Nova Scotia

Comic book provides space for minority groups in retelling of Irish folktale

Local author Nicole Slaunwhite has published a comic book based on an Irish folktale. She hopes readers can relate to her diverse characters.

“Myself and my artists have made efforts to make sure the book is very inclusive," says author

Author Nicole Slaunwhite holding the first issue of her comic book. (Mark Crosby/CBC )

A romance fiction writer in Halifax has recently created the first issue of a comic book that has a female lead, people of colour and LGBT characters.

Nicole Slaunwhite has written and produced Wild Rose, a comic book based on the Irish folktale of Eliza, or Elisa, Day. The story is about an Irish peasant girl who falls in love with a rich Englishman, but ends up being betrayed.

Wild Rose is a retelling of the folktale, which Slaunwhite hopes will connect with people from diverse communities in Halifax.

Making the literary scene more inclusive

"Myself and my artists have made efforts to make sure the book is very inclusive, so her love interest is a free black man in London, and we are trying to represent the reality of that time," said Slaunwhite, a lawyer who has been writing novels since 2016.

The story is set in 1790. It is full of revenge, class conflict, religious intolerance and secret societies.

"Most people, when they think of 1790 in Europe, they don't think of people of colour or people of different gender or sexual orientation, but if you do look at the historical record those people exist," she said.

Breaking barriers

One of the people who has already read the book is Tim Hanley. He is a comic book historian who blogs about Wonder Woman and women in comics.

He says female comic book writers are still rare.

"For a long time comics were mostly superheroes, mostly male characters, mostly male creators, and the audience started to shift slightly toward female readers and that brought with it new female creators," said Hanley.

Tim Hanley writes about comic books. (Mark Crosby/CBC )

He says the numbers are still tilted in favour of male characters and creators, but things are starting to change, especially with women writers like Slaunwhite trying to break into the industry.

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Aya Al-Hakim


Aya Al-Hakim is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. She can be reached at