Saturday, December 17, 2016

For Monday: Coates, Black Panther

For our last discussion class, be sure to read Coates' Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book One. Like Ms. Marvel , this really isn't a graphic novel but a collection of the first four issues of the new Black Panther comic. Black Panther is a hero who first appeared as a kind of quasi-villain in an old Fantastic Four comic (see the back of our edition for that comic), and gradually became more and more of a mainstay in the Marvel universe. However, he was one of the few representatives of an African superhero (much less African-American), and because of that, he's been reacted to in positive and negative ways. Often, his race and identity was downplayed, while in this comic, it becomes the core of the entire story. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer for this comic, is a celebrated writer who has a string of best-selling works, including Between the World and Me. He also recently wrote a controversial article in The Atlantic entitled "The Case for Reparations," where he discusses the historical precedent for making reparations to a race or group of people who were enslaved, tortured, or persecuted. It will be interesting to see how you feel his politics/social agenda spill into the comic. 

Here's an interview with Coates discussing his take on Black Panther and how he deals to negative reaction from long-time fans who might be puzzled with his take on the work. You can read the entire article here:

As he says later in the article, "This is horrible to say, [but] I can’t be responsible to the fans. I can’t write for them. The old fans from years ago are listening to this going, “What the fuck, man?” But I don’t think an artist can. I don’t think even I want to consume art where people are writing for me, or to me. You have to write to the ages. I have to write in such a way that I think that five years from now somebody will pick this up and say, “Damn, that was incredible.”

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