The Black Comic Lords checked in with Dr. Eve L. Ewing to ask five questions (and one bonus) about the current Black Panther run. She graciously answered the ones she could respond to.
1. T’Challa is still referred to as the “former King of Wakanda”. Is T’Challa still Emperor of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda? Will you soon be addressing his status as Emperor?
2. Arguably the 3 most popular runs in “Black Panther” comics (prior to yours) are “Jungle Action” (McGregor), Volume 3 (Priest) and Volume 4 (Hudlin). Of the 3, which do you think has the greatest influence/inspiration on your series? How? Why?
3. What is the significance to the feathers on M’Teli’s Black Panther habit?
4. We see M’Teli use “magic”, or at least ancient science to defeat Kivu’ma. He then says, “I too bear the wisdom of my elders and a reverence for the old ways…in the name of Bast and her acolytes.” Did M’Teli also receive his powers directly from Bast, much like T’Challa did when he became King of the Dead in Fantastic Four #608 and #609, thus making him able to access the powers and knowledge of his predecessors?
5. In your second issue, T’Challa says, “I still have all the powers imbued by the heart shaped herb”. Does T’Challa no longer have his powers directly from Bast as King of the Dead? If not, when/how/why did that change?
BONUS QUESTION: What has been the most challenging and rewarding in writing “Black Panther” for you?
[Dr. Eve L. Ewing]
Hi BCL team! Some of these things I can’t answer because they either create spoilers or foreclose space for me or other writers to do interpretive work in the future, but the things I can respond to are detailed below.
Arguably the 3 most popular runs in “Black Panther” comics (prior to yours) are “Jungle Action” (McGregor), Volume 3 (Priest) and Volume 4 (Hudlin). Of the 3, which do you think has the greatest influence/inspiration on your series? How? Why?
Of prior Panther writers, I’m most influenced by my friend and mentor, Ta-Nehisi Coates. But of those three, it’s tough. In many ways Priest’s run will always be the iconic run that has come to define so much of the character as I know him, including the inner life that is so much the core of this story. I’ve also mentioned to you all before that part of how I write is trying to complement what has been done before or fill in empty narrative spaces, and so the fact that so much of Priest’s run takes place in New York City is also why I really wanted to go deeper on the nation of Wakanda itself in this run.
What is the significance to the feathers on M’Teli’s Black Panther habit?
This is a question for Matt Horak and Mack Chater! But I will say that I put together a vision board for the look of this historic era of Wakanda, and that was pretty fun. I pulled up a lot of fashion influences from both the African continent and abroad, and I was thinking about how the architecture would be different, how the Hatut Zeraze would look different… that was cool.
What has been the most challenging and rewarding in writing “Black Panther” for you?
Challenging: people speculating before my first issue came out that I “hate T’Challa,” (what?) or that because I’m a feminist I was going to kill him off and make Shuri the Black Panther. Why would I take on a project where I hate the title character? Because I’m a woman writer people had a lot of very bizarre prejudices about what kinds of stories I want to tell before reading one single page. But I mostly try to tune that stuff out.
Most rewarding: the artistic team has been just incredible. I think Chris Allen is going to go down as a legend. If you look at his pages, there is so much detail, so much care and skill into every aspect of the characters, the anatomy, the combat, and the environment, you almost can’t stand it. The other rewarding thing is that I’m really proud of the character work on this run. I hope we are deepending people’s understanding of who T’Challa is, and I’m also really proud of Beisa, N’Yobi, and the Nkisu and Ilonga crime families, and Kivu’Ma, especially the chance to dive into his origin story in this issue. I have a lot of affection for these folks and I think they are solid contributions to the Marvel universe. And of course the city of Birnin T’Chaka! …So clearly, at this point, everything, lol.
Dr Eve L. Ewing’s Black Panther run is now available online and in stores.
Want to hear more from Dr. Eve L. Ewing? Check out our long form interview with her!