feature: ta-nehisi coates gives behind-the-scenes preview of much-anticipated revival of marvel comic’s “black panther”, via the atlantic

March 18, 2016

Journalist/essayist/cultural critic/comic book geek Ta-Nehisi Coates gave The Atlantic an exclusive behind-the-scenes preview of the making of his revival of Marvel Comic’s Black Panther. The much anticipated first release has already sold 300,000 copies, more than twice as much as last month’s top seller, Dark Knight III, which sold just under 150,000. In the article, Coates gives us a literary and procedural breakdown of the creative process with illustrator Brian Stelfreeze. “Brian, whose art is displayed here, doesn’t just execute the art direction—he edits and remixes it. I decide the overall arc of the story, and the words used to convey that arc—but Brian ultimately decides how the story should look,” writes Coates. It’s clear that Coates takes the world of comic books seriously. Not in a silly way, but in a way that raises the bar and serves as a reminder that the best comics are grounded in reality. X-Men isn’t necessarily about weirdos who can do cool shit. “Chris Claremont’s The Uncanny X‑Men wasn’t just about an ultracool band of rebels. That series sought to grapple with the role of minorities in society—both the inner power and the outward persecution that come with that status,” this approach Coates hopes to translate in his own comic. 

Black Panther No. 1 comes out April 6.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor

*Erin White is an Atlanta-based writer and AFROPUNK’s editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at