Marvel Is Bringing Diversity Behind The Scenes With A Black Woman Lead Writer

Best known for her book of essays entitled Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay is a writer on the verge of changing the game for Marvel

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Roxanne Gay is a writer on the verge of changing the game for Marvel. Best known for her book of essays entitled Bad Feminist, Gay has been chosen by Marvel to be the first black female lead writer for a Marvel comic. Gay told the New York Times, “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that.”

Gay is not embarking upon this iconic journey alone. She will be working alongside black female poet Yona Harvey. Their comic, “World of Wakanda” is a series inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther series. The story will follow Ayo and Aneka, two lovers who are former members of the Black Panther’s female security force, Dora Milaje.

Miles Morales as Spider-Man.

Miles Morales as Spider-Man. (source)

Gay, a Nebraska native, received her doctorate degree from Michigan Technological University. Her first book is a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about her Haitian heritage titled Ayiti. Her essay collection Bad Feminist covers pop culture, politics, race, gender, and the way they intertwine with feminism.

She is the founder of PANK Magazine, a literary magazine that publishes up-and-coming writers that will appeal to adventurous readers. Gay is an essay editor emeritus for The Rumpus and an associate English professor at Purdue University.

“World of Wakanda” is one of many strides Marvel is making to diversify its comic book universe content. Many are pleased with the announcement that a black female girl-genius will be the new Iron Man. Additionally, superheroes of color like Miles Morales as Spider-Man, Lunella Lafayette as Moon Girl and Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel are making bold introductions.

Lunella Lafayette as Moon Girl

Lunella Lafayette as Moon Girl (source).

Gay’s induction into the Marvel family is a big deal for several reasons. The inclusion of a black female author makes it clear that the welcoming of diversity is happening behind the scenes, as well as on the page. The debut of “World of Wakanda” is just as historic as its lead writer. The two lead roles will feature two unambiguously queer characters.

Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel.

Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel. (source)

Working on “World of Wakanda” may be Gay’s most exciting project right now, but it certainly isn’t her only one. She is working with director Gina Prince-Bythewood to create an adaptation of her novel An Untamed State. The novel tells the story of a Haitian-American woman who is kidnapped on a vacation to Haiti. The adaptation will star Gug Mbatha-Raw.

Its release will be in conjunction with the publication of her fourth novel, Hunger. Hunger is a nonfiction memoir about Gay’s relationship to food and her body. She will also soon be releasing her first collection of short stories, entitled Difficult Women.

World of Wakanda cover

Cover Image for World of Wakanda, a story inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ series on the Black Panthers. (source)

Roxanne Gay will not be the first black woman to write for comic books. Hopefully, her inclusion into the Marvel universe will be a first step to welcoming black female comic book writers into the spotlight. Gay’s words in the introduction to Bad Feminist speak volumes with respect to the greatness sure to come with “World of Wakanda”:

“I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”

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1 Comment
  1. […] Roxane Gay has pulled her forthcoming book, How to Be Heard, from Simon & Schuster in response to its reported $250,000 book deal with Milo Yiannopoulous. […]

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