Roxane Gay And Yona Harvey To Write Companion Series To Black Panther Focused On Black Women
Author, educator and Bad Feminist Roxane Gay is adding another line to her resume. According to The New York Times, Gay is set to write a new Marvel comic book. World of Wakanda, which will be released in November, is the companion story to the series and upcoming film Black Panther.
Gay will be joined by poet Yona Harvey to complete the series.
Gay told The New York Times, My agent was not thrilled that I was taking on another project.” But she said writing comics exercised a different creative muscle. “It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way.”
Author and national correspondent for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote for the Black Panther series, also joins Gay and Harvey to write a book that follows two lovers, Ayo and Aneka. The two are former members of the Black Panther’s female security force Dora Milaje.
Gay said, “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that.”
Coates recruited both Harvey and Gay for the project saying that it was important to have women breathe life into the characters, as the women in Black Panther’s life are so important.
Coates said that he chose Gay because she read a zombie story at a conference two years ago that was surprising, unexpected and the coolest zombie story you ever want to see. And he felt, Harvey, his friend, would be a good fit because of his notion of how poetry correlates with comic books. “That’s just so little space, and you have to speak with so much power. I thought she’d be a natural.”
The hiring of these two women comes at a time when Marvel, as well as the rest of Hollywood and the media, are being critiqued for their lack of diversity in the industry. The recently announced Iron Man character Riri Williams, while great for representation, was still written by a White man and illustrated by a Brazilian artist. When the image of Riri was released, Abraham Riesman, of Vulture, asked: “Aren’t we losing a tremendous opportunity by not having people who look like those characters tell their stories. Marvel just need more black creators and women creators, period, doing all kinds of series.”
Thankfully, a long established goal of the company is for the characters and their creators to reflect the world.
Still, Gay understands why people of color are so impatient. She said, “In general, people of color are underrepresented in most storytelling.” She spoke about the frustration many people of color feel “when you get sort of a trickle, and you need a flood.”