February 08, 2015

Review of Annumpa Luma

Comic's First Issue Tells of World War I Code-Talkers

By Charlie SherpaThe comic book "Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers," recently released by the Indigenous Narratives Collective, Austin, Texas, helps introduce readers to a rich history of Native American soldiers on 20th century battlefields.

The comic is written and illustrated by Arigon Starr. A series and/or collected volume of comics is planned.

By Debbie ReeseStarr's comic reaches back to World War I. In Annumpa Luma, she deftly provides readers with a solid chunk of history. The comic opens with Choctaw soldiers in the trenches. They're talking Choctaw to each other... and the idea of their language as a code begins to take shape. They wonder if anyone will be open to their idea, because in government boarding schools, they were punished for speaking their language. Meetings take place, a test is devised, and the code is implemented. This is all conveyed through the perspective of Corporal Solomon Louis. His reunion with his wife, when he returns home, is heartwarming.

On the final pages of her comic, Starr lists the names of the Choctaw soldiers, and says that in 2013, the Choctaw Code Talkers received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
New Indigenous Superheroes Save the Day

Speaking tribal languages is just one superpower among heroes gracing the pages of comic books.

By Taté Walker
“One of the main goals, to be sure, is Native folks are at the center of these stories. They aren’t the sidekicks, not some shaman helping the hero,” Lee insists. “We want to make sure we’re representing in a way that is respectful, appropriate, and real, and comics is a medium where we can change a lot of the negative stereotypes that proliferate mainstream entertainment, because comics is where young people read. Native kids are searching for heroes who look like them… And here comes Captain Paiute, who screws up anyone who comes trying to hurt the rez–that’s his job.”

Information about Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers, Vol. 1, and other titles, including Captain Paiute, Pueblo Jones and Kaui (Indigenous Fairy Tales), can be found at the INC Comics website, www.inccomics.com. The group also invites and encourages indigenous writers and artists to join INC Comics. Inquiries can be made on the site’s Contact page.
Comment:  All this is good, but $5.00 is a steep price for a 12-page comic. You can find the information online in many locations--for instance:

Choctaw code talkers

Choctaw Indian Code Talkers of World War I

Choctaw Code Talkers Association

Choctaw Code Talkers

Therefore, I can't recommend the comic except for Native-comics aficionados like me. For most people, it's a pricey way to learn about the codetalkers.

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