Set in the fictitious African nation of Wakanda, the six volumes of the Black Panther comic book weave plots that are faithful to superhero tropes and aware of Black nationalist discourses. The storylines focus on deterring white dominance, tribal warfare, and mineral exploitation. Creating characters conscious of the threats to their autonomy is an opportunity to reframe the “Black power” trope. This photo essay explores how iterations of raced and gendered figures in mainstream and independent comics are used to mediate and meditate on certain social anxieties. The images and their associated captions explore how Afrofuturism in “Black” comics not only provides illustrative cases of actual Black social life and political crossings engaged with cultural Black archives, but stimulates complex engagements with Black feminist thought in order to advance the liberation struggles of mutant, racialized, and gendered bodies seeking empowerment and social justice.

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