Black Panther wasn’t just amazing because it was a film about a black superhero in a bulletproof catsuit reconciling with his nation’s damaging isolationist history. It’s also amazing because, unlike many films, black women were playing autonomous characters with roles central to the film’s plot and spirit. Now Shuri, T’challa’s cheeky and brilliant younger sister, is getting her own standalone comic book series.
Marvel Comics announced the series back in July, but now fans finally have an arrival date. The new comic will hit shelves on October 17 and is being written by the award-winning Nigerian-American science fiction author Nnedi Okarafor.
What’s pretty amazing about the character is the fact that, beyond the film, she’s relatively new to the whole comic universe. Even though Black Panther was introduced in 1966, no one knew he had a sister until 2005 when Shuri made her first appearance in comic book panels. In the MCU, Shuri is responsible for many of the advancements made to Wakandan technology, including her brother’s panther suit. But, in the comics, she does so much more. In her page book debut, she actually challenged her brother for the title of Black Panther and isn’t just a genius, but an elite warrior as well. She has even replaced T’challa as the ruler of Wakanda for a time.
“I wanted girls who read the book to feel as empowered as boys,” said Reginald Hudlin, the producer and writer who created Shuri. “So, I wanted her to be smart and tough and brave and everything you think of as a Black Panther, so that eventually she would be a Black Panther as well.”
Ultimately, Okarafor wants to lift Shuri out of her status as a supporting movie character and give her back some of the edge that she had in spades as a comic book character.