Making steps toward remedying contentious behind-the-scenes diversity issues, Marvel Comics has tapped essayist and novelist Roxane Gay and poet Yona Harvey to write for Black Panther companion series World Of Wakanda, the New York Times reports. The news comes shortly after the company faced criticism for announcing a black female Iron Man written by a white man, Brian Michael Bendis. “Since Marvel’s founding in 1939, it appears that not a single black woman has penned a comic for [the company],” Ira Madison III wrote at MTV News. “That is insane.”
Gay’s story concerns Ayo and Aneka, a romantically involved couple who were formerly part of Black Panther’s all-female bodyguard team, the Dora Milaje. The Bad Feminist author is co-writing the comic with Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is penning the superhero’s ongoing series to great acclaim. Meanwhile, Harvey’s story is about Zenzi, a character familiar to readers of Coates’ take on the superhero. Coates, according to the Times, was responsible for getting both Gay and Harvey on board.
In an interview with the Times, Gay called writing the comic “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way.” She added: “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that.” According to the Times, World Of Wakanda is scheduled for a November release.