Ahead of Black Panther’s 2018 theatrical release, Marvel turned to Ta-Nehisi Coates to breathe new life into the nation of Wakanda.
“I made most of my career analyzing the forces of racism and white supremacy as an idea in America. But what you begin to realize after you do that long enough — you aren’t talking about anything specific. In other words, you aren’t really talking about whether some people have lighter skin or some people have blonde hair or some people have blue eyes or some people have kinky hair. You’re talking about power.”
This is the voice of journalist, cultural critic, and best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates is the writer of Marvel’s latest entry in the Black Panther canon, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet. With the book, he’s been charged with turning one of Marvel’s least understood and appreciated black characters into a marquee superhero.
Even if you don’t read comics, you likely know about the character Black Panther, thanks to his on-screen debut in last year’s Captain America: Civil War. As the first black superhero in mainstream comics, he’s an important figure in the history of the medium.
In 2014, Marvel announced that it would give Black Panther a standalone film. Starring Chadwick Boseman in the titular role, the film will be the first in the billion-dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe to star a person of color as a headlining superhero.