Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Black Panther Party by David F. Walker & Marcus Kwame Anderson

Cover Art

The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson
Ten Speed Press / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781984857705

The Black Panther Party documents the rise of the revolutionary party from its inception in 1966 Oakland, California, to its dissolution in the 1980s. Key figures like Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, Tarika Lewis, and Elaine Brown are introduced and highlighted, as well as the Party’s still-relevant Ten Point Program and the lethal influence of the FBI’s illegal counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO. 

Well-written and informative, this book sheds light on the history of the Black Panther Party and doesn’t shy away from its complicated legacy. Walker effectively zooms in on significant events and biographical sketches, while still taking a broader look at the Party’s impact on the Black community. Though the panels are occasionally text-heavy, Anderson’s impressive art creates moments of reflection and helps propel the narrative forward. Readers will find themselves riveted by a well-paced story that allows them to draw their own conclusions.

Teens seeking other nonfiction historical comics may want to check out Mikki Kendall’s Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists, Lun Zhang’s Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes, and David F. Walker’s previous work The Life of Frederick Douglass. Those looking for deeper historical discussions with a wider scope may also enjoy An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza) and the recent YA edition of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Hip-Hop History by Jeff Chang and Dave “Davey D” Cook.

—Crystal Chen

Other Nominated Titles

  • Blue Flag, vol. 6 by Kaito (February 16, 2021)
  • Incredible Doom, vol. 1 by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden (May 11, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are  available on The Hub.

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.