November 13, 2007

Silver Arrow

SILVER ARROW is apparently a European comic featuring Natives. It was created by Belgian artist Frank Sels and was published in German, Dutch, and Norwegian. I couldn't find much about it in English, but here's some information:

Frank Sels (3/12/1942-19/12/1986, Belgium)Frank Sels started his career in 1963, working for Studio Vandersteen as inker on series like 'De Rode Ridder' and 'Karl May'. Starting in 1964, he illustrated several comics that were published in Ohee magazine, such as 'Mister Grizzly', 'Abraham Lincoln', 'De Ilias' and 'Tall Bull'. For magazine 't Kapoentje he worked on 'Arkulleke', 'Bongo Tegen de Kux Klan', 'Kleine Antilope' and 'De Avonturen van de Zeearend'.

In 1966, Sels resigned from Vandersteen, only to return when he didn't find work at the newspaper Het Volk. Together with Edgard Gastmans, he took over the 'Bessy' series. After a final break with Vandersteen, they worked on the German series 'Silberpfeil' and 'Buffalo Bill'. In 1969, Sels founded Studio Sels, through which he earned the reputation as the fastest comic-artist in Europe, cranking out as much as 42 pages a week, without too many concessions to quality. His work is published all over Europe.
A typical storyline:

Zilverpijl--de verleiding van Endo (Silver Arrow--The seduction of Endo)It is time for a new camp-ground, and led by Silver Arrow the Kiowa find the perfect place. Once the camp is set up, Endo goes for a ride in the neighborhood. He notices a young woman, who turns out to be an Arapahoe, being chased by Pawnee Indians, and he rescues her. He takes her to the camp, and the two young people seem to get along very well. But bad luck seems to have come over the new camp: many people become ill, buffaloes almost stampede the place, and a dead eagle is found in the camp, a bad omen...A fan's reaction:

Long and digressing post on the injustice of the universeI think it was a comic that originally made me take an interest in human rights. As a child I was a huge fan of the American native comic character Sølvpilen, originally invented by the Belgian comic writer Frank Sels for the Scandinavian and German market. One of those magazines was re-launched in a special edition a couple of years ago, and I read it eagerly. Today I can see that the comic offers mostly nostalgic value and not much else--even as a child I questioned the authenticity of the heroine’s dress, and the Kiowa people had WASPy features and achieved a native look only by adding some tan and jet black hair. Even so, at 9 I was fascinated, and the fascination led to interest which led to a search for information which led to a more general concern for the fate of the American natives, and that’s when I got angry.For those who can read Danish, here's a website with more information and pictures. Apparently Silver Arrow had a beautiful Indian princess for a girlfriend, a lion-maned cowboy friend for reader identification, and a puma cub for comic relief.

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