The world of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ and Brian Stelfreeze’s Black Panther is quickly expanding. In fall 2016, the National Book Award Winner teamed up with writers Yona Harvey and Roxanne Gay as well as with artists Afua Richardson and Alitha Martinez to launch World of Wakanda, a series focusing on two secondary characters from Coates’ and Stelfreeze’s Marvel comic. Today, Coates and Harvey announced that they would be working together on another spinoff entitled Black Panther & The Crew.
As TIME originally reported, Black Panther & The Crew is a “revival” of former Marvel editor and writer Christopher Priest’s series. Set in Harlem, the story will focus on T’Challa, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Manifold.
Explaining the conceit behind the series, Coates elaborated on the role of Harlem in Black Panther & The Crew. He said that “each of these people for various reasons has a conflicted relationship with the neighborhood…What happens when T’Challa is walking down the street without his [Black Panther] uniform and people don’t recognize him, he’s just a black person? Same with Storm.” Coates hopes to explore the dichotomy between street level heroes and “cosmic level heroes” as well as what it means to “operate on both levels.”
When asked about the extent to which Coates’ career as a political journalist plays a role in his comics writing, he responded that “Those things don’t influence each other as much as you would think…What weighs on me is reading X-Men as a child. Those books influenced me so much. They were charged, they dealt with discrimination, they dealt with being an outsider. They dealt with the things that I was feeling.”
Speaking to the challenges of capturing racial issues in the periodical comic format, Harvey said that “I think it’s a good challenge because it gives people a touchstone for the current moment, but there’s still this imaginative space where the story can unfold. There’s a nice tension between those two things, the real and the fantastical.”
Alex is the Managing Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at Papercutz. He is your go-to fella for creator interviews, conversations about comic book structure, and general DC Comics nerding. Currently geeking out over movies, too.