GM Recommended Reading: Black Panther – A Nation Under Our Feet

From the Golden City to the Nigandan Border Region to the Hekima Shulē Academy, explore the high-tech world of Wakanda in the latest Black Panther arc of the Marvel comic book universe! Dive into the turmoil of a nation faced with a familiar villainous face as terrorists and citizens alike begin to question their King and the monarch that claims to protect them. After all, “No one man should have that much power.”


Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer of the critically acclaimed Between the World and Me. Although he has been praised as “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States,” he did not have the focus of race in mind when beginning this project. During his interview with the Atlantic, he describes his approach towards writing Black Panther as one focused on the quality of his work rather than diversity because what matters most, as a creator, is that your creation is held up to a high standard. It is this high-standard approach that allows the reader to focus on the complexity and depth of Black Panther’s character as a king, son, and human with strong morals that are put into question throughout  the arc.

As a creator, you can only tell yourself so many times ‘It’s so cool having this black dude doing x, y, and z.’ In fact, you really shouldn’t be telling yourself that at all. – Ta-Nehisi Coates

Of course, the visual aspect of this story is just as important as its textual counterpart which is why having someone as talented as artist Brian Stelfreeze (penciller, inker, cover artist and colorist of easily hundreds of DC and Marvel projects) is so important. In an interview with HowStuffWorks, Stelfreeze reveals that his first step in the illustration process of this project was talking with “physicists, politicos, and different people to find out how to make this world real.” He then practices the style of the genre with his newfound research, begins laying out the panels, and finally details the images only after the lettering as been placed. It’s his meticulous planning, practice, and design that truly helps bring the nation of Wakanda to life.

I wanted to take influences from every part of Africa. So, Wakanda is this African melange… from all these different, both classic and modern, cutures – Brian Stelfreeze