The Wonder of "Wonderfalls"
- Indian Comics Irregular #113
One of the highlights of the last TV season was the WB's mid-season
replacement series, "Wonderfalls." Set at Niagara Falls, it revolved
around a young woman who worked in a tourist shop. Although Indians
appeared only in the first episode's prologue, the show was based on a
In that prologue, protagonist Jaye recounted the story of Niagara's
Maiden of the Mist. As a website explains it:
Iroquois legend tells of a maiden who loved the Thunder God, HE-NO,
who made his home in a cave behind the great Falls. Much to her
disappointment, the maiden's father, however, promised her in
marriage to a brave.
Rather than marry the mortal, the maiden canoed over the cataract,
at which time HE-NO caught her spirit, taking her to live with him
in his watery cave.
(He-no is the same Iroquois god to whom Arak, the Native comic-book
hero, prayed. Roy Thomas, the writer who created Arak, clearly did
his homework. See ICI #79 for details.)
The Spirit Moves Them
Jaye's troubles began when she dropped a quarter into a pool watched
over by a Maiden of the Mist statue. Inanimate objects (a plastic
lion, a toy monkey, a stuffed fish) started talking to her and telling
her what to do. Good things happened when she followed their advice,
but she remained mystified about what was going on.
When Jaye confided her predicament to her friend Mahandra, the latter
said she didn't find the talking tchotchkes strange. The following
MAHANDRA: I think it's natural to embody the world around us with
JAYE: You do?
MAHANDRA: Yeah. It's all that tree-hugging crap. Like when the
MAHANDRA: --like when Indians say that everything has a soul. The
wind, your cell phone, the little smooshed-faced lion--they all have
Yes. According to traditional Native belief, all things have life and
a spirit or soul. So Native spirituality was animating this show just
as it animated the objects.
That Jaye corrected "Native Americans" to "Indians" was also a nice
touch. It reflected her contrary nature and lack of political
correctness. It also reflected what most Indians call themselves.
Unfortunately, the WB canceled "Wonderfalls" after only four episodes
because of low ratings. But the full complement of 13 episodes may
appear on DVD someday.
America's No. 1 Political Prisoner
On its Jan. 15 episode about presidential pardons, "The West Wing"
(ICI #70) discussed Leonard Peltier. Oh, the show called him Gabriel
Lessier, but the circumstances of his arrest and incarceration were
almost identical to Peltier's.
President Bartlet and his wife were sympathetic to Lessier's cause,
and wanted to pardon him. Alas, they decided they couldn't for
Retired educator Sherry York has written several guides to
multicultural literature. In a column on Native American Heritage
Month, she listed her favorite Native titles, authors, publishers, and
websites. Among them were "Blue Corn Comics and Peace Party, a comic
series with Native American writers, artists, and advisors."
Speaking of websites, we recently added the 1,250th page to
BlueCornComics.com and are now past 1,300. That makes our site one of
the biggest in existence on Indians and comics. If you haven't
visited recently, check it out.
Blue Corn Comics