100 Black Innovators in 10 Days (DAY 8: Comic Book Writers)
Welcome to 100 Black Innovators in 10 Days, a campaign aiming to showcase the work, voices, and impact that these innovators have had throughout history. Today we are featuring the work of 10 Black Comic Book Writers. Sewing together the worlds of animation and literature, comic book writers bring their imaginations to life through a number of different mediums. From adaptations of classic characters like Black Panther and James Bond, to new and original series of their own like Concrete Park and Adam: The Legend of the Blue Marvel, these writers never fail to welcome us into new and exciting worlds.
Christopher Priest (1961 - )
Often credited just as Priest, Christopher Priest was the first African-American writer-editor to work for a mainstream American comic book publisher, having been hired as an editor at Marvel in 1979 after previously interning at the company. Priest helmed a massively influential run on Black Panther in the '90s, with his work later serving as a major inspiration to the 2018 Marvel Studios film.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (1975 - )
In 2016, Ta-Nahisi Coates made his debut as a comic book writer, relaunching Black Panther for Marvel. After concluding his run, Coates relaunched Captain America in 2018 emphasizing the Star-Spangled Avenger's crusade to better represent the people by confronting institutionalized injustices.
Vita Ayala (1985 - )
Vita Ayala is a non-binary, Afro-Latinx writer from New York City who has steadily built up an impressive catalog of work for virtually every major publisher in the United States. From Dynamite Entertainment's recent relaunch of James Bond to the upcoming Dawn of X series Children of the Atom, Ayala has worked on a number of prominent titles and doesn't seem to be slowing down.
Dwayne McDuffie (1962 - 2011)
One of the most celebrated, trail-blazing figures in comics was the late Dwayne McDuffie, a prolific writer, producer and editor in comic books and animation. In 1997, McDuffie became a series writer for the Static Shock animated series, then moved onto writing for the Teen Titans animated series and Justice League.
Reginald Hudlin (1961 - )
Both prior to and while heading the BET, Hudlin wrote extensively for Marvel Comics, including Marvel Knights Spider-Man and a popular run on Black Panther that saw the Wakandan King marry Storm. Hudlin went on to produce the acclaimed Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained and co-wrote the comic book adaptation.
Angela Robinson (1963 - )
Angela Robinson is a writer and filmmaker who has written for the HBO series Hung and True Blood. She directed D.E.B.S., an award-winning film that centered the stories of lesbian and bisexual spy school prodigies. Robinson wrote the first four issues of DC Comics The Web, and she is one of only two black women to write comics for the publisher.
Erika Alexander (1969 - )
Erika Alexander is an actress and writer, famous for roles such as Pam Tucker from The Cosby Show and Maxine Shaw from the 90’s sitcom Living Single. However, Alexander is also the scribe behind the spectacular sci-fi comic Concrete Park.
Kevin Grievoux (1962 - )
Kevin Grievoux is an actor and writer for both TV and film. He is the creator of the Underworld series of movies, as well as I, Frankenstein. Grievoux’s most well known comic title is probably Adam: The Legend of the Blue Marvel, a mini-series that explores the story of a forgotten Civil-Rights era superhero who can be seen in the pages of current titles like The Ultimates and Mighty Avengers.
Felipe Smith (1978 - )
Smith is known for his work on Peepo Choo, a manga that studies the collision of American and Japanese cultures. He has worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and is also the writer of Marvel’s all-new Ghost Rider series, which is the first appearance of Robbie Reyes as Ghost Rider.
Roxane Gay (1875 - 1955)
In addition to her work as a writer, professor, editor, and social commentator, Roxane Gay also wrote World of Wakanda, a spin-off from the Marvel Comics' Black Panther title, in collaboration with Ta-Nehisi Coates and poet Yona Harvey. Gay and Harvey became the first two Black women to author a series for Marvel. In addition to World of Wakanda, Gay has also written several books including Hunger, Bad Feminist, Difficult Women, An Untamed State, and Ayiti.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned as we highlight 100 black innovators from a wide range of fields. We hope you feel inspired by the accomplishments of these immensely talented individuals.
In case you missed it, check out the other innovators we have highlighted so far: