Comics Good for Your Health
- Indian Comics Irregular #140
An impressive aboriginal comic book has just debuted. An article about it in the Vancouver Sun (6/19/06) tells the tale:
Suicide is a scourge among young aboriginals. But a new superhero,
with eagle feathers in his hair and a red, white and blue suit that
hugs his chiselled body, is flying in to the rescue. His name is
Wesakechak, named after the mythical shape-shifter and protector in
Cree legends. But he's been updated for the 21st century with a
flying motorcycle, superhuman strength and put inside a comic book
now being distributed across the country for aboriginal youth.
"We wanted to find a way to get through to young people," said Sean
Muir, founder and executive director of the Healthy Aboriginal
Network, a non-profit society. "In the past, this sort of stuff
has often been done with lots of text and pamphlets. We thought a
comic book might be a better way of reaching out."
Apparently they were right. In fact, the comic Darkness Falls,
which received $45,000 in aid from the B.C. Ministry of Health, is
something of a best-seller: More than 33,000 of the comics,
which will be revealed June 21 at the World Urban Forum, will be
distributed to aboriginal teenagers, who are statistically five
times more likely than their non-native counterparts to take their
What makes the comic unique--and an effective teaching tool when
discussing the silence-inducing subject of suicide, said Muir--is
that it fuses together elements of aboriginal spirituality with
eye-popping action scenes and film noir fantasies one might find in
an X-Men film.
Even better, there are more comics to come. As the Healthy Aboriginal Network explains:
We've recently been awarded $10,000 in funding from the Vancouver
Coastal Health Authority to create a comic book based on the issues
and challenges that Aboriginal youth frequently face--racism,
violence, drug/alcohol abuse, STDs, suicide, nutritional
inadequacies and the multi-generational effect of residential
school abuse. The VCH project is designed to involve Aboriginal
youth in every aspect of the creative process--the writing, review
for authenticity, illustration, colorizing of drawings, editing,
layout and evaluation. The comics will be anthology based, giving
many youth artists an opportunity to have their work published,
which they may not have otherwise attained by themselves.
I haven't seen DARKNESS FALLS yet, but I'm looking forward to it. For the full story on the project, go to http://www.bluecorncomics.com/hlthyabo.htm .
I'm happy to announce a few recent accomplishments. For one, BlueCornComics.com now has more than 1,500 pages. As I once said, this website must be the largest one devoted to a single comic book.
For another, Indian Comics Irregular now has more than 500 subscribers. Not bad for what most people would consider a small niche publication. Thanks to ICI's readers for their support, and onward to 1,000!
In addition, I've created a new blog: Newspaper Rock, where Native America meets pop culture. In it I'll cover subjects similar to the ones found here: movies, TV shows, books, comics, cartoons, mascots, stereotypes, and other Native and multicultural issues. The items will be shorter and timelier, but they'll feature the same blend of news and commentary.
For the first time, you can post comments on the site and let people know what you think. You also can subscribe and have the blog e-mailed to you daily. Check it out at http://www.bluecorncomics.com/newsrock.htm .
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