Marvel Hires Black Women Writers For New ‘Black Panther’ Series With Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is teaming up with Roxane Gay, Yona Harvey, and Alitha Martinez for a second monthly Black Panther comic book, Black Panther: World of Wakanda.

Coates picked up the mantle for the Marvel series last year and released the highly-anticipated comic in April, 2016. But, it wasn’t long before the series saw success. It immediately became the best-selling comic of the calendar year with with over 250,000 orders by North American retailers during its first week, according to Vulture.

Now it seems that the comic book company is ready to recapture the magic with an added bonus — two black women as the writers, a first for the comic book company.

This time around, Coates won’t be the only celebrated author to write about the citizens of Wakanda. Gay is best known for her book, Bad Feminist, a New York Times bestseller upon its release in 2014. It explores a collection of essays about the politics and ideals surrounding feminism. Harvey is the author of Hemming the Water, a poetry book that “speaks to the futility of trying to mend or straighten a life that is constantly changing,” according to the author.

Naturally, with this lineup, Black Panther: World of Wakanda will focus on not just the titular character, but the women in the Wakandan empire, as well.

Coates rose to fame after publishing a lengthy argument about reparations for African-Americans for the Atlantic. The piece, titled “The Case for Reparations,” was followed up with his No. 1 New York Times bestselling book, Between the World and Me, that was presented as a letter to his son to explain institutionalized racism in the United States.

The current ongoing Black Panther series is drawn by Brian Stelfreeze and colored by Laura Martin, but the new series will get its ink and pencil work from Alitha Martinez (Yume and Ever, Batgirl, New Crusaders). The news comes after Marvel underwent flack for bringing on black characters — like 15-year-old Riri Williams, who is putting on the Iron Man suit — but rarely bringing on black writers or artists to convey the stories.

But it seems that Marvel is answering the criticism, with the help of Coates’ suggestions since he recommended Gay. “It was the most surprising, unexpected, coolest zombie story you ever want to see,” he said in a New York Times interview. “When we started thinking about writers, she popped up right away.”

On top of Coates, Gay, Martinez, the series will have another black women contributing artwork — including covers — to Black Panther: World of Wakanda.

Along with Martinez, Afua Richardson will also be contributing artwork to the series. Richardson is best known for her work in Genius, a series from Image Comics that follows Destiny, a teenage girl with a mastery of military tactics in South Central, Los Angeles.

As for the comic book series, Gay will be in new territory. “It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. Gay is admittedly not caught up on the comic book world, she recently shared that she’s putting in work by reading issues of Wonder Woman, Black Panther, and The Ultimates.

As for the title character, he’s certainly getting some shine on the big screen. Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, made his debut in Captain America: Civil War earlier this year. He’s also set to star in his own eponymous movie in 2017.

Coates warned his tweeters that there was big news dropping today, but fans weren’t expecting this. But like everyone else, he seems pretty hype about it — especially since he recommended the writer.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda is scheduled to launch in November.

[Image via Marvel Comics]