Navajo Comic Books on the rise

Two prominent Navajo artists have each released comics that utilize their traditional stories as inspiration one after the other.

In 2017, Dale Deforest revealed his comic “The Hero Twins,” which he described as being “plucked from the Diné Creation Story, “The Hero Twins” follows two warriors of the same name throughout their journey to rid the Spirit World of evil spirits.”

“The Hero Twins” to the Navajo people of the southwest have been viewed as protectors of the people and their adventures have sparked the imaginations of Navajo children and youth for generations. This comic allows readers to go back in time to 1860 and also brings forth a heroine called “Changing Woman.”

While in July of this year, Shaun Beyale announced that he is hoping to release his comic “Ayla, the Monster Slayer” next month.

“I use my cultural stories as inspiration and a jumping off point to create something new and something more modern,” said Beyale.

His comic will jump readers into a futuristic and post-apocalyptic world set in the Southwest, and incorporates many facets of his culture. This includes his desire to create a powerful heroine which was also inspired by wanting his daughters to have strong role models.

“Indigenous women are always portrayed in a more derogatory way, they’re not really shown to have value,” he said. “But traditional Navajo society was a matrilineal society, the women were the strongest and they had a lot of the power. For me, I wanted to make my main character be a strong, indigenous female.”

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