by Elizabeth ManningTribal Force, a new comic book created by two 28-year-old artists from Arizona, begins in the year 2006 with the usual mega-battle: Native superheroes must stop the U.S. government from bombing the Indians and confiscating their resource-rich reservation land. But the story quickly becomes both more human and contemporary. Basho Yazza, one of the comic book's main characters, is a Navajo law student, incest survivor and only a reluctant superhero. Sure, she can create warriors from rocks but she'd rather be studying in her dorm room. Little Big Horn, "a trouble-making, bar-brawling, beer-drinking racist dude" feels the same way. As "Gabriel Medicine God," he is no longer mute - a condition due to fetal alcohol syndrome - but the trade-offs include sprouting a cumbersome pair of buffalo horns and having to endure lectures from other superheroes.
Native Force is the brainchild of Jon Proudstar, a screenwriter who says his forebears are a mix of Yaqui, Mayan, Jewish and Latino, and artist Ryan Huna Smith, who grew up on the Chemehuevi reservation outside of Tucson. The two men say their comic, although full of blood, guts and green ooze like most, tries to offer positive role models for Native American youths who must learn to survive in two cultures. They sold 12,000 copies of the first issue last summer before their California-based publisher, Mystic Comics, went bankrupt. The second issue is finished but waiting for another publisher.
For more information, contact Jon Proudstar, War Drum Studios, P.O. Box 5562, Tucson, AZ 85703-5562 (520/770-1344).
* Elizabeth Manning
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