Award-winning Nigerian-American sci-fi author Nnedi Okorafor will release a comic book centered around Shuri from Black Panther in October.
In the comic, Shuri — the daughter of King T’Chaka and Queen Ramonda and the half-sister of T’Challa — is portrayed in a much stronger role than before. When T’Challa is lost in space, Shuri is forced to leave her comfort zone of working in her lab to lead the people of Wakanda. She faces the dilemma of choosing between herself and her beloved nation.
Alexandria Madry, a sophomore studying nursing, thinks it is pretty cool to have the representation of Shuri in comic books, as she believes Shuri is underestimated in the movie.
“You don’t really see many comics for African-American women,” Madry said. “With the movie coming out, a lot of people looked up to her as an ideal. So, a comic book would be really cool.”
Madry believes Shuri helped with more behind-the-scenes technical stuff and wasn’t given her due credit in the movie.
“They put her brother in front of everything,” Madry said. “She got credit, but not as much as she should have gotten.”
Patty Stokes, an assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, recognizes that the central character in the movie is a man, but she highlighted that the supporting characters are all women.
“I love them very much,” Stokes said.
Stokes thinks Shuri’s character goes beyond the rigid, narrow character of a scientist. Shuri engages with everyone instead of being a stereotypical “detached from the rest of the world” scientist.
“People tend to think of a scientist as a white guy with glasses, wearing a white lab coat and a sour look on his face,” Stokes said. “Scientists look like everybody else, but we don’t see it represented — particularly when it comes to people of color, Black women, Latino women and more."
Jacob Haskins, a graduate student studying college student personnel, believes Shuri’s character in Black Panther was great because she was a scientist and a confident woman. However, Haskins also finds it interesting that she did not try to fight for the throne after T’Challa was overpowered by the villain, Erik Killmonger.
“I think it was just a part of their society where men are in charge,” Haskins said. “Although she has a strong character and stuff, she just didn’t want to fight that battle.”
He also agrees with Madry on creating more representation for people of color. He believes it is important for kids to be able to see themselves in comics.
“I’m a white man, so comic books have always been cool for me,” Haskins said. “I can see myself in the character and see a piece of me in it.”
Lawrence Wright, a freshman studying chemical engineering, is also very excited to read Shuri’s comic book. He believes comic books play an important role as they help people understand different cultures and different parts of the world.
“Different representation and different points of view are good to have,” Wright said. “Once (people) see how well it is — because I definitely know it’s going to do well — it will inspire other authors to create work similar to this one.”
He believes the comic book is a must-read for younger generations.
“It will help inspire people from different cultures,” he said. “It will help inspire pretty much everyone to feel like they can do more of what they want to do, rather than just seeing the stereotypical male from white culture have all the good roles.”
Wright hopes the comic book will lead to a movie centered around Shuri and “how good she is.” He believes the authors could have done more to showcase her talents and strengths.
“They could have given her the throne for a bit,” Wright said.
Wright believes it is important for him to read the novel because if the authors are taking time to write about something that relates to him, then he should read it.
“If not then what I am really doing? Not representing my culture,” he said. “Wakanda forever.”