Roxane Gay has made a name for herself in the literary world for tackling issues of feminism, race and representation in her books Bad Feminist and Untamed State as well as in her regular contributions to outlets such as The New York Times and The Nation.
Though her resume is incredibly impressive, it got an exciting boost earlier this year when Gay signed on as the first black female writer at Marvel comics.
“I’m the first black woman to write for Marvel,” Gay explained to the Huffington Post. “Which makes no sense. I didn’t know that when I signed on. And quite honestly, they didn’t either.”
Gay’s comic series is called “World of Wakanda,” and is part of the “Black Panther” universe created by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The Between the World and Me author asked Gay to join him in developing the companion project alongside poet Yona Harvey.
“World of Wakanda” will focus on two women, Ayo and Aneka, who are members of the Dora Milaje, the elite all-women fighting force that protects the royal family of Wakanda, a fictional African country first explored in “Black Panther.”
“I’m focusing on black women and the two lead characters are in a relationship,” Gay explained. “They’re queer women. That’s never been done before, so that’s definitely going to be a hallmark, of writing black queer women into the Marvel canon.”
“It’s so important to see a breadth of representation in comics,” Gay remarked.
“Representation matters,” she continued. “People want to be able to see themselves and, on the other side, we want to be able to tell our stories. Not even our stories, but stories about people who look like us and share common cultural experiences. We’re finally getting to a place as a culture where we can demand it.”
She concluded: “It’s important to show a range of different ways of living and moving through the world and the different kinds of bodies and different backgrounds and cultures. We’re not all the same, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The more we put difference in front of people, the less kinds of problems we’re going to have understanding one another.”
“World of Wakanda” is set for release this November.
h/t: Huffington Post