BLACK PANTHER As Monarch & Hero At Odds With One Another, According to TA-NEHISI COATES

'Black Panther #1' hip-hop variant
'Black Panther #1' hip-hop variant
Credit: Marvel Comics
Black Panther #1
Black Panther #1
Credit: Marvel Comics

Before Black Panther's cinematic debut in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, he'll be returning to comic book shelves in a new Black Panther series by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze. The 12-part series starts with a terrorist attack in the heart of Wakanda that'll provoke a response from the title character as both a hero and that country's rulers And those two roles are in conflict with one another, Coates confirms.

"Oh man this is so hard to answer without giving anything away. I think what I can say is T’Challa will be immediately challenged and readers will see him pull from his best self to attempt to overcome," said the writer. "Ugh. I know that’s vague. I’m trying make sure plot doesn’t start spilling out my mouth."

Stelfreeze applauds the first-time comic book writer's approach to Black Panther, calling his "rhythm of storytelling" very different.

"I’m always a little nervous when someone comes from other media into writing comics. It’s a unique storytelling form and it requires both talent and respect. My nervousness dissolved when I received Ta-Nehisi’s story outline," said the artist. "It turns out he’s a true fan boy with a willingness to explore the depth and breadth of both the character and his world. His lack of time in the industry also gives him a lack of limitations, and I’m taking great joy in acting as a flashlight to illuminate the path for him and the readers."

'Black Panther #1' hip-hop variant
'Black Panther #1' hip-hop variant
Credit: Marvel Comics

Coates revealed that he found this path to comic book writing by pitching to Marvel while covering the company as a journalist for The Atlantic. The writer said while this is his first time doing comic books, his background writing non-fiction as a journalist is all about "storytelling."

"Well, I’ve been storytelling all of my life. It’s true that’s it been in nonfiction for most of my professional life, but the basics of trying to think about what makes for compelling story has been my trade for awhile," said Coates. "I think beyond that I bring some amount of knowledge to the basic questions that must—necessarily—occupy a guy like T’Challa. Having studied history, for instance, I have some sense of the challenges that face monarchs. The key is learning to pull from that, while at the same time making sure T’Challa has people to punch. It can’t be a dissertation."

Black Panther is scheduled to debut sometime in early 2016.

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