A same-sex relationship may have been left on the cutting room floor of Marvel’s Black Panther film, but the comic that showed how two Wakandan women fell in love has been recognized as a standout graphic novel for LGBTQ representation by GLAAD.
Black Panther: World of Wakanda has received the GLAAD Media Award for Best Comic, presented on Thursday. Created by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, Alitha E. Martinez, and Afua Richardson, World of Wakanda was a follow-up to Coates’ successful Black Panther relaunch in 2016. It tells the story of the Dora Milaje, the all-female bodyguard unit that protects the Wakandan royal family, as the country struggles with societal unrest. At the center of this saga are Ayo and Aneka, who fall in love and form a relationship.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Black Panther film was set to include flirting between Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Okoye (Danai Gurira), but it wasn’t in the final version. This was disappointing, as it was yet another opportunity for Marvel to feature some form of LGBTQ+ representation in its film universe that it eventually decided to reject. It was especially upsetting in this insteance because, as shown in World of Wakanda, that form of representation was already there, on Black Panther’s pages.
As a special bonus, I’d like to remind you that World of Wakanda, along with every other graphic novel on GLAAD’s nominations list this year, has already been canceled.