John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and Juann Cabal (Guardians of the Galaxy) will chart the future for T'Challa and Wakanda in a new Black Panther series launching in August. The new series follows Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther run, which concludes later this month. Ridley, once attached to develop a Marvel Television project before that studio was folded into Marvel Studios, made his Marvel Comics writing debut with a short story in Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood. He began writing comics for WildStorm in the early 2000s, most notably The American Way. More recently, he began writing for DC Comics, chronicling the adventures of Luke Fox in The Next Batman and examining DC history from a new perspective in The Other History of the DC Universe. Now he's lending his voice to an iconic Black superhero made more prevalent in popular by Chadwick Boseman's depiction of the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“First of all, Black Panther is just a great character in and of himself,” Ridley tells The New York 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.”
Ridley's Black Panther begins with T'Challa receiving an urgent message from a Wakandan operative. He describes the story as "a hybrid espionage-superhero thriller, but at its core, it’s a love story. And I don’t mean just romantic love, although there’s some of that as well. It’s love between friends.”
But Ridley says the story is more than escapism alone and hopes to touch on bigger themes. “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.”
What do you think about the new Black Panther series from Marvel with John Ridley and Juann cabal? Let us know in the comments section. You can see Alex Ross's cover for Black Panther #1 above. The issue goes on sale in comic shops and digital comics storefronts in August.