Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze Take on New ‘Black Panther’ Series at Marvel
We all knew a Black Panther title had to be on the way from Marvel, given the character's upcoming movie appearance in Captain America: Civil War. We also knew it was a title the publisher had to get right. Black Panther is arguably the most important black superhero in comics, not just because he's the first, and not just because of the resonance of his name, but because his strength, status, and ingenuity mark him out as an icon of black excellence. Marvel needed to pick a creative team that showed due respect to everything the character stands for.
Today Marvel revealed that writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Brian Stelfreeze are the creative team for a brand new Black Panther series. Hey, Marvel; good job.
The news came from an announcement in the New York Times, whose readers should be familiar with Coates' name, even if some comic readers may not be. Coates is an author, commentator and journalist whose work has appeared in Time, The Atlantic, and New York Times Magazine. He's published books about biography and identity, and though he's not known as a fiction writer, he's one of the most respected voices on cultural and social issues in America today.
As for Brian Stelfreeze; he's simply one of the best artists in the business, and surely many fan's top pick for a Black Panther title.
Coates has planned a yearlong arc on the series, titled 'A Nation Under Our Feet', centered on Black Panther's struggle with superhuman terrorists in the futuristic fictional African country that he rules, Wakanda. The story takes its title from historian Steven Hahn's prize-winning 2003 exploration of black political struggles in the American South, so that may give readers some idea of the level of political consciousness at work here.
Black Panther #1 debuts in spring 2016. Check out the main cover above, and the Jay-Z Black Album-inspired hip-hop variant below, both by Stelfreeze: