Black Panther and Afrofuturism

Saw Black Panther Wednesday night. Loved it.


It’s a movie with a primarily black cast that isn’t ludicrous, exploitative, or obsessed only with the black experience in the United States. (Not that it ignores that issue. On the contrary, American blackness is integral to the plot. It just isn’t the be-all, end-all. Black Panther manages to embrace both American blackness and African blackness.)

Not being black myself, I’m not going to try delving further into that. I have no doubt the subject is covered elsewhere.

I just want to say something about Black Panther’s ultra-fucking-cool Afrofuturism. The film is absolutely gorgeous and lush. It’s visuals are tremendous and I did not mind one bit sitting through the seemingly endless VFX section of the credits. If you dug that aesthetic and wonder where you can find more like it, well:

Afrofuturism. There’s strains of it in the weirdness of Parliament Funkadelic’s albums, so it’s been around a few decades. There’s supposedly a TV adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy coming (high hopes here, and if you’ve not read them you should). Alastair Reynolds gave us a trilogy (beginning in Blue Remembered Earth. Not his best work, but – being the work of a white British guy – was reasonably good.)

And then there’s Yohance. Check it out here. Yohance is an Afrofuturist space opera comic, crowdfunded, heavily researched, created by Paul Louise-Julie.

Louise-Julie studied pre-colonial African cultures to create the aesthetic of the comic, which also owes a lot to his life-long love of Star Wars. Are you hearing me? This comic is like an African Star Wars.

“Yohance tells the story of a Master Thief on the hunt of a mysterious artifact. Little does he know that he’s stumbled into the heart of an ancient intergalactic conflict… ”

Interested? The first two issues, 44 pages each, can be found here. And just look at this:

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