World of Wakanda: A New Marvel Comic Series

by on July 27, 2016 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Media, Women's Rights

marvel comics graphicBy South OB Girl

While thousands of people were attending Comic-Con last week, Marvel Comics announced the release of a new comic book series on Friday July 22. The superheroes will be women. And the series is being written by women.  George Gene Gustines, writing in The New York Times July 23rd issue, did an interesting review of the series, entitled, “Marvel Shines a Spotlight on Women.”

Wakanda is a fictional African country, and the world of the Marvel series, Black Panther. World of Wakanda will be a companion series. And will premiere in November.

The current Black Panther series is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, author and a national correspondent for The Atlantic. The new comic will be written by two women, who are writing comics for the first time: the feminist writer Roxane Gay and the poet Yona Harvey.

Ms. Gay’s story, written with Mr. Coates, will follow Ayo and Aneka, two female lovers who are former members of the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s female security force. Ms. Gay is quoted in The New York Times:

“The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that,” she said.

The first issue of World of Wakanda will include a story by Ms. Harvey about Zenzi, a female revolutionary who incited a riot in the first issue of the Black Panther series.

Gustines wrote in Saturday’s New York Times article:

“Mr. Coates, who recruited both writers, said he thought it was important to have female voices help breathe life into these characters. “The women in Black Panther’s life are very, very important,” he said.

Marvel comics NYTThe first issue of Black Panther, which was released in April, sold more than 300,000 copies. Issues 2 and 3 each sold more than 75,000 copies. With the success of Black Panther, it is not a surprise that Marvel is adding the companion series.

Abraham Riesman, an editor for Vulture, the New York Magazine website, who covers comics said about this new series and its creators —

“Aren’t we losing a tremendous opportunity by not having people who look like those characters tell their stories?” His conclusion: “Marvel just needs more black creators and women creators, period, doing all kinds of series.”

Additionally the series is a reflection of a long-time goal of Marvel — to have its characters and their creators reflect the world of today. For example: the Muslim Ms. Marvel, the black Captain America, the Korean-American Hulk and the female Thor, among other diverse heroes.

Mr. Coates has been aware of the arguments about gender and comic books for some time. In the New York Times article he is quoted: “We have to open the door,” he said.

“It’s not, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if there are more women writers, more women creators in comics?’ That would be nice, but in many ways, it is kind of an imperative.”

Coates also recalled in The New York Times, an occasion when an editor at Marvel was asked why Captain Marvel, who formerly wore a revealing costume, switched to a more militaristic uniform. The editor said he wanted his daughter to be able to dress as the hero for Halloween.

“The idea is that the world of comic books, the Marvel universe, should be as open to his daughter as it is to my son…” Mr. Coates said.

So perhaps at next year’s Comic-Con we will see Ayo and Aneka in costume. And we can expect Hollywood to be not far behind the comic book’s release — and the series could quite likely be adapted for film, like the blockbuster X-Men movies and Iron Man.

Source:  George Gene Gustines, “Marvel Shines a Spotlight on Women.” The New York Times. July 23, 2016.

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