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Indigenous Comics and Graphic Novels - Studies in Genre

Indigenous Comics and Graphic Novels

Studies in Genre

By James J. Donahue
Hardcover : 9781496850492, 198 pages, 34 b&w illustrations, March 2024
Paperback : 9781496850508, 198 pages, 34 b&w illustrations, March 2024

Table of contents

Introduction: Why Indigenous Comics? Why Now?
Chapter 1. Super Problems Require Super Heroes: Indigenous Superheroes and Their Communities
Chapter 2. Indigenous Travels in Space, Time, and Technology
Chapter 3. The Past Is Part of the Present: Indigenous Historical Graphic Narratives
Chapter 4. Pushing the Boundaries of Representation: Indigenous Experimental Graphic Narrative
Coda: But Wait, Isn’t There More?

How Indigenous creators impact the landscape of superhero, science fiction, historical, and experimental comics


In recent years, studios like Marvel and DC have seen enormous success transforming comics into major motion pictures. At the same time, bookstores such as Barnes & Noble in the US and Indigo in Canada have made more room for comic books and graphic novels on their shelves. Yet despite the sustained popular appeal and the heightened availability of these media, Indigenous artists continue to find their work given little attention by mainstream publishers, booksellers, production houses, and academics. Nevertheless, Indigenous artists are increasingly turning to graphic narratives, with publishers like Native Realities LLC and Highwater Press carving out ever more space for Indigenous creators.

In Indigenous Comics and Graphic Novels: Studies in Genre, James J. Donahue aims to interrogate and unravel the disparities of representation in the fields of comics studies and comics publishing. Donahue documents and analyzes the works of several Indigenous artists, including Theo Tso, Todd Houseman, and Arigon Starr. Through topically arranged chapters, the author explores a wide array of content produced by Indigenous creators, from superhero and science fiction comics to graphic novels and experimental narratives. While noting the importance of examining how Indigenous works are analyzed, Donahue emphasizes that the creation of artistic and critical spaces for Indigenous comics and graphic novels should be an essential concern for the comics studies field.


"In focusing attention on several largely unrecognized and underanalyzed Indigenous comics creators, Indigenous Comics and Graphic Novels shines a light on the vital work of these artists. This is a rigorous and robust collection."

- Chad A. Barbour, author of From Daniel Boone to Captain America: Playing Indian in American Popular Culture

"Comics enthusiasts should take note."

- Publishers Weekly