A new "Black Panther" series is official at Marvel, with the creative team announced by the New York Times. The book is set to debut this spring, to be written by acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates -- making his comic book debut -- and illustrated by veteran comics artist Brian Stelfreeze.
"I don't experience the stuff I write about as weighty," Coates, National Correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of National Book Award nominee "Between the World and Me," told the New York Times. "I feel a strong need to express something. The writing usually lifts the weight. I expect to be doing the same thing for Marvel."
In his journalism career, Coates is distinguished for significant work on the topic of diversity and the Black American experience, with lauded articles including "The Case for Reparations" and "Fear of a Black President." He's also made his love for comic books clear on several occasions, in articles such as "The Broad, Inclusive Canvas of Comics," published earlier this year.
Coates cites current Marvel event "Secret Wars" and its writer Jonathan Hickman as an inspiration for his comics work. "You don't come in off the board and come in at that level. But it helps to want it to be great. I want to make a great comic. I really, really do."
The initial "Black Panther" arc is described as a "yearlong storyline," and is titled "A Nation Under Our Feet," a deliberate reference to the 2003 Steven Hahn book of the same name. The Marvel story is said to "find the hero dealing with a violent uprising in his country set off by a superhuman terrorist group called the People."
"It's going to be a story that repositions the Black Panther in the minds of readers," Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso told the NYT. "It really moves him forward."
Marvel's new "Black Panther" series is scheduled to debut next spring.