so I have the first two appearances of Black Panther, which is ‘Fantastic Four’ 52 and 53,” said Seattle Police Officer Kevin Stuckey. “The contest is to draw what a hero looks like to you, and submit it. And the winner will get the first two appearances of Black Panther.”
Stuckey is an avid comic book collector and the president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild. He’s donating two comic books of particular note in a giveaway for the Seattle Police Foundation.
Copies like 52 an 53 sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars — depending on the condition. Stuckey expects they’ll only increase in value since the release of the film.
“These are the originals. These are from 1966. They are not reprints or anything like that,” Stuckey said.
“When I was 12 years old, coming up as a kid, living in New York and was in foster care, I was reading about superheroes and it took me away. It made me think about my life and that there was something else for me,” he said. “We’re talking about reading. Even if it’s not a kid, if it’s a young person, a young adult, we’re talking about giving away a book …. yes, this book has some value, but it sparks a conversation and we’re getting kids to want to read; to enter a contest to get a book.”
Stuckey adds that anyone of any age can enter the contest.
Stuckey’s two editions of “Fantastic Four” were originally printed in 1966. Comic greats Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created the character. Black Panther appeared infrequently in Fantastic Four comics until staring in a “Jungle Action” series in the 1970s. The character finally got his own series under the “Black Panther” title in the late ’70s. The character has had a few runs since then, leading up to the recent film.
Black Panther lessons
Stuckey says that the film is opening up opportunities for him to talk with children, especially his own.
“I have a 10-year-old son and I took him to see ‘Black Panther’ with my 8-year-old daughter,” Stuckey said. “My son was so ecstatic … he said, ‘The Black Panther was an ordinary guy who had a special uniform and he saves people.’ I thought that was so cool. So I looked down at him and I said, ‘Well you know that’s real, right? We have regular people who wear uniforms and it’s their job to protect us. The only difference between those people and Black Panther is that Black Panther got to pick his nickname … they are called police officers.'”
“The Black Panther, in order for him to become king, he had to have support from all his people. The different tribes had to support him,” he added. “That’s how he became king. Without everyone saying ‘That’s our guy’ then you have dissension. That’s so important in our country right now. If we can talk about it in a positive way, then maybe we can get back to that unity thing. Because things are a little weird in our society right now. Anytime there is a moment with something good, we have to go for it.”
For a chance to win the comic books, Stuckey asks that you draw your idea of what a hero looks like, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be selected at random. The deadline has been extended to Thursday, March 29.