Ta-Nehisi Coates will write the next series of Marvel Comics’ “Black Panther” to be published in spring 2016, according to the New York Times on Tuesday.
Black Panther — whose non-superhero name is T’Challa and hails from the fictional African country Wakanda — was created in 1966 and was the first black superhero. (He’s since been joined by other black characters such as Luke Cage, the Falcon, Col. Nick Fury and others, though diversity levels in comics overall remain low.)
The formal relationship between Coates and Marvel began after Coates interviewed Marvel editor Sana Amanat about diversity in comics for the New York Times Magazine’s New York Ideas, according to the newspaper. Amanat led the charge for the creation of the first Muslim Marvel character, Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel.
The Times reported the storyline will be called “A Nation Under Our Feet” and is inspired by the 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name.
“I don’t experience the stuff I write about as weighty,” Coates said about his new gig, according to the Times. “I feel a strong need to express something. The writing usually lifts the weight. I expect to be doing the same thing for Marvel.”
If you’ve followed Coates on Twitter, he often talks about his love of comics and which issues he recently read. In April, he broke down how comics have conquered pop culture in the last 75 years for New York magazine.
This is not the first expansion of the Black Panther character. The Marvel Cinematic Universe will also feature the Black Panther/T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016 and a feature film for the character in 2018.