📘 Rider professor pens new Black Panther comic

📘 The first edition of the new Black Panther Anthology series celebrates Black History Month

📘 Sheena Howard taps into African folklore for an inspiring story

Marvel Comics just dropped the first of their new Black Panther Anthology series, WAKANDA FOREVER #1, and giving voice to the story is a communications professor at Rider University.

Dr. Sheena Howard is the author of “The Illusion of Fairness,” one of five new stories about the heroes of Wakanda in MARVEL’s VOICES: WAKANDA FOREVER #1.

The release is part of the Marvel Voices program and celebrates Black History Month by highlighting the Black writers and illustrators who bring the Black panther's world to life.

Howard was thrilled to be chosen to participate.

Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

"Over the years, people have been telling me they want more African mythology in the comics they were seeing, Howard said, "I knew they wanted that, so I always thought, ‘When I get the opportunity at the highest level, I am going to take that into consideration.’”

Her Black Panther story centers around the training of new member of the Dora Milaje, the women warriors who protect their African nation of Wakanda. She says she drew on a traditional African folktale featuring a character that originated in Ghana named Anansi, who is commonly depicted as a spider.

Marvel celebrates Black History Month with this special one-shot featuring the iconic heroes of Wakanda! Black Panther, Shuri, Okoye and more star in all-new stories by an incredible lineup of both fan-favorite creators and talent fresh to the Marvel Universe. Join them as they grow and expand the inimitable world of Wakanda in these tales of myth, adventure, strife, and more! Including the debut of the LAST Black Panther in a story set in Wakanda's future! Marvel's Voices program is the first stop in getting deeper looks into the world outside your window! - Marvel Comics on the new Black Panther release

In addition to being a creator, Howard is also considered a scholar of Black comics. In 2014, she became the first Black woman to win an Eisner Award, which is considered the Oscars of comics, for her first book, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation.

She says she didn't read comics as a child, she discovered them as an adult as part of an academic pursuit, and fell in love with the genre.

While this is her first story set in the Black Panther's world, she has written superhero stories before. Howard is credited for DC Comics’ Wonder Woman Black & Gold #6.

DC Comics
DC Comics

She hopes to do another superhero comic in the future. "I’m super happy and grateful and I want to do more," Howard says, "I’m hoping to write more Wonder Woman. I would love to write more for Marvel. Right now I’m focused on building myself up as a creative writer in general."

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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