The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History – David F. Walker & Marcus Kwame Anderson (Ten Speed Press)

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I make absolutely no secret of the fact that David F. Walker is one of my favourite writers. He has an uncanny ability to transform his subject matter into an incredibly personal and immediate journey that propels the reader headlong into the story that he’s telling. And The Black Panther Party, his involving exploration of the history of one of the worlds most famous political organisations that rose out of the sixties underground to challenge mainstream ideology might just be his most personal story yet.

Formed with the sole intention of finally levelling the playing field and making sure that the founding fathers promise of liberty and justice applied to everyone and not just the select few who subscribed to a ridiculous belief in the superiority of “birthright” and pseudo-fascistic racism, the Black Panther’s made an indelible mark on history during their surprisingly brief tenure and existence.

Walker doesn’t eulogise or deify any of the parties leading figures, and tells the story of their struggle, law enforcement and the authorities less than legal attempts (which included murder, false imprisonment, a decade long campaign of misinformation and systematic manipulation) to break the will and spirit of the Panthers and the in-fighting and power struggles that finally led to the party’s dissolution and demise as only he could.

Brought to life by Marcus Kwame Anderson’s sublime art, Walker’s book isn’t always an easy read, but it’s one that anyone, and everyone who wants to see the world change for the better needs to dive headlong into, as it serves to illustrate a simple tenet that’s as true today as it always has been; that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The world was never supposed to be the plaything of the one percent, it was always supposed to be an Eden for the other ninety nine as well. It’s time for us all to embrace that idea, and Walker’s book is a wake up call that reminds that we need to learn the lessons that history has taught us and fight for a free, just and fair world for everyone, That’s what Huey and Bobby wanted, and that’s the world that we all deserve and should be reaching for each and every single day. And that, and a hundred other reasons, are why this book should be right at the top of everybody’s must read list… Tim Cundle

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