Ta-Nehisi Coates: ‘Politics Are in the Background’ for ‘Black Panther’ Reboot

By Sameer Rao Apr 06, 2016

Ta-Nehisi Coates offered readers a preview of his long-awaited "Black Panther" reboot last month. Today (April 6), fans can finally buy the full comic, and Coates has a lot to say about its inspiration and politics. 

"This isn’t my chance to talk about #BlackLivesMatter in comic book form," the prominent cultural critic and columnist for The Atlantic said in a new Wired Q&A. "This is not a propaganda sheet. This is supposed to be exhilarating, fun to read. The politics are in the background. What’s in front is people punching each other."

Still, Coates’ first foray into comic books pulled from some aspects of politics—specifically, as he explains, revolutionary history:

The plot involves a terrorist attack on Black Panther’s kingdom of Wakanda, which spurs a popular revolt. How influenced were you by the ongoing war on terror?

A lot. I was also influenced by the recent wave of revolution through the Middle East and the American Revolution. Once these revolutions are done they might be perceived as heroic, but it doesn’t always look heroic at the time. It might look downright villainous. I mean, the American revolutionaries tarred and feathered people.

Black Panther, one of the Marvel universe’s most prominent Black protagonists, will hit the big screen in a Ryan Coogler-directed movie set for a 2018 release.

 Check out Wired’s full Q&A here.