I have been frequently awed by Ta-Nehisi Coates's thoughtful observations on politics and race in America. But I'll be honest: I was somewhat disappointed by his first run of Black Panther comics. It felt, to me, more like a Coates essay accompanied by some action sequences. The ideas were there, and the art by Brian Stelfreeze was spectacular, but it just didn't grip me as a dramatic narrative. (His Captain America, illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu and others, has left me similarly cold.)
Fortunately, Coates is a certified MacArthur genius, and a deft enough writer that he learned on the job with an impressive swiftness. I read the first eighteen issues of Coates and Daniel Acuña's epic Black Panther space opera The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda in just two days, and am eager to devour the rest once it's available (I read most of my comics on Marvel Unlimited).
So to tide myself over, I decided to check out Coates's brief run on Black Panther and the Crew with illustrator Butch Guice. A nod to or revival of Christopher Priest's similarly Panther-inspired 2003 series, The Crew, the comic brings T'Challa to Harlem, in a loose team-up with some other Harlem-affiliated superheroes, including Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Storm from the X-Men. It's an intergenerational story about Black liberation and revolution, that begins with the death of an elderly Black activist in police custody during a series of ongoing protests against racist police brutality. The conspiracy at the heart of the murder mystery organically weaves in gentrification, astroturfed agitators undermining protests, and algorithmic policing that's never as unbiased as it claims. Read the rest
Looks great, but honestly it could use more Hawkguy. Read the rest
In addition to breaking box office records, Black Panther has quickly established itself as one of the best and most unique films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the credit for that belongs largely to director and co-writer Ryan Coogler. In this fascinating “Notes on a Scene” video for Vanity Fair, Coogler talks through the production design, costuming, fight choreography, color story, themes, and character-building that went into creating one of the film’s best fight scenes—an undercover mission in which T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and Okoye (Danai Gurira) set out to capture Andy Serkis’ villainous Ulysses Klaue at an underground Korean casino.
And if you enjoyed that video, you can also watch Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi break down an action scene from his movie right here:
After a Friday night screening of Black Panther, Marvel's new film that celebrates African culture and pride, a group of South African moviegoers ecstatically danced outside of the theater.
That celebratory vibe was felt here in California too.
My daughter and I saw the movie in Alameda at its first showing Thursday evening and the energy in the room was wild! The theater was packed and there was lots of cheering and clapping all throughout the film.
Also here in the Bay Area, the film's director and co-writer Ryan Coogler surprised the audience before Friday night's show at Oakland's Grand Lake Theater (where lines wrapped around the block):
— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) February 16, 2018
Born and raised in Oakland, Coogler delighted more local fans by making surprise appearances at select movie premieres in San Francisco and Emeryville.
It may be less than two-minutes long, but the Black Panther teaser trailer is already one of the best things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Creed’s Ryan Coogler, Black Panther will be the MCU’s first superhero film with a black lead, although Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa already made his debut in Captain America: Civil War. Along with the teaser trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, it looks like there are a lot of promising things in Marvel’s future. You can read a detailed breakdown of the trailer over on the Cinematic Universe website. Black Panther hits theaters February 16, 2018. Read the rest
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.