Ta-Nehisi Coates's Black Panther run is in its final issues, and Brian Stelfreeze, the original artist of that run, says it was "really moving" to discover how much the character means to people.
"It was really moving to see what that character meant to people," Stelfreeze tells Newsarama. "How people saw so much of themselves represented in character, especially the kids. It seems odd to say it but Ta-Nehisi brought such gravitas to the character and the series really feels important and I'm humbled to be a part of it."
Stelfreeze's run as Black Panther's interior artist ended with May 2017's #12, but not before he redesigned many elements of the Wakandan mythos that have carried over into films and other ancillary projects.
"It really reminds me that these stories we do can carry much deeper meaning to people and that they are more than just funny books."
Stelfreeze is currently working on introducing his own hero with the creator-owned series Thomas River.
When asked what keeps driving him to draw, write, and create here now in 2020, Stelfreeze says it's about sharing emotions and thoughts with the world.
"Sometimes it's just chasing the answer to the question 'what if," Stelfreeze explains. "Sometimes it's the frustration of not being able to do anything about the tragedy that I read about or see on television. Probably, most of all, it's about getting the opportunity to share in emotion or project a thought into the world. Even if it's just about escaping for a moment and making someone laugh.
"My drawing table is my open mic and sometimes my soapbox and I get to talk to the world," he continues. "What can be cooler than that?!"
Stelfreeze and Coates' run is one of the several of our list of the best Black Panther stories of all time.