If you’re a comic book fan, you might have heard that Marvel Comics’ Black Panther is poised for some very big things over the next year or two. Several months ago, Marvel’s first black superhero made his live-action debut in the so-completely-awesome-I-saw-it-two-times (and supremely better than the bleak n’ dreary mess that was Batman vs Superman) Captain America: Civil War. In the film, Chadwick Boseman plays the king of the fictional and technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. Boseman brought a gravitas to the role that thoroughly impressed me (I was also impressed that he was given a satisfying character arc in the film). Meanwhile, in the comics, one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary writers on race issues in the US, Ta-Nehisi Coates, has been writing the new Black Panther series since April (you didn’t know?! Well hie thee to a comic book store or Comixology). Then there’s the much-anticipated 2018 live-action Black Panther film, which sees Boseman reprise his role as the African ruler in a movie that may well position the character as a major player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (a role he very much deserves). That’s not the only cool news involving the character though, as a recent panel at the San Diego Comic-Con revealed. November sees the release of a companion title to the Coates series, titled Black Panther: World of Wakanda. The book will be co-written by Coates, the Bad Feminist herself, Roxane Gay, and poet Yona Harvey:
“My agent was not thrilled that I was taking on another project,” Ms. Gay said. But learning to write comics exercised different creative muscles, which she said she found exciting.
“It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way,” she said.
Her story, written with Mr. Coates, will follow Ayo and Aneka, two lovers who are former members of the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s female security force. “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that,” she said.
Hold up. Waitaminute. I’m sorry.
I need to pause.
Did I hear that right? Because all of that sounded like Marvel really wants to appeal to two demographics that it has traditionally not catered to at all: black women and QUILTBAG folks. A book that features an expanded look at the world of the Black Panther? With a focus on female supporting characters? Who are queer? Did I *really* hear that right?! Methinks I did! Man, it’s like Marvel wants more of my money (and a whole fuckton of other peoples money too-most especially black queer women)
The first issue of World of Wakanda will include a 10-page second story by Ms. Harvey about Zenzi, a female revolutionary who incited a riot in the first issue of the Black Panther series. Mr. Coates, who recruited both writers, said he thought it was important to have female voices help breathe life into these characters. “The women in Black Panther’s life are very, very important,” he said.
Gotta pause that again.
Coates, dude, you sought out both writers? You actively searched for two black women to write this book with you? You realized the importance of having black female voices in comics telling stories involving black female characters? What the hell dude?! What are you, some sort of black, atheist, racially conscious, intersectional Social Justice Warrior or something? Oh, wait…
Guess I’ll be adding another monthly expense of $3.99 come November. Hopefully enough other people will do the same to keep this book around for a while.