Marvel Studios has worked with London stylist Matthew Josephs and photographer David Uzochukwu to create Wakanda Zine, a limited edition, street-style magazine dedicated to Black Panther’s fictional nation. Working mainly with black British designers and creatives, the zine imagines the culture and aesthetic of Wakanda’s people, incorporating influences such as Afro Futurism, punk and London’s own street style.
“I’m a classic geek, growing up on video games and comics,” Matthew explains, saying the Black Panther stories particularly stood out to him. “Seeing black people on the pages of a Marvel comic left a lasting impression on me, and the Dora Milaje (a female special forces team in Wakanda)! A whole other level of female representation. That’s very punk and is something we wanted to bring out on each page.”
David used the glimpses he’d seen of the Black Panther film as a basis for his work, as well as National Geographic, “even though we were aiming for a fictitious fashion publication”. “The subjects should stun for an instant,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Matthew had created these fantastic characters, now I wanted to present them as the kind of person that scares you as much as they excite you.”
The photographer used a bold colour palette to complement all the characters, shot on eye level or from below to "let them become more impressive. Sometimes I estranged the subjects – stretched their body out, obscured eyes, turned them alien colours – to make it a bit harder to relate to them. Sometimes I had spotlights on them, or light that made their skin stand out beautifully”.
The magazine also features a personal essay by Gal-dem editor Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff about the impact of representation. “From what we’ve seen so far, our representation in this movie is going to be brash, brave and sometimes bald-headed," she says. "We are warriors, set to save the world. Our blackness is front and centre; Wakanda is an African country that doesn’t exist in real life, but it already has a place in our hearts and its women look fierce and fabulous.”
Wakanda Zine will be available in independent cafes, cinemas and restaurants across the UK.
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