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Black Panther receives female-led companion series, World of Wakanda

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Spotlighting the woman in his life ahead of theatrical debut

Marvel Comics will launch World of Wakanda this November, expanding superhero Black Panther's universe ahead of his big-screen premiere. The series of short stories will be helmed by various notable figures in other fields, like feminist critic Roxane Gay.

World of Wakanda will highlight not just lesser known characters in T'Challa's — a.k.a. Black Panther’s — life, but, as Gay told The New York Times, will help turn the focus on diverse characters in Marvel’s stable. The comic’s first issue will star Ayo and Aneka, who are romantic partners as well as ex-members of Black Panther’s security detail.

"The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that," Gay said about her first job in the comics industry.

Gay will co-write Ayo and Aneka’s story, which makes up the first half of issue #1. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who currently writes the main Black Panther series, will pen the script alongside her.

A second story included in the volume will be written by Yona Harvey, a poet and professor. That, too, stars a female person of color: Zenzi, who Black Panther fans will remember from his debut issue.

Black Panther and various other characters from Wakanda will appear in theaters on Feb. 16, 2018. Ryan Coogler is directing the character’s first feature film, following his debut appearance in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War. Joining star Chadwick Boseman will be Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and Danai Gurira, who was announced as part of the cast at San Diego Comic-Con.