Who is Erik Killmonger?

by Matt Tuck

124842_96f989ee9d353de523b58b94ede099d24772f8da-199x300 Who is Erik Killmonger?

We’re only a few weeks away from Disney/Marvel’s next blockbuster, Black Panther.

You can’t judge a movie by its trailer, obviously, but Black Panther looks like it could be one of the studio’s better films. Considering he’s been a longtime Avenger, it’s safe to assume that he’ll officially join the team and become an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the near future.

But what’s a hero without a worthy antagonist? In the new movie, T’Challa is challenged by one recognizable name, Klaw, and one you may not know quite so much about.

Passing and hardcore comic fans alike know the name Black Panther and Wakanda, but who we don’t know so much about is his main villain, Erik Killmonger. Today, let’s take a closer look at the key issues surrounding Killmonger and Panther’s other big-screen nemesis, Klaw.


Back in 1973, Marvel debuted Killmonger, but who is he?

Before taking the name Killmonger, N’Jadaka was a Wakandan whose family was banished after they joined the nefarious Klaw and were defeated. N’Jadaka’s father was killed in the conflict, driving N’Jadaka to change his name to Erik Killmonger (because that’s not an obvious enough evil villain name) and try to return to his native country and restore Wakanda’s ancient ways. If you’re wondering why, in the trailer, a guy supposedly from Africa has an American accent, that makes sense when you consider that Killmonger grew up in Harlem, New York, after his family was exiled from Wakanda.

So now you know a little more about Killmonger’s history, and I’d advise you to find a copy of Jungle Action #6. Since the first trailer for Black Panther dropped months ago, people have been interested in the villain’s history, which has boosted prices. Case in point: in 2016, a CGC 9.0 Jungle Action #6 would have cost you $184. Last year, that average jumped to $250.


Klaw has already made his MCU debut as Andy Serkis played Ulysses Klaue in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Originally, Klaw was a Nazi war criminal, but that story has been updated for a modern audience. Like so many other characters, including Black Panther himself, the villain was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and made his initial appearance in the pages of the FF.

Serkis is an accomplished actor even though his most famous works don’t feature his face, such as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Caesar in the modern Planet of the Apes films. Still, having Serkis bring Klaw to life will likely give the character a boost in popularity. Judging by the prices of FF #53, it already has. Virtually all grades of Klaw’s first appearance have been gaining value over the past two years now, and that isn’t going to change unless Black Panther bombs, which is unlikely.

At the moment, you can find FF #53 at a decent price for mid-grade copies. Even at a CGC 7.5, it’s averaging less than $200. Considering it was published in 1966, finding a near-mint issue will be rare, so those mid-grades will be much more common, and now is a good time to buy one.

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