Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda
This is a gorgeous book. I understand I’m probably not supposed to lead with that. I can’t help it. It’s a beautiful cover on a hefty book that promises—actually shouts—adventure ahead! The book, a collection of short stories, doesn’t lie.
Don’t shy away from Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda if you’re not a Black Panther fanatic. Before I read the collection, I knew one thing about Black Panther: the movie. Yeah, I didn’t quite get some references, but I read books all the time where the references are a little lost on me. You roll with it, and figure you’ll get to an understanding, and you do.
That’s good storytelling. In fact, it’s such good storytelling I constantly found myself flipping back mid-story to the contributors list see who the author was.
My favorites were Sheree Renée Thomas, Troy Wiggins (so funny!), Danian Darrel Jerry, Cadwell Turnbull, and Harlan James. I love it when you read the first few sentences of a story, and you know you’re in good hands. I was with these writers.
It’s pure lagniappe that many of these great writers have Memphis connections. Troy Wiggins graciously helped me edit We R Righting Group to improve its pedological quotient, something way out of my narrative bailiwick. I add him to singer Valerie June, actor Phil Darius Wallace, storyteller Elaine Blanchard, author Dwight Fryer, minister Rev. Floridia Jackson, journalist and MLK50 founder Wendi Thomas, and so many others who gave their time and talents to help the Door of Hope Writing Group and its legacy. (Boy, that was a long tangent.)
You’ll like different stories than I did, depending on whether the story features your favorite character or not. Do you want a story set in Wakanda or enjoy the characters traveling to London or New Orleans or the Mississippi Delta (yep)? Is your joy quick action or psychological exploration?
The collection has it all.
I’m so glad a list serve I follow recommended the book. Otherwise, I might never have known the authors’ work. Or that there’s been more than one Black Panther. Or the true story of the metal vibranium. Or that the god Bast…