#ReadIndigenousTO: Graphic Novels
While often pulling on important historical stories and cultural traditions, Indigenous graphic novels are also weaving fictional and fantasy elements into their narrative. Set on Indigenous lands and pulling on central elements of life on a reserve, Night Wanderer by Drew Haydon Taylor tells the story of a vampire returning to his tribal home on a Canadian reserve.
Pemmican Wars: A Girl Called Echo, the first volume in a new series from Governor General Award winner and author Katherena Vermette, tells the story of a young Metis girl who slips back in time to explore the important Metis history of the Pemmican wars era. The continued popularity of Indigenous graphic novels has seen Pemmican Wars publisher Highwater Press emerge as an important voice in Canadian Indigenous Graphic novels.
2018 saw new releases from influential Indigenous creators such as Gord Hill, whose anticipated comic Antifa will be released in November, telling stories of fascism and resistance that feel particularly relevant today. The latest release from Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, War of the Blink, combines traditional Haida imagery with Japanese graphic art in a fusion he refers to as “Haida manga.”
Another big moment for Indigenous Graphic Novels in Canada was the nomination of The Outside Circle, a comic that explores Aboriginal gang violence and healing, by Patty LaBoucane-Benson for the 2017 White Pine Award in Fiction. The demand for Indigenous stories does not appear to be waning, either. With low overhead and less gate-keeping, Indigenous creators have more capabilities than ever before in terms of growing and sharing this important content and creating Indigenous representation in the graphic novel industry.
Read Indigenous is a yearly list of must-read titles written by Indigenous authors, writers, illustrators and knowledge keepers for all ages. The titles have been selected with Toronto Public Library's Indigenous Advisory Council.