Next week, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates wraps up his five-year run writing Marvel’s Black Panther series. Today via the New York Times, Marvel announced it would be launching a new Black Panther series written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley and drawn by Juann Cabal.
“First of all, Black Panther is just a great character in and of himself,” Ridley told the Times. “But being a young Black kid growing up, every time you saw a hero that looked like you, even if their background didn’t reflect my lived experience, it was just something that made you feel closer to the wish fulfillment that is intrinsic in graphic novel writing.”
John Ridley is no stranger to the world of comics. He is currently writing The Other History of the DC Universe and The Next Batman: Second Son for the Distinguished Competition. Back in 2015, Ridley was reported to be developing a series for Marvel Television, but it seems safe to assume that it never came to be. At least Ridley is now working on a Marvel comics property.
Details for the series were vague but the NYT article did reveal some things.
In the new story, Black Panther receives an urgent message from a Wakandan operative who is in danger. “It’s a hybrid espionage-superhero thriller, but at its core, it’s a love story,” Ridley said. “And I don’t mean just romantic love, although there’s some of that as well. It’s love between friends.”
He said he thought about his closest childhood friends “and the ways that we ran together and how our lives changed over time.”
He said he also wanted to reflect upon the last year. “We’re coming out of a summer where we saw Black people fighting for our rights, standing up, fighting in ways that we haven’t had to do in years,” he said. “And it was really important to me after the year we had where we can have these conversations with Black people and we can use words like love and caring and hope and regret and all these really fundamental emotions that everybody has.”
Take a look at the cover by Alex Ross below and look for Black Panther #1 to arrive in stores on August.