Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Indigenous illustrator Kyle Charles says hundreds of people have reached out to congratulate and thank him for his creations in a new Marvel anthology that tells the story of an Aboriginal mutant.

Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old from Edmonton to be one of the artists for Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1.

Since its launch last week, people from around the world, including many Indigenous youth, have contacted him about how much they appreciate the content he has brought to a mainstream platform, Charles says.

“I’ve even had young people reach out for advice,” Charles, surrounded by Marvel memorabilia and old comics, says in an interview in his home studio northwest of the city.

“They tell me they’re working to get sober and … I just tell them, ‘Hey, like, we all deal with the same thing, so I want you to just trust yourself and know your own past and remain strong in that pursuit.’”

Needing to remain strong is something the member of the Whitefish Lake First Nation understands well. He had a difficult childhood, got caught up with the wrong crowd in his late teens, and spent almost a decade homeless.

The lessons he has learned help him understand the struggles Indigenous youth go through. He hopes the Aboriginal characters in the anthology will help create an understanding that anyone can be a hero despite human flaws.

“It’s important for anybody living in Canada or the U.S. to have proper cultural representation. For a long time, native people didn’t have that, because they’re not in any kind of spotlight or on any kind of platform. They’re just in the background. I think something like this pushes us forward.”

Charles illustrates a story in the anthology featuring Dani Moonstar, who possesses the psychic ability to telepathically create illusions of her opponents’ fears or wishes.

Moonstar of the Cheyenne Nation “faces the crucial question of what her Indigenous heritage means in the new era of mutant-kind,” says Marvel’s official description.

Charles says the strong and resilient Indigenous women in his life, including his girlfriend, his mother, and his ‘“Coco,” or grandmother, remind him of Moonstar.

“My Coco is dying of cancer right now but she’s the strongest person I know,” he says.

“Doctors say she should be in palliative care, but they can’t figure out why she has no pain … She should be struggling, and she’s not. She’s still going to dinner with my mom and showing up for bingo night,” he laughs.

That’s just how Indigenous women are — calm and capable of overcoming any obstacle — Charles says, and that’s what he hopes young women reading the story and looking at his illustrations take away from Moonstar’s tale.

“Entertainment and creative fields have that power to inspire people, to maybe change the way they think about themselves, or help them understand the world around them.

“I hope (women) get inspired or they feel empowered. I hope they get whatever they need out of it, even if it’s just to escape.

“The most important thing to me is (them) … seeing this and saying, ‘That’s me. I am that character.’”

__

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Indigenousvideo

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read