“The world of the Black Panther, the Marvel Comics hero who hails from the fictional African country of Wakanda, is about to get bigger. Marvel announced on Friday a companion series, World of Wakanda, which is to premiere in November.
And just like the current Black Panther series, which is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author and a national correspondent for The Atlantic, the new comic will be written by newcomers to the industry: the feminist writerRoxane Gay and the poet Yona Harvey.
“My agent was not thrilled that I was taking on another project,” Ms. Gay said. But learning to write comics exercised different creative muscles, which she said she found exciting.
“It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way,” she said.
Her story, written with Mr. Coates, will follow Ayo and Aneka, two lovers who are former members of the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s female security force. “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that,” she said.
The first issue of World of Wakanda will include a 10-page second story by Ms. Harvey about Zenzi, a female revolutionary who incited a riot in the first issue of the Black Panther series. Mr. Coates, who recruited both writers, said he thought it was important to have female voices help breathe life into these characters. “The women in Black Panther’s life are very, very important,” he said.
Mr. Coates recalled a conference about two years ago, where Ms. Gay read a zombie short story. “It was the most surprising, unexpected, coolest zombie story you ever want to see,” he said. “When we started thinking about writers, she popped up right away…”