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All hail the Orphan King.
The first pages of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther comic book series have been released by Marvel Entertainment, accompanying an essay in The Atlantic by Coates about the comic’s creation, revealing a king out of step with his country as he faces a threat from within his own domain.
“Despite the difference in style and practice of storytelling, my approach to comic books ultimately differs little from my approach to journalism,” Coates writes in the essay accompanying the preview. “In both forms, I am trying to answer a question. In my work for The Atlantic I have, for some time, been asking a particular question: Can a society part with, and triumph over, the very plunder that made it possible? In Black Panther there is a simpler question: Can a good man be a king, and would an advanced society tolerate a monarch?”
The series will, he explains, attempt to dramatize the concerns verbalized in his journalism and other writing.
“Chris Claremont’s The Uncanny X?Men wasn’t just about an ultracool band of rebels,” he writes. “That series sought to grapple with the role of minorities in society — both the inner power and the outward persecution that come with that status. And so it is (I hope) with Black Panther.”
The first issue of Coates’ 11-issue run on Black Panther, illustrated by Brian Stelfreze, will be released in comic book stores and digitally in April. More pages are available to view at The Atlantic.
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