April 08, 2010

Blue Corn Comics in Pawhuska Journal-Capital

We get e-mail:Dear Mr. Schmidt,

My name is Bruce R. Jackson and I am the staff reporter of the Pawhuska Journal–Capital newspaper.

On 24MAR10, I published a feature article that covered the basics of your mission and your company. Pawhuska is in the heart of Osage country with many Native Americans and they are presently developing their symbols for their language which thus far has been written using modern American letters. I wrote the article in hopes that some connection between your publication and the Osage Nation might be mutually beneficial.

I am not Native American, but of Irish extraction and my wife is Choctaw. I hope that my article has represented you and your organization well and that the Osage will someday have a working relationship with you.

I am including a copy of my article which is drawn greatly from your website.

Bruce R. Jackson
Pawhuska Journal–Capital
Staff Reporter
And the article:

Blue Corn Publishing Native Americans

By Bruce R. Jackson
J–C Staff Reporter
Blue Corn Comic books are catching the interest of today's jaded youth and educating them in Native American cultures.

The illustrated magazine is focused on youth of areas just like Pawhuska and Osage County in general.

Blue Corn Comics' target audience is readers of graphic literature, especially teens, young adults, and adults.

Their flagship title, “Peace Party” is an ongoing series about two young heroes who fight everything from prejudice and pollution to super-villains and the supernatural.

Their comics are aimed at those who want more sophisticated, challenging stories than those in most of today’s comic books.

Blue Corn has a board of advisors, which reviews each script and identifies any instances of inaccuracy or insensitivity to Native cultures.

Tribes that are represented include Choctaw, Free Cree, Onodowaga, Lenape, Athabascan, Nansemond, Hopi, Diné, Anishinabe, Pechanga and Cherokee.

With Osage emerging now in its newly developed written format, the opportunities for local Natives has just increased.

Since a market for such literature exists, but most of the existing products in this category are either dark and nihilistic or escapist fantasies that are difficult for Native youth to relate to, Blue Corn offers an alternative.

Only a limited few comic book titles touch upon current political, social, or cultural issues that affect their lives, families, and communities but a, according to Rob Schmidt, owner/creator and publisher, “A successful series of Native-themed graphic novels will achieve some or all of my socially-conscious objectives.”

Rob Schmidt seeks to increase awareness of Indian history, cultures, and issues among the public and especially among today's youth.

By doing that, Schmidt believes he can help counteract stereotypes of Indians as savages, nature worshipers, mystics, drunks, freeloaders, or a dying breed, and instead portray them as a complex and vibrant people.

“The educational benefits will hopefully increase reading among youths, especially Indians and other minorities, who are averse to books and other materials not geared to their specific needs and interests,” said Schmidt.

One of Schmidt’s goals is to increase the self-esteem and pride of Indian youths, who have few heroic models in today's culture to look up to and emulate.

In addition, Blue Corn Comics is determined to provide opportunities for young Indian writers, artists, and business people to explore the comic book medium.

As one of a limited number of companies who promote established Indian writers and artists through their primary title’s supplemental text features and artistic showcases.

As a promoter of diversity in the job market, Schmidt wants to provide publishing or co-publishing opportunities for Indian tribes and organizations, furnishing skills and jobs and helping to bolster their self-sufficiency.

Blue Corn and “Peace Party” are helping to stem the decline of Indian languages by publishing versions in these languages, which could be an outlet at the Pawhuska High School’s new Osage Language classes.

To serve other Indian causes and projects by producing customized versions with targeted stories for other Nations and Tribes is where the magazine is headed.

Schmidt is now trying to feed part of any profits back into Indian coffers, to help tribes and organizations enhance their economic and social development.
Comment:  We're still working on the PEACE PARTY graphic novel. One of these days we'll finish it.

For more on PEACE PARTY, see PEACE PARTY = "Real" Native Comic? and PEACE PARTY in Western American Literature. For more on the subject in general, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.

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