One of the nation's brightest and most influential writers will be writing a comic book for Marvel. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the national correspondent for The Atlantic and National Book Award nominee, will be writing Black Panther, one of Marvel's premier superheroes next Spring. The New York Times reported:
His passions intersected in May, during the magazine’s New York Ideas seminar, he interviewed Sana Amanat, a Marvel editor, about diversity and inclusion in comic books. Ms. Amanat led the creation of the new Ms. Marvel, a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City, based on some of her own childhood experiences … After that event, Marvel reached out, paired Mr. Coates with an editor, and discussions about the comic began. The renewed focus on Black Panther is no surprise.
For the last few years, diversity, and the lack of it, in comic books has been a major discussion. Coates's thoughtfulness and the way he writes about race and its relationship to politics, economics, and issues like mass incarceration is respected and virtually unmatched in this country. Coates is a major comic book fan, and described writing for Marvel as a "childhood dream." The reality of Coates writing a black superhero is a gigantic step in an industry where female and non-white creators are still a minority fighting for their voices to be heard.
Black Panther is also Marvel's first black superhero to get his solo film since Blade (whose rights were owned by a different company at the time). Black Panther will make his first filmic appearance in Captain America: Civil War (May 2016) before his movie hits theaters in 2018.