'Black Panther' writer Ta-Nehisi Coates will take on 'Captain America' next

'Black Panther' writer Ta-Nehisi Coates will take on 'Captain America' next
Image: marvel comics

Captain America didn’t have such a great 2017, but his 2018 is off to a great start.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has already done incredible work with Marvel’s Black Panther comics, and now the journalist and author has revealed his next project: Captain America. His first issue — Captain America #1 — drops on July 4, 2018.

Coates discusses his new Marvel gig at length in a personal essay published by The Atlantic. He makes it clear he’s not leaving Black Panther behind, but the opportunity to also work on Cap was too exciting to resist.

Steve Rogers is a USA-loving wimp who is transformed by a military-funded super-soldier serum into a living symbol of America’s core ideals. But his sincere belief in those ideals is often at odds with those in power, especially after he’s frozen in ice for decades, only to reawaken in the modern world.

“He is ‘a man out of time,’ a walking emblem of greatest-generation propaganda brought to life in this splintered postmodern time,” Coates writes. “Thus, Captain America is not so much tied to America as it is, but to an America of the imagined past.”

Coates sees and appreciates the “implicit irony” in this story about a man who so completely honors what his country stands for that he is often at odds with the people in charge of running the country. But he’s also drawn to writing the character because he sees it as an opportunity to filter his own opinions on the world through someone else’s perspective.

“What is exciting here is not some didactic act of putting my words in Captain America’s head, but attempting to put Captain America’s words in my head,” Coates writes. “What is exciting is the possibility of exploration, of avoiding the repetition of a voice I’ve tired of.”

In Black Panther, Coates has explored the challenge T’Challa faces as he wrestles with the tension between tradition, the status quo in Wakanda, and the evolving world outside its borders. It touches on many of the same themes as Ryan Coogler’s recently released MCU film.

How that approach might evolve in the new series remains to be seen, but there’s certainly fertile creative ground for Coates to work with in tackling Captain America stories for a Trump-era America.

Coates will be joined on the series by Leinil Yu, a Filipino artist who’s worked on a number of different Marvel projects over the past 20 years. He’ll be doing the comic’s interior panels. Covers, including the one from Issue #1 revealed in the tweet embedded above, will be created by comics legend Alex Ross.

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