Why This Black Panther Magazine Cover Really Matters

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We’re about seven months away from the release of Black Panther, but just in time for San Diego Comic Con next week, Entertainment Weekly has released their latest cover dedicated to the film and the Afrofuturistic kingdom of Wakanda.

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To be honest, this cover could probably serve as a better poster than the awkwardly photoshopped one Marvel put out last month. Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong’o all look fierce as all hell on the cover—and the stills from the movie are stunning as well.

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But the cover has a deeper significance. Dedicating the Comic Con preview issue to Black Panther is essentially centering blackness in nerd and pop culture. It’s a declaration that black superheroes aren’t niche, nor are they auxiliary to white superheroes. They are mainstream (and for Marvel, bankable) characters.

Sure, this cover is part of the same annual Comic Con press merry-go-round that previously honored Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Batman V. Superman (also featuring Wonder Woman), the Avengers, and Spider-Man (which featured Jamie Foxx), and uh, Larry Hagman’s JR from the Dallas revival. But it’s still a big deal that the first big superhero movie dedicated to a black hero, directed by a black person and steeped in Afrofuturism, is getting the same fanfare.

I’m not always one for the superhero movies (especially when they keep recasting white dudes for the same exact role), but I truly cannot wait for this one.

Isha is a staff reporter who covers pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.

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