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(Not So) Funny Books: Native Americans in Comic Books
Synopsis <ul><li>Native American characters have been misrepresented in many genre and media forms </li></ul><ul><li>How d...
 
Overview <ul><li>Early love of Comics / pop culture </li></ul><ul><li>Academic credentials </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Affi...
Love of Comics <ul><li>Why comics? </li></ul><ul><li>Farmboys need comics, too… </li></ul>
<ul><li>BA Native American Studies, OU </li></ul><ul><li>BA Film Studies, OU </li></ul><ul><li>MFA 3D Modeling, AAU (popul...
Cultural Affinity <ul><li>Indigenous - Caddo </li></ul><ul><li>Participation / Appointments </li></ul><ul><li>Business Goa...
Why Use Criteria? <ul><li>Comics medium is far-ranging </li></ul><ul><li>Has many similarities in other media </li></ul><u...
Stedman Source Text <ul><li>Shadows of the Indian: Stereotypes in American </li></ul><ul><li>Outlines stereotypes in many ...
Stedman Criteria <ul><li>Is the vocabulary demeaning? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the Indians Talk Like Tonto? </li></ul><ul><li>...
Is the vocabulary demeaning? <ul><li>Are terms such as  redskin ,  savage ,  squaw ,  brave used ? </li></ul><ul><li>Many ...
Specific supporting examples. <ul><li>White Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Redskin </li></ul><ul><li>Older comics </li></ul><ul>...
Opposing Examples <ul><li>X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force </li></ul><ul><li>(new) Lone Ranger & Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Chicka...
Do the Indians Talk Like Tonto? <ul><li>Tonto-talk limits Indigenous characters </li></ul><ul><li>Makes them appear less i...
Specific examples. <ul><li>Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Red Ryder’s Little Beaver </li></ul><ul><li>Big Chief Wahoo </li></ul>
Opposing Examples <ul><li>Scout </li></ul><ul><li>Forge </li></ul><ul><li>Dani Moonstar </li></ul><ul><li>Portal </li></ul>
Do the Indians Belong to the Feather-Bonnet Tribe? <ul><li>Indigenous = cultural diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>Pop culture ...
Specific examples. <ul><li>Turok </li></ul><ul><li>American Eagle </li></ul><ul><li>White Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Red Ryd...
Opposing Examples <ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Forge </li></ul><ul><li>Portal </li></ul><ul><li>Dani Moonstar (re...
Are Comic Interludes Built Upon Firewater and Stupidity? <ul><li>Portrays Indigenous people as drunkards, stupid, or just ...
Specific examples. <ul><li>Chief Man-of-Bats </li></ul><ul><li>Disney Comics </li></ul>
Opposing Examples <ul><li>X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force </li></ul><ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Shaman’s Tears </li>...
Are the Indians Portrayed as an Extinct Species? <ul><li>One of the biggest problems in all media. </li></ul><ul><li>Exist...
Specific examples. <ul><li>Turok </li></ul><ul><li>Pow Wow Smith </li></ul><ul><li>Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Red Wolf </li><...
Opposing Examples <ul><li>Kagi: The Raven </li></ul><ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force </li...
Are the Indians either Noble or Savage? <ul><li>Dichotomy has pervaded for several years </li></ul><ul><li>“ An Indian too...
Specific examples. <ul><li>Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Indian Warriors </li></ul><ul><li>White Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Straig...
Opposing Examples <ul><li>The Butcher </li></ul><ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Pow Wow Smith </li></ul>
Is the Tone Patronizing? <ul><li>Similar to derogatory terms, yet more subtle </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: patronizing tone ...
Specific examples. <ul><li>Scalphunter </li></ul><ul><li>Disney Comics Presents </li></ul><ul><li>Johnny Cloud </li></ul>
Opposing Examples <ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Scout </li></ul><ul><li>Turok: Dinosaur Hunter </li></ul>
Is Indian Humanness Recognized? <ul><li>“ In sum, are [Indigenous people] seen in something resembling full dimension?” </...
Specific examples. <ul><li>Almost every comic book with Native American characters </li></ul>
Opposing Examples <ul><li>Shaman’s Tears </li></ul><ul><li>Scout </li></ul><ul><li>Muktuk Wolfsbreath </li></ul><ul><li>To...
Various Stereotypes <ul><li>White Indians & Wannabes </li></ul><ul><li>“ Half-breed” </li></ul><ul><li>Sidekicks and Helpe...
Comic Utopia: What Can Be Done? <ul><li>Personal Goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Native driven media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fu...
For more “411”… <ul><li>Comics themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Cornell Pewewardy: American Indian Stereotypes in the World of...
Q&A <ul><li>Go for it. </li></ul>
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"(Not So) Funny Books"

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INLP Lecture at UNM, 11-5-08

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Transcript of ""(Not So) Funny Books""

  1. 1. (Not So) Funny Books: Native Americans in Comic Books
  2. 2. Synopsis <ul><li>Native American characters have been misrepresented in many genre and media forms </li></ul><ul><li>How do we evaluate the level of stereotypes used? </li></ul><ul><li>Universal standard to determine stereotype? </li></ul><ul><li>Character eval is subjective, at best </li></ul><ul><li>Broad categories to help make determinations about potential misrepresentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Explore these criteria and examples that conform –fully or in part – or resist such stereotypes. </li></ul>
  3. 4. Overview <ul><li>Early love of Comics / pop culture </li></ul><ul><li>Academic credentials </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Affinity </li></ul><ul><li>Various Stereotypes </li></ul><ul><li>Comic Utopia </li></ul><ul><li>For more “411”… </li></ul><ul><li>Q&A </li></ul>
  4. 5. Love of Comics <ul><li>Why comics? </li></ul><ul><li>Farmboys need comics, too… </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>BA Native American Studies, OU </li></ul><ul><li>BA Film Studies, OU </li></ul><ul><li>MFA 3D Modeling, AAU (popular media) </li></ul>Academic credentials
  6. 7. Cultural Affinity <ul><li>Indigenous - Caddo </li></ul><ul><li>Participation / Appointments </li></ul><ul><li>Business Goals </li></ul>
  7. 8. Why Use Criteria? <ul><li>Comics medium is far-ranging </li></ul><ul><li>Has many similarities in other media </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypes various/numerous, specific need to break into categories </li></ul><ul><li>Offers a way to form personal opinion, used as a foundation </li></ul>
  8. 9. Stedman Source Text <ul><li>Shadows of the Indian: Stereotypes in American </li></ul><ul><li>Outlines stereotypes in many media forms </li></ul><ul><li>Provides specific questions to ask </li></ul>
  9. 10. Stedman Criteria <ul><li>Is the vocabulary demeaning? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the Indians Talk Like Tonto? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the Indians Belong to the Feather-Bonnet Tribe? </li></ul><ul><li>Are Comic Interludes Built Upon Firewater and Stupidity? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the Indians Portrayed as an Extinct Species? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the Indians either Noble or Savage? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the Tone Patronizing? </li></ul><ul><li>Is Indian Humanness Recognized? </li></ul>
  10. 11. Is the vocabulary demeaning? <ul><li>Are terms such as redskin , savage , squaw , brave used ? </li></ul><ul><li>Many “normal” people find these terms acceptable. </li></ul><ul><li>Negative associated with such terms </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes used to demo villainy </li></ul><ul><li>Problem? Using such descriptions severely limit Indigenous portrayal. </li></ul>redskin savage squaw brave wagon burner Injun Papoose chief
  11. 12. Specific supporting examples. <ul><li>White Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Redskin </li></ul><ul><li>Older comics </li></ul><ul><li>Any comic with Tonto… </li></ul>
  12. 13. Opposing Examples <ul><li>X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force </li></ul><ul><li>(new) Lone Ranger & Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Chickasaw Adventures </li></ul><ul><li>Peace Party </li></ul>
  13. 14. Do the Indians Talk Like Tonto? <ul><li>Tonto-talk limits Indigenous characters </li></ul><ul><li>Makes them appear less intelligent than Anglo characters </li></ul><ul><li>Stedman: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The old-time Indian talk is wrong, dead wrong. Someday even writers for the popular media will realize that fact. Someday.” </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Specific examples. <ul><li>Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Red Ryder’s Little Beaver </li></ul><ul><li>Big Chief Wahoo </li></ul>
  15. 16. Opposing Examples <ul><li>Scout </li></ul><ul><li>Forge </li></ul><ul><li>Dani Moonstar </li></ul><ul><li>Portal </li></ul>
  16. 17. Do the Indians Belong to the Feather-Bonnet Tribe? <ul><li>Indigenous = cultural diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>Pop culture media adopted a Pan-Indian look. </li></ul><ul><li>Mass media “fostered the idea that Indians have one ethnic, national, and linguistic identity…all Indians look, think, and talk alike.” </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous people are more diverse from than we are similar. </li></ul><ul><li>May share some cultural similarities; no two tribal nations are exactly the same. </li></ul><ul><li>Comic books readers may think we all dress alike. </li></ul><ul><li>Popular media insists that we should look “Indian” enough. </li></ul>
  17. 18. Specific examples. <ul><li>Turok </li></ul><ul><li>American Eagle </li></ul><ul><li>White Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Red Ryder </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Man-of-Bats </li></ul><ul><li>On and on… </li></ul>
  18. 19. Opposing Examples <ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Forge </li></ul><ul><li>Portal </li></ul><ul><li>Dani Moonstar (recently) </li></ul><ul><li>Warpath (recently) </li></ul>
  19. 20. Are Comic Interludes Built Upon Firewater and Stupidity? <ul><li>Portrays Indigenous people as drunkards, stupid, or just stupid drunks. </li></ul><ul><li>Stedman: “he is either the drunken fool or the sober dolt.” </li></ul><ul><li>Similar to “jungle” comics - restless natives waiting for a white savior. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Red Ryder’s Little Beaver and The Lone Ranger’s Tonto. </li></ul>
  20. 21. Specific examples. <ul><li>Chief Man-of-Bats </li></ul><ul><li>Disney Comics </li></ul>
  21. 22. Opposing Examples <ul><li>X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force </li></ul><ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Shaman’s Tears </li></ul><ul><li>Shaman / Talisman </li></ul>
  22. 23. Are the Indians Portrayed as an Extinct Species? <ul><li>One of the biggest problems in all media. </li></ul><ul><li>Existing only in the past exclusively is a recurrent theme. </li></ul><ul><li>Also found in many ‘info’ books, that focus on the traditional aspects, leaving out modern-day. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem? Indigenous people exist in modern times / continuance is one of our most valuable commodities. </li></ul>
  23. 24. Specific examples. <ul><li>Turok </li></ul><ul><li>Pow Wow Smith </li></ul><ul><li>Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Red Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Browser and Sequoia </li></ul><ul><li>… and on. </li></ul>
  24. 25. Opposing Examples <ul><li>Kagi: The Raven </li></ul><ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force </li></ul><ul><li>Dawnstar </li></ul>
  25. 26. Are the Indians either Noble or Savage? <ul><li>Dichotomy has pervaded for several years </li></ul><ul><li>“ An Indian too good to be true or too bad to be believed? Suspect shallow research and narrow viewpoint -- especially if those feather bonnets are in view.” </li></ul><ul><li>Comic books do this less frequently than in past </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: Makes character seem ill-developed when they are either too noble or savage </li></ul>
  26. 27. Specific examples. <ul><li>Tonto </li></ul><ul><li>Indian Warriors </li></ul><ul><li>White Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Straight Arrow </li></ul><ul><li>Many early comic books </li></ul>
  27. 28. Opposing Examples <ul><li>The Butcher </li></ul><ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Pow Wow Smith </li></ul>
  28. 29. Is the Tone Patronizing? <ul><li>Similar to derogatory terms, yet more subtle </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: patronizing tone can be just as harmful as overtly negative imagery. </li></ul>
  29. 30. Specific examples. <ul><li>Scalphunter </li></ul><ul><li>Disney Comics Presents </li></ul><ul><li>Johnny Cloud </li></ul>
  30. 31. Opposing Examples <ul><li>Street Wolf </li></ul><ul><li>Scout </li></ul><ul><li>Turok: Dinosaur Hunter </li></ul>
  31. 32. Is Indian Humanness Recognized? <ul><li>“ In sum, are [Indigenous people] seen in something resembling full dimension?” </li></ul><ul><li>a.k.a., “humanity” </li></ul><ul><li>One of the most important elements of the criteria </li></ul><ul><li>A recurring problem in comic books </li></ul><ul><li>Main focus for this book </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous people are human and real. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: Indigenous must be seen as “real” people and not just caricatures </li></ul>
  32. 33. Specific examples. <ul><li>Almost every comic book with Native American characters </li></ul>
  33. 34. Opposing Examples <ul><li>Shaman’s Tears </li></ul><ul><li>Scout </li></ul><ul><li>Muktuk Wolfsbreath </li></ul><ul><li>Tomahawk (Vertigo) </li></ul><ul><li>Darkness Calls </li></ul><ul><li>Lone Ranger & Tonto (Topps) </li></ul><ul><li>Echo </li></ul><ul><li>X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force </li></ul><ul><li>… and more </li></ul>
  34. 35. Various Stereotypes <ul><li>White Indians & Wannabes </li></ul><ul><li>“ Half-breed” </li></ul><ul><li>Sidekicks and Helper Monkeys </li></ul><ul><li>Mystical Shaman </li></ul><ul><li>Expert Tracker / Hunters / Sharpshooters / etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Extinction Factor </li></ul><ul><li>Perpetual Warriors </li></ul><ul><li>Female characters as Sexpots </li></ul>
  35. 36. Comic Utopia: What Can Be Done? <ul><li>Personal Goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Native driven media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Future Needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More creative control (complete) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Call to action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get involved </li></ul></ul>
  36. 37. For more “411”… <ul><li>Comics themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Cornell Pewewardy: American Indian Stereotypes in the World of Children </li></ul><ul><li>Raymond William Stedman: Shadows of the Indian </li></ul><ul><li>William Savage, Jr.: Commies, Cowboys, and Jungle Queens </li></ul><ul><li>Bradford Wright: Comic Book Nation </li></ul><ul><li>Jacqueline Kilpatrick: Celluloid Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Overstreet </li></ul><ul><li>The DC and Marvel Encyclopedias </li></ul><ul><li>The Web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blue Corn Comics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Grand Comic Book Data Base </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Michigan State University Libraries – Comic Art Collection, Special Collections Division </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eBay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comic Book Resources (CBR) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marvel Universe: the Official Marvel Wiki </li></ul></ul>
  37. 38. Q&A <ul><li>Go for it. </li></ul>
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