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Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to adapt one of the decade’s best comics

He’ll produce the ethnogothic adventure story ‘Bitter Root’

From Bitter Root #1, Image Comics (2018). David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Greene/Image Comics
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Ryan Coogler, director of Fruitvale Station and Creed, has signed on to produce a film adaptation of Bitter Root, a comic series about an African-American family of monster hunters in the Harlem Renaissance.

The series, created by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene, was one of Polygon’s best comics of 2018. In an essay published within Bitter Root’s pages, professor of media and cultural studies John Jennings placed the series in the “ethnogothic” genre, a reclamation of gothic horror, which has often made its bread and butter by presenting the ethnic human “other” as grotesque and monstrous.

But in Bitter Root, it’s hate created by fear of the unknown or unfamiliar that turns people into monsters, literally. Those creatures are the foes of the Sangerye family, a legendary line of adventurers and protectors of the innocent. The series combines the pulp trappings of H.P. Lovecraft with meaty issues of identity — it could make a fantastically unique film, and Coogler is well qualified to helm the production alongside Zinzi Evans and Sev Ohanian.

Among Coogler’s other upcoming projects is Black Panther 2, due on May 6, 2022.

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