Sunday November 15, 2015
MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection was designed to challenge stereotypes
Hope Nicholson is a self-admitted girl geek who wants to bring more diversity to comic book pages. She is the editor of MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection, which features stories and artwork from 28 indigenous storytellers and artists from across North America.
Thanks to a successful online fundraising campaign, Nicholson edited the collection of indigenous stories that were designed to break through stereotypes.
"I think comic books in particular have been slow to get better," she said. "But in the last few years, we've seen a really huge push for diversity and it's been actually succeeding quite well. And because it's been succeeding financially I think that's been a really good push for the publishers to include more diversity in their storytelling."
Nicholson was born and raised in Winnipeg. She said she saw a lot of racism against Indigenous Peoples, but when she moved to Toronto, she realized that very few people had any knowledge about indigenous culture and identity.
Growing up, the native characters I saw were always superhero types or villains and they always kind of were a mix-mash of different Hollywood/Western stereotypes. - Hope Nicholson, editor of MOONSHOT
"It was only when I started taking some Aboriginal studies courses in university that I realized how really offensive that [depiction] actually was," Nicholson said.
MOONSHOT was created to push back against those traditional, and expected, depictions of indigenous characters and storylines.
"To challenge the racism I grew up in and experienced," Nicholson explained. "And to also combat the ignorance and the basic lack of knowledge that people had outside of indigenous centres."
Nicholson said comics are a great way to combat racism and ignorance because the mix of visuals and words reaches people in a way prose cannot. Nicholson also explained it is no coincidence that comics and culture go together so well.
"You can also see a lot of comparisons between comic books and traditional methods of storytelling," she said. "Whether that's oral storytelling, or birch bark scrolls, buffalo robes... which often combined pictures to tell stories."
MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection features work by Stephen Gladue, Richard Van Camp, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Elixabeth LaPensee, David Robertson, Ian Ross, Arigon Starr and many more.