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

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Indigenous woman shot by police was holding a replica gun, says Ucluelet First Nation

Woman has been identified as a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Amphitrite Point lighthouse on Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail during a massive winter storm. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet’s Official Community Plan public hearing goes ahead despite push back

A petition calling on Ucluelet council to postpone the May 13 virtual event fails to deter

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chief says community “devastated” by third police shooting

Woman shot by Ucluelet RCMP in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8.

Tofino is adding to its planning department to keep up with rising interest in residential development in town. (Westerly file photo)
Interest in residential development rising in Tofino

District of Tofino boosting planning department.

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Could Victoria skull fragment bring closure to an Island missing persons mystery?

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Most Read