So you may have heard that Ta Nehisi Coates is writing the new Black Panther comics. This is a fascinating move on Marvel’s part, since Coates is a journalist for The Atlantic, not a comic book writer by trade, and his work usually explores social and political issues.
Coates is actually a great fit for Black Panther, a series that carries its own poignant, socio-political commentary. Comics are often at their best when they’re contributing to larger social and cultural dialogues, and Coates is the perfect person to make this happen for T’Challa and his stories.
You can find a great interview with him on this subject on the Women of Marvel podcast. In particular, I enjoyed his conversation about how he approached writing the Dora Milaje, Black Panther’s female bodyguards. He wanted them to be fully formed, multi-dimensional characters.
While comics, like pretty much all media, still have work to do in terms of representation, the decision to bring on someone with a professional background like Coates’s — in addition to the excellent storylines we’re seeing with characters like Kamala Khan — shows us that Marvel’s comics are taking positive steps.