- ‘When we learn to assume differences in media … we can begin to embrace differences in real-life.’
- A panel from Olivia Akeeshoo Chislett’s upcoming comic book, Stopping By Woods.
There’s something deep about digging into the good side of “bad” characters — their perspectives, their reasons — that makes Olivia Akeeshoo Chislett draw.
The Iqaluit artist and teacher is getting prepared for the publication of Stopping By Woods, a 12-page comic book about best friends who go on a hiking journey together. One is “a little bit strange,” and the other is an outgoing, flamboyant child.
Far from town, things go wrong, and the outgoing boy has an accident. His friend chooses to expose a secret that could have life-altering consequences to rescue him.
Chislett’s love of demons inspired the story. How they are represented in media — a portrayal she identified with growing up as a girl, a queer individual, and an Indigenous person in Canada.
She said that people manage to hide parts of themselves that are different so they won’t be ignored.
“Usually, monsters within media are things people don’t understand,” she stated.
“I think when we learn to adapt differences in media and monsters in media, and things like that, we can begin to embrace differences in real life. That’s not to say that different individuals are monsters, but many people have the same response to them as if they were.”
That perspective has always encouraged her to tell stories that recall a different side of the “bad guy,” but she didn’t know how to portray them till she fell into comic book illustration.
Source – cbc.ca