2016 is going to be a big year for Black Panther. Not only will the first black superhero finally make his way to the silver screen for the first time in Captain America: Civil War, but Marvel Comics just announced a surprising but welcome name for the new writer of the Black Panther comic: Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Coates has long been a correspondent for The Atlantic, where he's authored some tremendous pieces on the subject of race, including "The Case for Reparations." More recently, he was was named one of ten finalists for the National Book Award in nonfiction for his book Between the World and Me.
Coates has long been a fan of superhero comic books, which he calls "an intimate part of my childhood." At the Times, he recalls reading Marvel comics in the 1980s and encountering black characters like Storm, Monica Rambeau and James Rhodes in their pages. "I'm sure it meant something to see people who looked like me in comic books," he said. "It was this beautiful place that I felt pop culture should look like."
The announcement follows some recent controversy over of the lack of black creators among Marvel Comics. While the addition of a single writer isn't an instantaneous fix to a more systematic issue of diversity, it's hard to imagine a single writer who would be a better pick for Marvel than Coates.