Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write for Marvel’s Black Panther Comics

If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award Nominee and a national correspondent for The Atlantic, will be writing a new Black Panther series. Coates’ love for comic books is well documented, in April he talked to Vulture about the resurgence in superhero comics and adaptations this past decade, saying: “There were a lot of great stories being told during the ’80s, and those people who were reading them are of an age now where they can make this vision.” Coates also explained why he thinks superheros and comics go so well together, and why he prefers reading comics to watching movies: “Superheroes are best imagined in comic books. The union between the written word, the image, and then what your imagination has to do to connect those allows for so much. I always feel like when I see movies, I’m a little let down by the [digital] animation. I want to hear the voice in my head, you know?”

The Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four issue 52, in 1966, a few months before the founding of the Black Panther Party. The character is the king of the fictional African country Wakanda, a highly technologically advanced nation. Black Panther mostly relies on his intellect and very high end weaponry, but also has some mystical powers.

Coates’ yearlong storyline will be drawn by Brian Stelfreeze and is titled “The Nation Under Our Feet.” It is inspired by the 2003 book by Steven Hanh. In Coates’ story, a superhuman terrorist group called the People attack Wakanda, and the story follows the Black Panther dealing with the uprising caused by the People’s efforts. According to Comic Book Resources, Coates cites Jonathan Hickman’s “Secret Wars” as an inspiration for his story.

You could say Black Panther is having a moment these days, making its big screen debut on May 6, 2016 in “Captain America, Civil War” and getting a standalone pic in 2018. Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel explains how the company values and promotes diversity in their super heroes and says of “The Nation Under Our Feet”: “It’s going to be a story that repositions Black Panther in the minds of readers. It really moves him forward.”

More Like This

Samuel Beckett’s “Avengers: Endgame”

We've acquired a script for the final Avengers movie, and it's... surprisingly existentialist

Apr 26 - Elyse Martin

9 Afrofuturist Books to Enjoy if You’re Homesick for Wakanda

Must-reads for fans of ‘Black Panther’

Mar 2 - Dianca London

What Wonder Woman Meant to Her Earliest Fans

The midcentury comics’ version of womanhood might not satisfy modern-day feminists

Oct 19 - Rachel Mans McKenny
Thank You!