April 26, 2010

Trickster's starred reviews

'Trickster' reviewsSchool Library Journal (May 2010)
(Starred review)

More than 40 storytellers and cartoonists have contributed to this original and provocative compendium of traditional folklore presented in authentic, colorful, and engaging sequential art. The stories are drawn from a variety of Native peoples across North America, and so the trickster character appears variously as Rabbit, a raccoon, Coyote, and in other guises; landscapes, clothing and rhythms of speech and action also vary in keeping with distinct traditions. Realistic, impressionistic, painterly, and cartoon styles of art are employed to echo and announce the tone of each tale and telling style, making this a rich visual treasure as well as cultural trove. Contributors include well-known author Joseph Bruchac, Pueblo storyteller Eldrena Douma, cartoonist and Smithsonian Institution employee Evan Keeling, and many who have not worked in comics heretofore as well as cartoonists with no previous allegiance to telling Native stories with their art. The total package is accessible, entertaining, educational, inspiring, and a must-have for all collections.

Booklist (American Library Association, May 2010)
(Starred review)

This graphic-format collection of Native American tales featuring an old folk favorite—the trickster—hits an impressive trifecta of achievements. First, it’s a wildly successful platform for indie-comic creators and an excellent showcase for their distinctive styles. From David Smith and Jerry Carr's heroic, animation-inspired “Trickster and the Great Chief” to the Looney Toons zaniness of “Rabbit’s Chocktaw Tail Tale” by Tim Tingle and Pat Lewis, there’s a bit of visual panache here for every taste. Second, with the exception of a stray X-Man or two and an obscure DC sword-and-sorcery character, this is the first graphic novel to really focus on Native American themes and events, a surprising absence that this book remedies with respect and imagination. Lastly, as Native American folklore is so directly tied to the culture’s spirituality, this proves the rare graphic novel that handles such issues without specifically attaching them to standard religious practices. With stories that vary in emotional tone, matching the ever-shifting appearance and character of the trickster himself and the lessons he teaches and learns, this collection is an ideal choice for dipping into over and over. A dandy read for those interested in history, folklore, adventure, humor, or the arts, and a unique contribution to the form.
Comment:  The "obscure DC sword-and-sorcery character" is Arak. He's appeared in comic books but not graphic novels.

Even if you exclude every Native character from Marvel or DC, at least a couple dozen graphic novels have focused on Native themes and events. Any reviewer who doesn't know this is woefully ignorant of the field.

Anyway, Trickster sounds good. I'll be checking it out and you should too.

For more on the subject, see Trickster on Amazon.com and Comic Books Featuring Indians.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Comic books are often called graphic novels a lot of the time. "Watchmen" is a pretty good example. It's really a comic book, but one that was later reprinted all in one volume which made some count it as a graphic novel.