11 Black comics writers to read, from DC to Marvel and beyond

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World of Wakanda (Cover image via Marvel)

Roxane Gay

Before anyone gets too excited, you have to know that World of Wakanda, the series written by Roxane Gay, was cancelled after only six issues. Before you are completely overcome with disappointment or despair, take heart. There’s a possible epilogue to this tale that could be a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

You’ve almost certainly heard of Gay at this point. She’s become one of the biggest voices in academia, literature, and pop culture. That’s thanks to her unabashed feminism, fat activism, beautiful writing, and clear critical eye for everything under the sun.

Gay is also currently a visiting professor at Yale University (she previously taught creative writing at Purdue University, but left after disputes over her pay). Even without the doctorate and academic teaching career, it’s pretty obvious that Gay has the intellectual power to talk about darn near anything she wants to talk about.

In 2016, Gay and poet Yona Harvery were tapped as writers for World of Wakanda, a debut title connected to Marvel’s Black Panther. The story rose to prominence not just because it featured Black lead characters, or women at the fore (though it did both), but also because World of Wakanda had unambiguously LGBTQ characters at the center of the action.

World of Wakanda followed Aneka and Ayo, two former members of the Dora Milaje, the all-female special forces group that defends both the Black Panther and their country. The two grow closer during a series of dramatic events, including a siege by Thanos and an attack by aquatic villain/antihero Namor.

Yet, only two days after the premiere of the first Black Panther movie trailer in 2017, Gay announced that the series was cancelled. Marvel never gave a reason for the abrupt end to World of Wakanda, but critics pointed to a possible backlash amongst Marvel editors against the growing call for diversity. It also likely had a lot to do with the difficulty of getting substantial sales and subsequent editorial buy-in for new titles.

That’s not all for Gay and comics, though. In December 2018, she released a preorder announcement for the upcoming series, The Banks. This non-superhero comic follows three generations of Black women who are justice-minded master thieves. It’s set to ship out later this year, with fans surely waiting with great anticipation for Gay’s latest comic work.