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Roxane Gay becomes first Black woman to write for Marvel Comics

By K. Nicole Mills,

Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay

With all of the amazing news surrounding the cast of Marvel’s upcoming feature film Black Pather, it’s important that we note that Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay will join forces with Ta-Nehisi Coates and poet Yona Harvey for a new Marvel comic series titled Black Panther: World of Wakanda. Gay and Harvey will make history by becoming the first black female writers in the Marvel comic universe.

“Black women are also doing the covers and art … And no. It doesn’t make sense that I am the first, in 2016. But I won’t be the last.” – Roxane Gay

World of Wakanda will primarily focus on “Ayo and Aneka, two lovers who are former members of the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s female security force.” The goal of this series is to go deeper into the stories of the women of the Black Panther universe. Gay and Harvey were both personally sought out by Coates to bring a female perspective to these two characters, and to deeply explore the lives of black women and queer black women.

“I love being able to focus on women who are fierce enough to fight but still tender enough to love…It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way. The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that.” – Roxane Gay

Coates emphasized the importance of having diversity both on the page and on staff at Marvel, telling The New York Times: “We have to open the door. 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.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates was tapped to write Black Panther in fall 2015. The series has released three issues so far, to tremendous success. Black Panther: World of Wakanda is scheduled to debut in November of this year.

Gay is the author of countless pieces of fiction and non-fiction, and is best known for her collection of essays titled, Bad Feminist, where she writes about the representation of black lives on screen and on the page. Gay’s most recent novel, An Untamed State, will be adapted into a feature film by Gina Prince-Bythewood, and will star Gugu Mbatha-Raw.


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