Marvel's latest series with storytelling entertainment platform Serial Box, Marvel’s Black Panther: Sins of the King debuted last week with a story that sees T'Challa, King of Wakanda dealing with the challenges of being a good and fair king, a global citizen, and a hero as a member of the Avengers but also sees him deeply challenged when an army of the undead threatens Wakanda and forces him to face an even bigger threat in the demons of his past. The project, which offers the story as both an audio experience narrated by William Jackson Harper and an e-book written by Ira Madison III, Mohale Mashigo, Geoffrey Thorne, Tananarive Due, and Steven Barnes, explores several themes that are both universal and incorporates African culture and Afrofuturism.
With Black Panther being such a popular character, ComicBook.com recently spoke with Thorne about the project and how he sees Marvel’s Black Panther: Sins of the King fitting into not only the appreciation for the character and the kind of stories that can be told within his world but the importance of diversity in the stories we consume more generally. Thorne noted how the Black Panther movie changed things, but that there has always been an audience and a desire for stories and characters more reflective of the world and the work is now on the creatives to tell those stories.
"I think that we're at an interesting crunch point in, I don't want to say entertainment, in artistic understanding of one another because there's a very convoluted list and a lot of stories that weren't getting told or were being told a limited fashion," Thorne said. "I think the people who make these projects -- and Serial Box was already doing this before they licensed the Marvel stuff to mess around with their universe -- but in the big world, you know, the MGMs and the Disneys and all that, I think that they just didn't realize that there were all these underserved markets out there in the world. People were perfectly happy to show up for a movie that didn't feature someone like them, that's fine because that's what we were used to. But no one had ever really, really tired to put out a Black Panther on the same level of James Bond or Star Wars. No one had really tried that. And when they got this billion-dollar hit, I think they were genuinely surprised, pleasantly. But I think it hit them a little flat-footed. So, what I'm hoping, and I keep saying is, it's kind of on the creative side now."
As for Serial Box's Marvel’s Black Panther: Sins of the King, Thorne explained that there's a lot to the story it tells that is universal even with being centered around Black Panther and asks big questions about what justice means and what makes a hero and that the Serial Box format allows for that exploration in a way comics do not.
"These concepts are so, it's a moveable feast so there are things that you can and can't do in the comic book version that I sometimes feel like the comics try a bit too hard to grapple with, certain thing that superhero comics are not necessarily built in the comic book realm to grasp, giant, like really complex social issues. You can do it, but you have to be an exceptional writer to pull off because the venue is so tight and so small and, for a lack of a better word, two dimensional," Thorne said.
"It's difficult, but when you shift it towards the features and towards books, you get to live inside the audiences' head. And you can show more and do more. So, when you say is there a message that can be taken away I think that there are probably several. What is justice? What does that mean? What perspectives are in play when we discuss justice? What makes a hero versus simply a soldier or an operative?"
He added, "So, with the messages that come out of these things there is, you know, what do you owe the past? What ancestral crimes can you commit and when does that note stop being owed or how do you pay that back.”
You can check out the synopsis for Serial Box's Marvel's Black Panther: Sins of the King below.1comments
"The Black Panther has a terrible secret. T'Challa strives for excellence—to be a fair and worthy king, a global citizen, an Avenger. But when an army of undead threatens Wakanda, The Black Panther turns to his long-lost father in the fight against his most lethal opponent yet—the demons of his past."
The first chapter of Marvel's Black Panther: Sins of the King is now available on Serial Box. New installments release weekly through March.