Electric Shadow

Evan Narcisse on Heroes and Afrofuturism

AC: Christopher Priest had this legendary run as a writer on Black Panther. Were you there from day one?

EN: Yes I was. 1998. I was there from that first issue under the Marvel Knights banner. I think I’d put together that Priest was the same guy who I had loved on Power Man and Iron Fist. In my late high school and college years, the lightbulb went off in my head that I should be following creators and not characters. With Priest, I knew that I could trust his sensibilities. Now that I’m writing the character myself, one of the things that I realized is that Priest really took the character back to these foundational understandings that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby put down. The Panther was a cunning strategist. In his origin issues of Fantastic Four, it says he’s been planning for years for his encounter with people from outside Wakanda. Priest brought that concept forward and turned T’Challa into a master strategist, turning the book into what I call a primary example of superhero statecraft. You got to see these big political issues in this fictional universe play out. What would it be like if one country had a superteam of heroes that went all over the world, inserting themselves into various melodramas? How would a guy from a hidden country interact with them? He would want to figure out what they were capable of.

I interviewed my friend Evan Narcisse, writer of Rise of the Black Panther, for the Austin Chronicle. This is ~1300 of the 4000 words I transcribed. The long version might make its way online at some point.