Critically acclaimed author and cultural critic Ta-Nehisi Coates will be tackling a new medium next spring: he’ll write a new Black Panther series for Marvel! “A Nation Under Our Feet,” the yearlong story line written by Coates and drawn by Brian Stelfreeze, will see Black Panther tackling a violent uprising in Wakanda, and, we’re going to assume, will also provide commentary on tensions in current, non-Wakandan society. The title was inspired by Steve Hahn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration.
Coates, who is a correspondent for The Atlantic, and whose book of essays, Between the World and Me, is both a bestseller and a nominee for the National Book Award’s nonfiction prize, also happens to be a giant comics nerd. Speaking with The New York Times, Coates said that “It was mostly through pop culture, through hip-hop, through Dungeons & Dragons and comic books that I acquired much of my vocabulary.” When he began reading comics in the mid-1980s, he was introduced to three important characters: Storm, the leader of the X-Men; Monica Rambeau, who had taken on the name Captain Marvel; and James Rhodes, who was Iron Man. “I’m sure it meant something to see people who looked like me in comic books. It was this beautiful place that I felt pop culture should look like.”