Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Black Panther Comic for Marvel
September 22, 2015 12:24 PM   Subscribe

His passions intersected in May, during the magazine’s New York Ideas seminar, when 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. “It was a fruitful discussion,” he recalled.
posted by ursus_comiter (68 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is great news.

Comics Twitter has already found a way to be upset about it though.

Sigh...
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is Astounding! I was never really into Marvel, but I'll definitely pick this up.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:31 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yessss.

I hope after this run they'll tap him to write some D&D sourcebooks as well.
posted by griphus at 12:34 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


So. Cool.
posted by gauche at 12:36 PM on September 22, 2015


I remain baffled that one of Marvel's leading heroes is called the Black Panther.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:36 PM on September 22, 2015


Comics Twitter has already found a way to be upset about it though.

The perfect antidote is to just check out Coates' Twitter feed and RTs. And really, if you aren't already following him, you really should.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:37 PM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Comics Twitter has already found a way to be upset about it though.

Um... what?

Seriously, am I missing something between Greg Pak's tweet and Masked Queerstar's? Is there some backstory that explains how a pretty tame exhortation turned into "blaming readers for how fucked up the industry is"?
posted by Etrigan at 12:38 PM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I remain baffled that one of Marvel's leading heroes is called the Black Panther.

According to Wikipedia, the character existed before the party:
The Black Panther's name predates the October 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party, though not the black panther logo of the party's predecessor, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, nor the segregated World War II Black Panthers Tank Battalion.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:39 PM on September 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


Pretty excited about this... I think this is the thing that'll finally get me to spend money on a Marvel Comic again, after years and years in the hinterlands.

Except. None of the announcements that I've seen have said anything about artists. What if... WHAT IF...

What if Greg Land draws it?

That's a horrible pro-con calculus to work out there.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 12:41 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it was the "No excuses" part of the tweet. The fans took the opinion that it was trying to pin the blame on them if the comic doesn't sell well.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:41 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there some backstory that explains how a pretty tame exhortation turned into "blaming readers for how fucked up the industry is"?

The backstory is that there is literally no amount of whining that some dudes won't do if they can make themselves into an imagined victim.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:41 PM on September 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Comics Twitter has already found a way to be upset about it

Black Twitter tho: backstory, insight, and spoilers.
posted by feral_goldfish at 12:42 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


the phlegmatic king - The announced artist is the excellent Brian Stelfreeze. But like too much comics news these days, the creative team is winnowed down to just the writer by the time any semi-mainstream press picks up the story.
posted by thecjm at 12:43 PM on September 22, 2015


Is there some backstory that explains how a pretty tame exhortation turned into "blaming readers for how fucked up the industry is"?

As far as I understand it, the logic is that asking people to pre-order it places the burden of distribution on fans and the burden of the series failing (god forbid) on fans who didn't.
posted by griphus at 12:44 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Artist is going to be Brian Stelfreeze according to reports. I had a couple of his Shadow of the Bat covers on my wall back in the day (which I probably got from Wizard magazine).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:44 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I AM HERE FOR THIS
It's like someone saw the deepest wish of my heart.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 12:45 PM on September 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


the phlegmatic king - The announced artist is the excellent Brian Stelfreeze.

Oh, thank god.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 12:45 PM on September 22, 2015


Sounds cool, and Coates is fantastic writer. But has he written fiction before? And is Marvel going to be ok, long term, with the stuff Coates writes in the comic or elsewhere.

This isn't a slam against Coates, but am leery of Marvel pulling the rug from under him for some stupid reason. Time will tell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:46 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


And just to be clear, yes, if you want to see this thing last the year, pre-order it. It's not like a video game where you drop $60 and get a half-broken game. It's a fucking comic book.
posted by griphus at 12:46 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


BUT YOU'RE BLAMING THE FANS ETC. ETC. WHY HAVEN'T YOU CHANGED THE ENTIRE BUSINESS MODEL OF COMICS DISTRUBUTION GRIPHUS????
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's always a happy moment to be reminded that one of the most incisive and insightful writers on race in America is also a giant nerd.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:50 PM on September 22, 2015 [27 favorites]


I am super excited about this. Ta-Nehisi is a great and thoughtful comics fan and a great writer. Black Panther has been one of my favorite characters since the 1970s. Like all comics characters, there have been some great Black Panther runs and some bad ones, I can't wait to see what he does.
My daughter sent me this news. She sat opposite me on a train while I read "Between the World and Me" in one sitting. She remembers how excited I was to meet a T'Challa cosplayer at the local con two years ago. She's heard me recommend every article he's written for the Atlantic to everyone I chat with. True to form, I applauded reflexively when I got her text.

Black Panther is a great mythos for exploring some of the issues Coates explores in non-fiction.

Yaaaaasssss!
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2015 [7 favorites]




This is why I am afraid of Comixology. Between this, Saga, Ms. Marvel, Rat Queens, Lumberjanes, etc. I would be broke in a week.

I may have to risk it though.
posted by Hactar at 1:00 PM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


asking people to pre-order it places the burden of distribution on fans and the burden of the series failing (god forbid) on fans who didn't.

Yeah I reckon that is indeed the tweet's logic but it's a helluva messed-up way to read Pak's tweet. Because griphus is right, and also because the HEY EVERYONE PRE-ORDER is a bit like rooting for your favorite sports team. When To Kill a Mockingbird and Between the World and Me were respectively 1 and 2 on the New York Times bestseller list, I totally tweeted IF YOU'RE GOING TO BUY IT, BUY IT NOW, just because I wanted to cheer and watch the horse with my (actual and ideological) money on it pull into the lead.
posted by feral_goldfish at 1:01 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]




Yeah, I really wish he'd been around to see this.
posted by griphus at 1:04 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't read a comic book from the big 2 in twenty-two years and now it looks like I'm going to break my streak.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:12 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The pre-ordering thing is a tough one for me. I like Coates, I like Stelfreeze, and I want this project to be awesome. But I don't want to pre-order this because I've got no idea if this going to be good or not. The track record of books where Marvel brought in "name" authors from outside the genre is not that great. And I certainly don't want this book to fail and that be held up as some sort of example by the reactionary crowd amid cries of, "Pandering!" Ugh
posted by thecjm at 1:13 PM on September 22, 2015


I mean, I assume the whole PRE-ORDER IT NOW thing is directed at people who have a relationship with a local comic store and already have pull lists, and probably have things on those pull lists they don't even enjoy all that much and are either too lazy to take remove or trust the creative team, or trust the publisher to pick a better creative team for the next arc. So while even a single issue of a comic book can definitely be a financial burden on people, the sort of people being exhorted to pre-order are probably not going to break the bank by adding Black Panther to their pull list if they were at least halfway planning to pick it up anyway.
posted by griphus at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is super exciting news, Black Panther is an awesome character when done right and there is no doubt in my mind that Coates is gonna do it right.
posted by davros42 at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, I mean, again, while it sucks to bear the burden of a shitty industry, the risk/reward ratio is "four dollars poorer and in possession of yet another not particularly good comic book" on the one hand and "actively supporting what has the potential to be a groundbreaking work in comics" on the other.
posted by griphus at 1:25 PM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I pay for Marvel Unlimited, the $60 all-you-can-read subscription. If you do too, check out the Black Panther run during Secret Invasion. Not particularly typical of Black Panther, but gorgeous and smart.
posted by putzface_dickman at 1:34 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Disney makes a couple of billion dollars a year off of Marvel. They should be able to fund diversity titles like Black Panther or Ms. Marvel for as long as the creators have something to say without caring about sales. And once those creators are done get even bigger ones to keep at it. Give us a Bendis solo Luke Cage series, put Hitch on the Mighty Avengers, have Hickman return to Shield with a Nick Fury title. If Stelfreeze needs more time for art duties on this Black Panther get Phil Jimenez to fill in. And make their runs integral to the direction of the Marvel Universe not just shunted off to the side.

Hmm.... I may be one of those people Artw was referring to above.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:42 PM on September 22, 2015


I dunno, are you calling for Greg Pak's head for the crime of stating the bleeding obvious?
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on September 22, 2015


No, he brought us Amadeus Cho so I could never do that.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:54 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am so excited about this, I can't be bothered to care if fans on Twitter have found something to be upset about.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:55 PM on September 22, 2015


peeks into Metafilter while at work

OhmyGod
OhmyGod
OhmyGod
OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodOHMYGODOHMYGODOH
MY
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

passes out from sheer glee
posted by magstheaxe at 1:59 PM on September 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


I cannot wait to read this. If I had a local comic store I'd pre-order, but given that it closed two years ago, Comixology gets my money.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:10 PM on September 22, 2015


TNC was already like the coolest person in America; I didn't think he could get any cooler. Guess I was wrong.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 2:31 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


The last comic I was this excited about was the new Ms. Marvel series, and frankly, if this is as good? I'm hoping it starts to change mainstream superhero comics.
posted by mephron at 2:46 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hope there's a villain who tries to explain to the Black Panther why the Civil War wasn't about slavery.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:12 PM on September 22, 2015 [16 favorites]


Now if only Ta-Nehisi would throw in one more of his interests, and write it in French!
posted by zompist at 4:16 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ta-Nehisi Coates once replied to my comment on a post he wrote about how women were presented in comics. It was also my birthday. Years later, I still think about that when I'm having a bad day. (In my more selfish moments, I wish he'd just only write about comics and nothing else. He's a great, smart writer but I love what he writes about comics.)

While I'd kind of love to see him on a book more like The X-Men or some such (but Marvel's gotten rid of them or something? I hang out in a comic book store way too much and I can't keep up), I will happily take him on Black Panther. I can't wait for this.
posted by darksong at 4:40 PM on September 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Here's hoping it's not just stunt-casting and he can actually write a yarn.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:44 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Please don't be Kevin Smith."
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remain baffled that one of Marvel's leading heroes is called the Black Panther.

According to Wikipedia, the character existed before the party:
The Black Panther's name predates the October 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party, though not the black panther logo of the party's predecessor, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, nor the segregated World War II Black Panthers Tank Battalion.


Of course, the basic concept of a "black panther" as a general, all-around bad-ass predated all of that.

Here's Rudyard Kipling:

“A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was Bagheera the Black Panther, inky black all over, but with the panther markings showing up in certain lights like the pattern of watered silk. Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path, for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.”
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:48 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Disney makes a couple of billion dollars a year off of Marvel. They should be able to fund diversity titles like Black Panther or Ms. Marvel for as long as the creators have something to say without caring about sales.

The Marvel comics publishing arm actually only accounts for a very small percentage of that sweet, sweet Marvel money (Avengers: Age of Ultron took in more in its opening weekend than the comics business takes in in an entire year). The money isn't in the books, it's in the films and licensing. Coates' run should sell well enough go the full 12 issues though. Ms. Marvel doesn't seem to be in any danger despite ranking 62nd in unit sales and 87th in dollar volume on the August Diamond chart.
posted by MikeMc at 5:33 PM on September 22, 2015


Addendum: as to sales volume, Ms. Marvel sold about 35,000 copies in August sooo if Black Panther can do at least 20,000 (which it should) it will be considered a success. Hell, Marvel has titles selling below 5,000 (but those will probably be dead soon).
posted by MikeMc at 5:46 PM on September 22, 2015


Digital is the big unknown... I suspect Ms. Marvel dies great business there and in trades.
posted by Artw at 5:47 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


*does*
posted by Artw at 5:54 PM on September 22, 2015


zompist: "Now if only Ta-Nehisi would throw in one more of his interests, and write it in French!"

Historically, I think Wakanda was supposed to be vaguely in East Africa but if they relocated it to vaguely West Africa, there's a good argument for having France as the former colonial power there.
posted by mhum at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


IDK if Comixology release sales figures (being owned by notoriously tight-lipped Amazon I doubt it). I guess my point being that in this age of paltry sales (compared to '90s where titles routinely sold in the seven figures monthly) it shouldn't be too difficult for Black Panther to hang around for the full arc.
posted by MikeMc at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2015


What if Greg Land draws it?

We get to see T'challa's O-face.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:42 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mhum:"Historically, I think Wakanda was supposed to be vaguely in East Africa but if they relocated it to vaguely West Africa, there's a good argument for having France as the former colonial power there."

Canonically, Wakanda is a central African nation that has never been colonized. Klaw, a classic colonial filibuster is Belgian and a recurring antagonist to the Black Panther. He was played by Andy Sirkis in Avengers 2. He speaks French not Flemish. I'm not confident in the MCU's ability to address that without making a hash of it.
posted by putzface_dickman at 6:50 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Marvel comics publishing arm actually only accounts for a very small percentage of that sweet, sweet Marvel money

That's my point. The comics are tiny compared to all the money they are making off the properties so they can well afford to cover the costs of titles that don't sell well that are otherwise important.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:51 PM on September 22, 2015


putzface_dickman: "Canonically, Wakanda is a central African nation that has never been colonized."

Oh yeah. You're absolutely right. I totally blanked on that. Never mind then.
posted by mhum at 7:20 PM on September 22, 2015


That's my point. The comics are tiny compared to all the money they are making off the properties so they can well afford to cover the costs of titles that don't sell well that are otherwise important.

I guess I was unclear on what I was trying to say. The Marvel that makes billions is not the Marvel that publishes comic books. They are separate entities under the Disney corporate umbrella that share a name and some I.P. (film rights to Spiderman, X-Men & FF belong to Sony). The comic book publishing entity has to make its own money. It's the same at D.C., they can't just print whatever they want because the Nolan Batman movies grossed a bajillion dollars because that money actually went to DC's corporate parent Warner Bros. (of course after all the Hollywood accounts get finished every comic book movie will have lost millions of dollars). I get what you're saying but corporations being what they are...
posted by MikeMc at 7:21 PM on September 22, 2015


I get what you're saying, and there's nothing wrong with Disney requiring that Marvel Comics pays its own way, but the comics are still the generator of the IP being used for the movies, tv shows, merch, etc. So maybe Disney can play a slightly longer game and expand the market by actually putting resources into diversity titles even if the sales don't justify it. Marvel Comics is kind of like the R&D department of Marvel Studios. And by investing in the R&D they can get more people to watch their movies, buy their licensed toys or visit their theme parks.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:03 PM on September 22, 2015


I am so excited for this I am shaking. Also, Marvel is going to bankrupt me by the end of the year with new series. I already have Marvel Unlimited, what do you want from me, my blood?
posted by nicebookrack at 11:11 PM on September 22, 2015


It's actually cheaper and easier for consumers to "trade-wait" for a comic to be published in collected book form, instead of buying individual comic issues. But comics at the big two still live and die by the (too much) emphasis put on comic subscriptions and monthly issue sales. A struggling comic can be canceled and gone before it's ever published as a book to find that audience. I'll still trade-wait big titles like Batman and Spider-Man that I know aren't going anywhere. But in recent years I've made a point to subscribe to and buy more monthly issues for series that are created by and/or about women & POC, to support them. So I'll be subscribing to Black Panther long before I've read it.

RELEVANT TO YOUR INTERESTS: How to Subscribe to Marvel Comics Without Going Completely Broke

1. Sign up for Magazines.com and Ebates accounts.
2. Wait for the semi-regular Ebates sales for 40% cashback on Magazines.com (it looks like there's one right now).
3. Buy a 12-issue yearly mail subscription to a comic series for around $18 instead of $30.
4. Many of the Marvel NOW series print issues come with a code for a free digital issue of the comic. For those you're essentially getting twice the comic, since new digital comics are the same price as print.
5. (Optional) Sell or swap your free comic codes online. Profit!

These subscriptions are purchased through Magazines.com but are run by Marvel Subscriptions, who are pretty good about letting you email directly to futz with your subscriptions, like to switch your remaining issues from title A to title B if title A is crap or canceled.

The downsides to the subscription method are that Magazines.com doesn't carry all of Marvel/DC's titles, the comic can arrive rumpled by the mail, and you usually get the comics late around a week after their release date (I STILL haven't gotten A-Force #4, I need to email this week).

I've ended up print-subscribing mostly to the comic series that I enjoy but not the series that I love, i.e. "If I cannot read this on New Comic Wednesday I am going to die." (I have too many of these series. TOO MANY, MARVEL)
posted by nicebookrack at 12:11 AM on September 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


TNC's Twitter timeline is just full on trolling about Black Panther right now and it's glorious.
posted by kmz at 11:06 AM on September 23, 2015 [3 favorites]




Oh, and this gem: "Only crossover between my book and movies will a documentary exploring stagflation and Vibranium shortages." [I...would watch that? I think?]
posted by epersonae at 2:37 PM on September 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


What if Greg Land draws it?

It will actually not suck because of that.
Well, may not suck.

The Mighty Avengers was a pretty solid comic. Al Ewing's writing lifted it up.I have no doubt Ta-Nehisi Coates (a person I have only ever really heard of since that one episode of The Daily Show where he subbed for that dude that didn't turn up who may have been a US senator but it was a short while ago now, but I am not American, so I missed all the Fury/Barry/Hatemonger subtext recently) will do a bang up job for however few months it lasts or he sticks with it.

If this title lasts more than 24 months I will be surprised, but I don't think it matters. If the story is done in 24 issues, where's the harm?

As Warren Ellis proved recently: even Moon Knight can be amazing.

(Fun fact:Black Panther was one of my earliest favourite superheroes, and I dug MK in the West Coast Avengers era).
posted by Mezentian at 9:35 AM on September 25, 2015


Like all comics characters, there have been some great Black Panther runs and some bad ones...

Can anyone make a recommendation for a great/good/not-bad runs of Black Panther in collected book form?

In other news:
Back in the late 1980s I ended up sleeping (sort of sleeping) in a squat on the Lower East Side of NYC the night before (what turned out to be) a massive protest against Wall Street/capitalism/empire - complete with more thousands of cops than I have ever seen in my life, proto Black Bloc activists setting strategic intersections around Wall Street ON FIRE, and getting body-checked quite fiercely by a police horse into a stone wall. Even got my picture in the NYT (me yelling at some cops completely ignoring me).

Despite all of these titillating moments, my main memory of the event is the massive vivid mural on the front of the multi-story squat featuring the Black Panther leaping forward, fist held high, with a banner declaring "Fuck the Police" scrawled across it.
posted by jammy at 11:45 AM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]




Can anyone make a recommendation for a great/good/not-bad runs of Black Panther in collected book form?

I can't say I have read them, but Priest's run seems well regarded.
posted by Mezentian at 6:54 AM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


« Older Yellow or white, w/ or w/out germ, but always...   |   The tough, round heart of North American Jewish... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments