Acclaimed Between the World and Me author Ta-Nehisi Coates will be writing the next Marvel’s Black Panther series, reports The New York Times.Coates (who also serves as The Atlantic‘s international correspondent, writing such pieces as the massive, recently-published historical report on the “far-reaching consequences” of the American carceral state on black families) is an immensely exciting choice to pen the comic: though he certainly isn’t known as a comic author, he’s very familiar with the form, and is a “Marvel Comics Superfan.” He’s helped create a dialogue, in the past, about diversifying comics, having interviewed Marvel’s Sana Amanat — who created the first Muslim American superhero — for The Atlantic. He spoke to the Times about delving into this new form:
I don’t experience the stuff I write about as weighty. I feel a strong need to express something. The writing usually lifts the weight. I expect to be doing the same thing for Marvel.
The upcoming series already has a storyline set: it’s titled “A Nation Under Our Feet,” and draws from the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Steven Hahn, A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration, which traces black political figures, movements and communities in post-Civil War America. Coates’ Black Panther — which is drawn by Brian Stelfreeze — will see the Black Panther (T’Challa) dealing with an uprising started by a “terrorist” (perhaps the series will also investigate the selective usage of that word?) group who refer to themselves as the People, in his fictional country, Wakanda.
Coates tweeted the news (as well as the first cover) as a challenge to supervillain Dr. Doom: