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Why So Many Cheyenne?

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  • Robert Schmidt
    Indian Comics Irregular #26 DAREDEVIL s Maya Lopez, who s half Cheyenne, joins Marvel s growing list of Cheyenne characters. Red Wolf, Moonstar, Forge and his
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2000
      Indian Comics Irregular #26

      DAREDEVIL's Maya Lopez, who's half Cheyenne, joins Marvel's growing
      list of Cheyenne characters. Red Wolf, Moonstar, Forge and his
      mentor Naz� are all Cheyenne. Why does Marvel have so many

      In comics, Native characters are usually Plains Indians. Writers can
      draw from a rich but overused well of history: the noble chief in
      his feather bonnet (Sitting Bull), the brave warrior galloping into
      battle (Crazy Horse), the Ghost Dancers praying for victory, the
      vision quest to find spiritual meaning. The imagery is clich�d
      but understandable. It encapsulates what most people know about
      Indian history, giving readers a hook into the story.

      But why Cheyenne rather than other Plains tribes such as the
      Blackfeet, Mandan, or Crow? Even the various branches of the Sioux,
      which form the largest group of Plains people, seem less likely to
      appear than the Cheyenne. My guess is the thinking goes like this:

      Sioux history has become messy. It's encumbered with Black Hills
      claims, AIM conflicts, and disputes with Kevin Costner. Who wants to
      read about Indians dealing with tribal politics, gaming casinos, and
      poverty and alcoholism?

      In contrast, the name "Cheyenne" seems imbued with lyrical power. It
      whooshes off the tongue like the proverbial wind. To uninformed
      authors, the Cheyenne don't have any history, culture, or current
      affairs to divert the reader's attention. They're a pure "vanishing
      breed," representing an unsullied vision of the "noble" Indian past.

      If Native characters aren't Cheyenne or Sioux, they're likely to be
      Apache. Witness Marvel's Thunderbird and Warpath, DC's Apache Chief,
      and Gen13's Rainmaker. Why? Because the Apache present an image
      similar to that of the Plains Indians. They're fierce, relentless,
      and unyielding warriors like Geronimo and Cochise. That's the image
      most writers want to convey of Indians.

      In the 1990 Census, the ten largest tribal groups were Cherokee,
      Navajo, Chippewa, Sioux, Choctaw, Pueblo, Apache, Iroquois, Lumbee,
      and Creek. Have you seen any Cherokee, Chippewa, or Choctaw heroes
      recently? No, because these tribes aren't "sexy" like the Cheyenne,
      Sioux, and Apache.

      For a comprehensive list of Indians in comics, visit

      #1 Indian Comic Site Expands

      While I pursue a dot-com address for Blue Corn Comics, I've
      simplified the URLs for our site on Xoom.com. Now you only have to
      enter members.xoom.com/peaceparty/ plus the name of the page you want.

      Considering all the improvements I've made to our site recently, this
      change comes just in time. Here are some of the new pages you can
      access directly:

      � inquisit.htm: A new PEACE PARTY story...with illustrations!
      � gallery.htm: A photo gallery of Pueblo Indian country.
      � pp3sneak.htm: Sneak previews of our next edition.
      � pp1scrpt.htm: The script for PEACE PARTY #1...online.
      � faq.htm: Frequently asked questions and their answers.
      � educator.htm: Additional background info for schools and
      � k103.htm: Excerpts from our K103 Mohawk radio interview.
      � punisher.htm: A review of a repulsive comic...with reader

      All this plus new graphics on almost every page. And our usual
      contests, media reviews, and author's forum. If you haven't visited
      recently, check it out.

      Rob Schmidt
      Blue Corn Comics
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