Just this past September we received word that The Atlantic correspondent and author of “Between the World and Me” Ta-Nehisi Coates would be writing a year-long issue of “Black Panther” for Marvel Comics. In December, we got our first look at some of that project’s concept art along with an update from Coates himself, but now, with the inaugural issue about to hit comic book stores, we have a solid look at the finished product. The first-look pages come courtesy of one of Coates’ articles for The Atlantic, giving readers a bonus insight into his writing process and the formation of the comic.
For Coates, writing “Black Panther” was the culmination of a long-standing obsession with Marvel comics. Issues of “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” still hold a place in his heart and mind, and were clearly formative in his youth. Though Coates had to, admittedly, switch gears between writing as a journalist and penning a comic book story, his approach at its core wasn’t all that different. He talks about that method at length in The Atlantic article.
Here’s just a brief sample of Coates talking about the opportunity to write “Black Panther” and what it meant to him:
Some of the best days of my life were spent poring over the back issues of The Uncanny X-Men and The Amazing Spider-Man. As a child of the crack-riddled West Baltimore of the 1980s, I found the tales of comic books to be an escape, another reality where, very often, the weak and mocked could transform their fallibility into fantastic power. That is the premise behind the wimpy Steve Rogers mutating into Captain America, behind the nerdy Bruce Banner needing only to grow angry to make his enemies take flight, behind the bespectacled Peter Parker being transfigured by a banal spider bite into something more.
But comic books provided something beyond escapism. Indeed, aside from hip-hop and Dungeons & Dragons, comics were my earliest influences. In the way that past writers had been shaped by the canon of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wharton, I was formed by the canon of Claremont, DeFalco, and Simonson. Some of this was personal.
See what Coates had to say about fulfilling a lifelong dream to write for Marvel Comics (via The Atlantic):
Take a look at some of the panels written by Coates and drawn by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin:
You can check out Coates’ “Black Panther” #1, the first of an 11-issue run, in stores and digitally this April. For more on Black Panther in the movie-verse, check out some of our recent stories below:
- Upcoming Superhero Movie Release Dates: From 2016 to 2020
- ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Promo Art Asks Audiences to Pick Their Team
- ‘Captain America: Civil War’: Martin Freeman’s Role Revealed
- ‘Black Panther’: ‘Creed’ Helmer Ryan Coogler Confirmed to Direct
- ‘Black Panther’ Directly Links to ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, Says Kevin Feige
- Collider Movie Talk: ‘Star Wars’ End-Credits Scene, ‘Black Panther’ May Have Its Director