pike Trotman's Iron Circus Comics will be launching a Kickstarter for The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories, Cover

In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, editor/cover artist Alina Pete, series editors Kel McDonald and Kate Ashwin talk about The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories. Spike Trotman’s Iron Circus Comics has launched the Kickstarter for their timely anthology inspired by original North American folktales.

Launched on Kickstarter, the anthology of comics is inspired by original North American folktales. From the thrilling tale of Chokfi the trickster rabbit, to the stirring story of the White Horse Plains, the book features more than 100 pages of entertaining and educational stories by artists and writers from Indigenous people across the continent.

The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories is the fifth volume of the acclaimed Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales series. This is the first volume of the series to be published by Iron Circus Comics.

With the Kickstarter now available for pledgers, editor/cover artist Alina Pete and series editors Kel McDonald and Kate Ashwin talk about what the comics anthology means to them.

Editor/cover artist Alina Pete: 

VM: Tell me about the challenges/responsibilities involved when putting together the contributors list, which you also curated.

AP: Some of the contributors I have worked with before, but the majority of them I found by looking at other Indigenous-led comic projects, such as Moonshot or This Place: 150 Years Retold. I also put out a call on “Native twitter” to let folks know I was looking for artists and writers for a project, and I found some great new artists that way!

As for our writers, we had to take into account the traditional protocol surrounding Indigenous legends. All Indigenous stories belong to the nations who tell them, not to any individual storyteller, so we asked our writers to ask for permission from their Elders and/or nations to tell these stories in this anthology. It was very important to us that we respect the protocol of the nations featured in this anthology.

VM: Tell me how The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories changed you as an artist?

AP: I think that the amazing response we’ve received has really reaffirmed my desire to help other Indigenous creators tell their stories – not just traditional folklore, but all kinds of stories! I think there’s a hunger for Indigenous voices, and I want to support that however I can.


Series editor Kel McDonald:

VM: Tell me what it means to you about being involved with an anthology inspired by original North American folktales―from the thrilling tale of Chokfi the trickster rabbit, to the stirring story of the White Horse Plains―which are all told by Indigenous creators.

KM: I love folklore from all around the world and love learning more about it. The point of the Cautionary Fables series as a whole is to encourage kids to learn shout cultures they are unfamiliar with. So I’m excited that we can hire all these artists and writers to share the stories with kids from all over. I’m proud to be a small part in expanding kids horizons.

VM: Tell me how The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories changed you as an editor/storyteller?

KM: All the stories look so good and the backers’ response has been so positive that it’s reinforced my goal to shine a light on more and more tales from all over. 


Series editor Kate Ashwin:
VM: Were there challenges/responsibilities involved because this happens to be the 30th Kickstarter for Spike Trotman’s Iron Circus Comics, especially as readers are dealing with a pandemic?

KA: It’s definitely been a very different experience to work with Iron Circus on this project rather than on our own as before, since they’re such Kickstarter legends you really want to live up to their legacy as best as you can! Spike is very much an indie comics legend, so working with her on this has been a real honour.

As for the pandemic, any worries we might have had are long gone- the wonderful reaction we’ve had so far shows it hasn’t dampened our readers’ love for stories!

VM: Tell me how The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories changed you as an editor/storyteller?

KA: I firmly believe that every time you reach beyond your usual boundaries to read something from a culture different from your own, it will benefit your own storytelling immensely. I’m so grateful to all of our contributors who have lent their knowledge, experience and talent to make this book such a wonderful journey to read!

Readers can find more from their Kickstarter page here:

By Jorge Solis

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