There’s a new anthology of First Nations,
Metis, and Inuit comic book stories
currently crowdfunding called Moonshot.
Hope Nicholson, who helped get the Nelvana & Brok Windsor kickstarters done, is the editor and the collection promises to feature amazing artists and writers!
Hope shares how she became involved and the projects mission statement.
I was at C4, a comic convention in Winnipeg this October when I had someone come up to me and tell me, in regards to the Inuit & First Nations representation in Nelvana & Brok Windsor that, “those stories were not theirs to be told”.
It wasn’t the first time this crossed my mind, and I accepted this as the truth.
Both comics are important historical artifacts, and reveal a greater breadth of pop culture and art history in Canada that was previously left buried. But they both also lack nuanced, realistic depictions of First Nations and Inuit characters, despite their cultures being prominent in both of the books. In my studies of aboriginal representation in pop culture that I undertook in university, I saw that representation did not get better over the decades. Rather, our television, comics, and films continue to show an embarrassing lack of understanding of indigenous identity (even when attempted with the best of intentions).
Recently, AH Comics approached me and asked me to be an editor of an anthology of First Nations comic books. It was their hope that through my research I would be able to uncover some amazing stories from the past and help connect them with aspiring artists and writers who would create a beautiful collection. This is a subject that is often on my mind, and I was incredibly excited to help guide a new project that would showcase talent and offer up a diverse range of representations.
And I had some ideas to help guide the project along based on my issues with aboriginal representation.
- Accuracy – No mish-mash of cultures or appropriation. (ie. If a traditional story is being relayed from a Metis culture, don’t have characters with Cherokee outfits).
- Permission – a writer brought up that some stories are not meant to be told outside of the community. When in doubt in regards to the appropriate public telling of traditional stories, I’ve asked the writer to consult with an elder if possible. Google is a great place to start with research, but must be used judiciously.
- No addiction or self-harm in the stories. Not because these issues aren’t important or relevant, but when you turn on the news and that’s the only representation you see, it becomes a biased view of what everyday culture is. I know there is a greater variety of stories that can be told.
- Creators – Together, the publisher and I researched and found a great variety of artists and writers that identify as indigenous. Having stories told by members of the community, and to encourage young aspiring artists/writers is very important. It’s also important to me to prove that there is no excuse for a non-indigenous writer/artist to not create a complex indigenous character, and there are a few non-indigenous creators involved in this collection.
- Romanticizing – Too often a writer will see old-fashioned stereotypes and go so far in the other direction that they end up doing the exact thing they wanted to avoid. Any reference to a brave, dying culture rings to me as an untruth and stories that portray this type of depiction are not included.
I’m thrilled with the brand new & established creators attached and am excited to help their journey. AH Comics previously published the Jewish Comics Anthology which sits proudly on my bookshelf, and I imagine this collection will be just as beautiful.
The campaign is currently live @moonshotcollection.com