[an] ambitious and informative graphic history, crisply illustrated by Marcus Kwame Anderson ... Walker strives for a comprehensive view, dedicating his book to the party’s 'rank and file' involved in community work. The result is a sprawling overview of the group’s brisk rise and protracted fall, punctuated by gripping confrontations with the powers that be ... Walker dramatizes key scenes, such as an early dust-up between an Oakland police officer and a car packed with four gun-toting Panthers ...When the text boxes start piling up, though, the tone can dry out. Fortunately, as an artist Anderson is just as good at rendering static shots as he is at depicting action, and his gift for warm, uncluttered portraiture lionizes familiar figures. In an early sequence, he depicts 31 slain civil rights activists, their names largely lost to us. Most of them are smiling, yet all are shaded, heartbreakingly, in a ghostly blue. Though each panel is just 1.5 inches by 2.25 inches, the depth of emotion could fill an entire page. It’s a turning point in the group’s history, chillingly rendered.
Takes a graphic novel approach to follow the multiple threads that make up the party’s history. The book’s strength lies in bringing the reader face to face with the organization’s leaders and key players as individuals. One of the most powerful pages is one on which Anderson presents somberly hued portraits of the Black and white activists, victims and others remembered as martyrs at the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama ... Walker and Anderson offer valuable context with a primer on African American history in the three centuries preceding the Black Panther Party. From there, the book traces the party’s short but potent arc and those who played influential roles from within and without ...Walker and Anderson are unapologetically sympathetic to the Panthers’ cause and the injustices they suffered as Black Americans ... But the book doesn’t gloss over less admirable aspects of the party’s history.
This nuanced, accessible history of the Black Panther Party doesn’t shy away from the complexity of the political movement, nor does it fall into the trap of painting the diverse group as uniformly heroes or villains ... Artist Kwame Anderson balances text and images skillfully, and even the wordiest sections feel spacious, while he lends cinematic visual pacing to the many heated interactions between activists and police.This concise yet in-depth guide offers a timely resource for activists, history buffs, and students alike.