Justice League Canada's new heroine created by comic artist Jeff Lemire
The result: along with the Justice League's Canadian relocation comes the brand-new heroine Equinox: a 16-year-old Cree teen from Moose Factory named Miiyahbin, whose power stems from the Earth and changes with the seasons.
"Creating a teenage female superhero was interesting to me because, generally, most superheroes are white males. We need diversity and we need different personalities," Lemire said.
"You need very distinct voices for personalities on the team or else you just start writing the same character in a different costume."
Multiple research trips north proved illuminating and rewarding for Lemire. He spent time in grade school classrooms, soaked up the local scene (including an abandoned NORAD base and trap-line visits) in Moosonee and Moose Factory and got feedback on his ideas from residents.
Moose Factory musician and comic fan Nathan Cheechoo, for instance, advised Lemire to “take away all that stereotypical imagery and get down to basic principles” in his depictions.
Teenage Cree Superhero Makes DC Comics Debut in April
Comic creator Jeff Lemire said in October that he was inspired by the legacy of the late Shannen Koostachin, of the Attawapiskat First Nation, who advocated for improved education for Aboriginal youth. Koostachin was killed in a car accident in 2010 at age 15.
Lemire also told CBC that he's not sure what will happen to Equinox after her five-issue stint in Justice League comes to an end, but that his visits with Aboriginal communities have given him a larger perspective: "If I end up going [north] a few times and teaching kids how to draw or about comics, and 10 years from now some kid from James Bay ends up writing or drawing [his or her] own comics, then none of that other stuff will matter because the project was worth it."
By Lucas Siegel
Equinox comes on the heels of Marvel Comics releasing the new Ms. Marvel, starring a Pakistani-American girl named Kamala Khan. That series’ first two issues have charted at #1 on digital comics distributor comiXology in the US and several international markets.
For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.