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TRICKSTER by Matt Dembicki


Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection, 10th Anniversary Edition

edited by Matt Dembicki

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-68275-273-9
Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Twenty-three comics show how natural phenomena from the stars to buzzards have been affected by tricksters.

The 10th-anniversary reissue of this compilation, which features an introduction to trickster tales by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), contains traditional stories from across Canada and the U.S. retold by Indigenous authors and illustrated by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. An editor’s note explains that each author chose the artist who would illustrate their story and approved their work. Bruchac’s introduction describes how the stories serve a dual purpose, both entertaining and educating listeners and readers. Many are of the pourquoi tale type, offering etiological narratives, such as “Rabbit’s Choctaw Tail Tale” by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Pat Lewis, which explains why rabbits have short tails. The Catawba story “The Yehasuri: The Little Wild Indians” by Beckee Garris, illustrated by Andrew Cohen, tells readers about mischievous beings who trouble travelers and punish naughty children. The stories vary in length, but most are in the range of 10 pages. The full-color artwork varies dramatically in style and quality; some is exceptionally skillful, making creative use of layout and panels, while other is more static. The range of nations represented is a strength of the work, offering readers a glimpse into both common elements of trickster characters and the sheer diversity of such stories.

A colorful collection of Native American and First Nations trickster tales.

(contributor biographies) (Graphic anthology. 12-18)