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Graphic Novels and Comics by Aboriginal peoples

Increasingly, we’re seeing graphic novels and comics authored by Aboriginal writers and illustrators. As a fan of graphic novels in general (and an avid reader of comics as a kid), I am super happy to see this growing body of work. 

Interested in acquiring these for your libraries or just because you want to support Aboriginal writers and illustrators? If so, here are some places to start:

  • Darkness Calls – Available through The Healthy Aboriginal Network (Canada)
    • Illustrated by Steve Sanderson (Cree), Darkness Calls focuses on discussing suicide, particularly as it impacts First Nations’ youth
    • Steve Sanderson was also showcased on Global National’s Everyday Heros program. Here’s the news clip.
  • Rabbit and Bear Paws – Little Spirit Bear Productions (Canada)
  • Sacred Circles (see page 3 of the linked document) – Birchbark Comics (Canada)
    • Sacred Circles and Birchbark Comics were created by Brandon Mitchell (Mi’kmaq), who is from Listuguj, a Mi’kmaq community located in southeastern Quebec
    • The website for Birchbark Comics is no longer active, so I’m not sure if they’re still in business (I hope that they are).

Another place to visit is Blue Corn Comics (United States), which has created the comic Peace Party. The creator of Blue Corn Comics is Rob Schmidt (non-Aboriginal). Blue Corn Comics involves Native American writers and illustrators in its work and has a Board of Advisors that reviews each script for accuracy and/or insensitivity to Native American cultures and peoples.

If you are aware of others that I’ve missed, please feel free to post a comment to the blog. Thanks!

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7 Responses

  1. I haven’t actually seen these, but:

    Tribal Force — created by writer Jon Proudstar and artists Ryan Huna Smith.
    http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/t/tribforc.htm

    These from Chickaloon Village: http://www.chickaloon.org/CVStore/CVStore.html

    Roy Boney, Jr. (Cherokee) illustrates a comic called PluginBoy. More info
    here: http://roysunshine.com/

    Finally, these are not by a Native author but have plenty of tribal
    involvement, including some of the illustration:
    http://www.millelacsojibwe.org/herosvoice.asp

    The blog at Blue Corn Comics is great for keeping up with news about Indians in comics; he even does a newsletter on that topic.

    I look forward to seeing more leads!

    –Kelly

  2. Thanks for sharing these links Kelly!

  3. Thanks for mentioning Blue Corn Comics.

    I’ve posted a fairly comprehensive list of Native-themed comics at http://www.bluecorncomics.com/nacomics.htm. Most are by non-Natives, but a few by Natives include:

    Tales of the Cherokee
    Koda the Warrior
    The Raven
    Rocking Raven
    Strong Man
    Super Shamou
    The Illustrated History of the Chippewas of Nawash

    I should add that a lot of the non-Native efforts are as good as the Native efforts, if not better. Knowing a Native culture doesn’t necessarily make you a good writer or artist.

    By the way, I review all the Native-themed comics I come across in my Newspaper Rock blog (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/newsrock.htm) and Indian Comics Irregular newsletter (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/ici.htm). Librarians who wish to collect Native comics may want to follow these reviews.

    Rob Schmidt
    Former librarian

    • Rob Schmidt,

      Are you for real? While knowing and living a culture doesn’t necessarily make one a “good” writer or artist (by whose definition?), it can provide insight and authenticity that someone from outside of that culture will never be able to replicate. Your comment shows a culture bias that is offensive. There are great writers (Richard Van Camp is an award-winning Dogrib writer) and illustrators (Steve Sanderson is Cree and a great artist) who are Native and who are writing and illustrating graphic novels and comics yet you are completely brushing them aside with your sweeping comment.

      K. Akiwenzie-Damm

  4. This is my first opportunity to visit this website. I found some interesting things and I will apply to the development of my blog. Thanks for sharing useful information.
    Outbound

  5. Would love to support indigenous artists and writers. I love comics especially ones from interesting and novelty perspectives. Thanks for the directory!

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