The socially symbolic figure of the superhero comes into close contact with vernacular intellectual critiques of race and modernity through the much-anticipated film adaptation of Marvel’s Black Panther comics. This article analyzes the implications for queer approaches to black popular cultural production of the knowledge practices that inspire Black Panther’s depiction of an African utopia. The intertexts involved include histories, travel writings, and other comics. Focusing on the divergent treatments by authors Christopher Priest (1998–2003) and Ta-Nehisi Coates (2016) of the title character’s black female comrades-in-arms, this reading interrogates how race consciousness and colonial legacies inform the discourses of desire operating within the text. The term desiring blackness describes an orientation to reading that defers to African Americanist and black diasporic considerations to ground the task of interpretation in conditions that elicit compromise among disparate lines of theoretical inquiry: queer phenomenology, decolonial epistemology, Afrofuturism, and queer of color critique.

You do not currently have access to this content.