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Black Panther’s ‘Wakanda’ Cancelled: Have We Hit Peak Superhero?

Editor's Note:

Today’s roundup also more from the author of “Hidden Figures,” as well as the hidden labor involved in that historical “Wonder Woman” photograph. Welcome to the Daily Blunt!

Despite the fanfare over “World of Wakanda,” an expansion of Black Panther written by the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, Marvel has canceled the new series due to sluggish sales. One critic cites this as evidence that the traditional sales model for comics — one issue at a time — simply doesn’t work for the new readers Marvel has courted with releases like this one: “Canceling a series that is primarily aimed at women, LGBTQIA+ people and people of color before it hits trade is incredibly short-sighted. Expecting these readers to pick up a comic in issues because that’s how the publisher wants them to read is just ridiculous.” She goes on to point out the dubious timing of the cancellation, just as people are getting hyped up for the “Black Panther” film. Others wonder if the comic book industry bigwigs are chasing their own customers away with too many superhero spin-offs and tie-ins that make collecting a chore: “Adding a second Black Panther title doesn’t double your sales; instead it causes x% of Panther readers to walk away instead.”

Literary releases happen more slowly, so fans of “Hidden Figures” are unlikely to feel the same way about the news that Margot Lee Shetterly will be writing two more books about important yet overlooked black American icons. Hit the link for more details on these forthcoming projects — unless you’d rather just be surprised by trailers for the Oscar-caliber films that are sure to be timed closely with their release. Suffice to say, this was not Janelle Monae’s only oppurtunity to shine on the big screen (she has a couple of projects stacked up to keep her occupied until more Shetterly adaptations are greenlit).

That historical battlefield photo of Wonder Woman and friends that played so prominently in the film? It’s a fascinating example of the coordination between different filmmaking teams working within the same cinematic universe. The image was first captured for “Batman vs. Superman,” and bringing it back for “Wonder Woman” meant that it had to be entirely restaged and reshot. Actor Ewen Bremner explains: “That was the first thing that we shot, before we’d even shot a scene [for ‘Wonder Woman’] we shot that photograph. It meant that when we eventually got around to shooting the scene that the [photograph] is from, we had to really painstakingly recreate it.” For those of us just trying to find continuity in our lives from one day to the next, this level of faithfulness is more than just inspiring — it’s downright intimidating.

How young is too young to talk to your children about the Big Bang theory? A new picture book called Georgia’s Telescope may change your answer. Author Neng Thao explains how his book primes kids to more readily absorb the scientific facts they’ll learn later in school: “The goal is not to get kids to understand all the details. At the end of the day, if they learn that the universe is growing, like they are, then I’ve done my job.” It’s thrilling to imagine future scientists fondly looking back at this moment in their childhood.