Elizabeth LaPensée didn't see Indigenous people portrayed accurately in comics, so she wrote her own
When she was a little girl playing video games and reading comics, Elizabeth LaPensée didn't see herself reflected.
So, she resolved to change that.
LaPensée, who is Anishinaabe and Métis, is a professor in the department of media and information at Michigan State University. She makes video games, comics and edits anthologies to promote the work of other Indigenous creators.
She was at Indigenous Comic Con sharing her love of games and comics and explained whey they are the perfect medium to tell her stories.
"English became a real wall for me, in how I wanted to express myself," she recalled.
"There was certain ways or forms that just could not be conveyed through [the English] language and so comics and visualizing was a natural step then for me to be able to better portray myself."
Indigenous representing Indigenous
"It has been really important to have Indigenous writers who are from those nations representing themselves through this game."
LaPensée said as more Indigenous people create comics and games, more commercial level companies are reaching out to find Indigenous consultants.
"At the very least we are building more capacity and more awareness that [Indigenous] people should be involved, preferably from the beginning of the project," she said.
But LaPensée ultimately wants to see Indigenous people as the lead artists, designers, writers, and contributors that are paid equally.
"The more we are collecting together and we are communicating with one another and creating space in that way, the more that's echoing to other industries that this is important."
She said Indigenous space is important in creating those relationships and that her favourite part of Indigenous Comic Con is simply being able to hang out with other Indigenous creators.
"Most often when you go to conferences at some point you do feel like you are on display," she said.