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

NES hosts grades 5 - 7 in Hagensborg (file photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Nusatsum Elementary School

The exposure was in grade 5 and took place Jan. 6, 2021

Jeffery Snow has been our community paramedic for the past three years and has worked as a paramedic for over three decades. He is now certified to offer COVID-19 testing to clients (Caitlin Thompson photo)
Bella Coola’s community paramedic can now test people for COVID-19

Jeffery Snow became certified to offer COVID-19 testing on Jan. 13, 2021

The first cases were reported by the Nuxalk EOC on Jan. 7 (file photo)
COVID-19 cases climb to 25 in Bella Coola

The first cases were reported by the Nuxalk EOC on Jan. 7

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Cariboo Memorial Hospital by Interior Health. IH said Wednesday afternoon four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Cariboo Memorial Hospital by Interior Health

Four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19

SD49 has suspended in-class instruction due to rising COVID-19 cases (file photo)
SD49 suspends face-to-face instruction due to COVID-19

School is still open for childcare services

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read