Black Panther: World of Wakanda Wins a GLAAD Award, Time for the MCU to Catch Up

An image from the cover of Black Panther: World of Wakanda.
An image from the cover of Black Panther: World of Wakanda.
Image: Marvel

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.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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Let’s get all the objections to this article out of the way:

  • Yes, including the scene of Okoye and Ayo flirting would have been a very small representation of LGBTQ+, but it would have been something, which is all people are asking for: something, rather than nothing.
  • Yes, Okoye is married in the film, but, hey, married people still flirt. Also: bisexual people exist.
  • “The cancellation of World of Wakanda shows that comic fans don’t really care about LGBTQ+ relationships.” No, it represents the fact that Marvel didn’t know how to market it, nor the fact that it should have been listed as a limited series, rather than an ongoing one. It’s only currently that Marvel appears to be embracing limited series, rather than introducing a bunch of ongoing books and then cancelling them once they didn’t sell immediately.
  • “Giving us any relationship would have been intrusive to the story.” Which is totally why we got straight relationships in Black Panther and straight flirting in Thor: Ragnarok.