Marvel grabbed some international headlines when it announced that its relaunched Black Panther title, following the “All-New, All-Different” reboot of its line, would be helmed by National Book Award winner and superstar Atlantic columnist Ta-Nehisi Coates. And the first issue, which was released last month, earned that attention–the debut was a confident, assured story of the inner workings of the nation of Wakanda and its superheroic leader, T’Challa.
But if all of that sounds a little confusing–where the eff is Wakanda, and how does anybody pronounce “T’Challa”?–Marvel’s got you: To accompany each issue of the title, they’re launching a video series in which Coates explains the world of Black Panther. The first episode–which launches today–gives a basic primer: The background on the fictional African nation of Wakanda, and how its ruler doubles as a super-scientist and a superhero.
Future installments can go further in-depth, creating a “previously on” effect that helps serve as a way in for fans intrigued by Coates’s participation–or by Chadwick Boseman’s interpretation of the character in Captain America; Civil War and the Panther’s own forthcoming solo film.
It’s an interesting prospect for comics. Stan Lee famously said that “every comic book is somebody’s first” as a reminder that these things need to be accessible, and anything that makes ongoing titles with a whole lot of history easier for new readers to pick up and get immediately is a good idea. Using some light animation, a hip hop score, and an overview from Coates himself is a clever way to market the book to people who might just be waiting for an extra push to find out what the future holds for Black Panther.