So with the news that there’ll be a Black Panther movie coming up in a few years, I thought it would be a fine time to indulge in some fancasting! Not for the movie, I mean, but for the inevitable relaunch of the comic book series, to coincide with said movie. Who would be great choices to take over on a Black Panther solo series? Here’s some of my picks:
I’d imagine Felipe Smith, having relaunched Ghost Rider with a sensational new take on the character and concept, would be at the top of anybody’s fancast for a new Black Panther series. A writer and artist, the aforementioned Ghost Rider series was his most high-profile work to date – and was absolutely fantastic. Done with character and verve, but with an eye to the visual storytelling, he’s worked with people like Tradd Moore and Ron Wimberly to make that series an incredible, unexpected triumph. It’d be great to see him cast an eye across the Atlantic, and take on the adventures of T’Challa.
Having recently completed work on the miniseries ‘Genius’, Afua Richardson’s star is on the ascendency. With a flowing, free-spirited nature, her artwork would perfectly fit the effortless glide of Black Panther as he heads into battle. He’s a strategic thinker when fighting, and Richardson’s work would lend perfectly to illustrating just how adept he is at hand to hand combat. Richardson’s caught the eye of the public, and of publishers – she has her first superhero work coming up soon. Wouldn’t she be a perfect choice for Black Panther, subsequently?
NB! She was previously linked to a speculated Storm solo series a few years ago – proven false at the time, although now there actually IS a Storm series out there… Marvel?
The newly-announced writer of a Shaft series across at Dynamite, Walker is an accomplished writer and blogger (I put him in my fancast on the basis of this motivated blog post alone). A lot would depend on the reception that the Shaft series receives, but one thing I’ve noted across the last few months is just how prolific and adept at PR he is. He’s managed to really get word out about a book at a publisher who don’t always get the same attention as Marvel/DC/Image enjoy, and he’s gotten a lot of people to rally around the title. It feels like an event, now, and I want a Black Panther book to have that same level of enthusiasm behind it. Walker would bring that to the title.
HE’S BRIAN STELFREEZE! WHO ARE YOU TO SAY NO?
N. Steven Harris
I thought I’d place these two together, simply because their last collaboration was for the Eisner-nominated sixth issue of Watson and Holmes. There, their collaboration brought the Harlem setting to life, with expressive, meaningful storytelling and a sense of humour twinkling behind the eyes of each character. Together they bring out something brilliant in one another – but don’t get me wrong, here. Either of them alone would be a coup for a new Black Panther series, and it feels about time that Easton, to be particular, got a break into the Big Two. He’s been writing well-received comics for ages, and still hasn’t been invited in for work at Marvel. It’s about time.
One of the most admired artists in superhero comics, Coipel is brought out almost always for Marvel’s biggest storylines and launches. He does events, he does anniversary issues – his every comic is something of note. And that style (and his A-List power, frankly) would make him a perfect fit for Black Panther. He already drew perhaps the best Black Panther moment of the last decade – let’s see him bring that to the first arc of a new BP series?
The editor of Smut Peddler – which you’ll almost certainly have heard about over the last few weeks – is also a particularly strong comic-maker as well. Her webcomic Templar, Arizona is a good example of all the qualities that would lend themselves intriguingly to Black Panther. She’s able to build and establish an entire world of her own – which would put her in a good position should she take over running Wakanda, which is distanced from America and the rest of Marvel’s Universe. She’s also great at offering a complete mix of characters, all interplaying off each other in different and unexpected ways, with politics and prejudices subtly affecting their every decision. She’s be able to bring the political element to Black Panther – something which has proven in the past to bring out the best in the character.
Massively admired for his creator owned work like King of Cats, Wimberly has recently come across for a project or two at Marvel already. He’s done some cover work for books like Mighty Avengers – which you can see above – and also, currently, interiors for She Hulk, which brought his art to the attention of a whole new audience. He’s dynamic, expressive and always interesting. He’d bring a proper sense of edge and movement to Black Panther’s world, and I can’t help but imagine that his approach to Wakanda would be something of real beauty. He can do rough and gritty work, but he can also bring a sense of fantasy to a story. As writer or artist, he’d shine on Black Panther.
I’d like to see more from Jimmie Robinson. His ‘Five Weapons’ miniseries – turned ongoing series – was utterly wonderful, a terrific story which emphasised intelligence over brute force. Imagine having a writer of Robinson’s capability handling Black Panther? He’s also a superb artist and storyteller, and could jump in every so often for an issue both written and drawn by himself. That would be, I’d imagine, a real event for Black Panther fans. Robinson is a smart writer who doesn’t seem to be as appreciated as he should be. Marvel would be smart to approach him for Black Panther.
See my comment about Brian Stelfreeze. Denys Cowan is an industry legend, and should always be one of the first names that comes to mind whenever thinking of a new comic about ANY character.
Those are just A FEW ideas to get the ball rolling. I didn’t even mention Karl Bollers, Clayton Henry, Damion Scott (JUST IMAGINE) or any of the other creators who could absolutely nail the inevitable new Black Panther series. Who would you like to see as the relaunch team?