Was anybody expecting this?
The Black Panther is arguably Marvel Comics' most important black superhero, a king who's never been mired in the kinds of stereotype-heavy portrayals that have dogged other characters. And news has just hit that the Wakandan monarch's next ongoing comics series will be written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic widely regarded as one of the most important chroniclers of the modern black experience.
Coates — who, for the record, I'm friendly with but haven't hung with in, like, years — has written important pieces about black lives in America, like last year's "The Case for Reparations" article and the recent book Between The World and Me. He's also been a comics reader since his teens and will be bringing a political approach, according to the New York Times article announcing the new Panther title:
"A Nation Under Our Feet," the yearlong story line written by Mr. Coates and drawn by Brian Stelfreeze. It is inspired by the 2003 book by Steven Hahn and will find the hero dealing with a violent uprising in his country set off by a superhuman terrorist group called the People. "It's going to be a story that repositions the Black Panther in the minds of readers," Mr. Alonso said. "It really moves him forward."
With a supporting role in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film and a solo movie to follow, T'Challa's profile is going to become higher than ever. Drawn by Brian Stelfreeze, the new Black Panther series is expected to start next spring.