Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Indigenous illustrator Kyle Charles says hundreds of people have reached out to congratulate and thank him for his creations in a new Marvel anthology that tells the story of an Aboriginal mutant.

Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old from Edmonton to be one of the artists for Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1.

Since its launch last week, people from around the world, including many Indigenous youth, have contacted him about how much they appreciate the content he has brought to a mainstream platform, Charles says.

“I’ve even had young people reach out for advice,” Charles, surrounded by Marvel memorabilia and old comics, says in an interview in his home studio northwest of the city.

“They tell me they’re working to get sober and … I just tell them, ‘Hey, like, we all deal with the same thing, so I want you to just trust yourself and know your own past and remain strong in that pursuit.’”

Needing to remain strong is something the member of the Whitefish Lake First Nation understands well. He had a difficult childhood, got caught up with the wrong crowd in his late teens, and spent almost a decade homeless.

The lessons he has learned help him understand the struggles Indigenous youth go through. He hopes the Aboriginal characters in the anthology will help create an understanding that anyone can be a hero despite human flaws.

“It’s important for anybody living in Canada or the U.S. to have proper cultural representation. For a long time, native people didn’t have that, because they’re not in any kind of spotlight or on any kind of platform. They’re just in the background. I think something like this pushes us forward.”

Charles illustrates a story in the anthology featuring Dani Moonstar, who possesses the psychic ability to telepathically create illusions of her opponents’ fears or wishes.

Moonstar of the Cheyenne Nation “faces the crucial question of what her Indigenous heritage means in the new era of mutant-kind,” says Marvel’s official description.

Charles says the strong and resilient Indigenous women in his life, including his girlfriend, his mother, and his ‘“Coco,” or grandmother, remind him of Moonstar.

“My Coco is dying of cancer right now but she’s the strongest person I know,” he says.

“Doctors say she should be in palliative care, but they can’t figure out why she has no pain … She should be struggling, and she’s not. She’s still going to dinner with my mom and showing up for bingo night,” he laughs.

That’s just how Indigenous women are — calm and capable of overcoming any obstacle — Charles says, and that’s what he hopes young women reading the story and looking at his illustrations take away from Moonstar’s tale.

“Entertainment and creative fields have that power to inspire people, to maybe change the way they think about themselves, or help them understand the world around them.

“I hope (women) get inspired or they feel empowered. I hope they get whatever they need out of it, even if it’s just to escape.

“The most important thing to me is (them) … seeing this and saying, ‘That’s me. I am that character.’”

__

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Indigenousvideo

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Men’s Centre in Nanaimo, with help of volunteers and with the support of local businesses and other donors, was able to complete a renovation project at the Fitzwilliam Street office. (Photos submitted)
Renovations raise spirits at Nanaimo’s men’s centre

Non-profit organization thanks volunteers and donors

A conceptual drawing of ‘complete streets’ work on Front Street in downtown Nanaimo. (McElhanney image)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bike lanes help cyclists enjoy a safer commute

Bicycles aren’t taking up more than their share of the road, says letter writer

AstraZeneca vaccine is becoming available at B.C. pharmacies outside the Lower Mainland, as of Friday, April 9. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
Immunization program expands to five Nanaimo pharmacies

Residents 55-65-year-old can get their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

First responders were on scene of a motor vehicle incident and confrontation on Wallace Street in Nanaimo the morning of April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Youth arrested after car crash in Nanaimo

Ford pickup sustained rear driver’s-side damage in crash near Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man was arrested after getting angry because Nanaimo RCMP would not return a shovel he had allegedly been swinging around. (File photo)
Man arrested after objecting to Nanaimo RCMP confiscating shovel he had been swinging around

Police say it was in the public interest not to return the tool to allegedly impaired suspect

Don Bonner, RDN board director, left, Tyler Brown, RDN board chairperson, and Sean De Pol, RDN director of water and wastewater services, at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre April 6. (Shawn Wagar photo)
Nanaimo’s $82-million pollution control centre upgrade now complete

Wastewater treatment enhanced at RDN’s Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

Most Read