Manitoba HighWater Press has just published Stone,
the first comic book in the graphic novel series 7 Generations,
by author David Robertson and artist Scott Henderson. The ongoing
7 Generations is a four-part graphic novel series that
spans three centuries of an aboriginal family.
tells the story of Edwin, an aboriginal teenager who attempts suicide.
His mother realizes he must learn his familys past if he is
to have any future. She tells him about his ancestor Stone, a young
Plains Cree man who came of age at the beginning of the 19th century.
Following a vision quest, Stone aspires to be like his older brother,
Bear, a member of the Warrior Society. But when Bear is killed,
Stone must overcome his grief and avenge his brothers death;
only then can he begin a new life. It is Stones story that
drives Edwin to embark on his own quest.
2, Scars, features the orphan White Cloud, set against
the smallpox epidemic of 1870-71, Book 3, Ends/Begins,
features Edwins father and his residential school experience,
and Book 4, The Pact, is a story of redemption, as father
and son reconcile their past.
Swampy Cree, was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His realization that
education could combat racism and sexism inspired him to write his
non-fiction graphic novel The Life of Helen Betty Osborne,
published in 2008. Osborne was a Cree woman who was brutally raped
and murdered by four white men in 1971, but only one was convicted,
and it took 16 years to bring him to trial.
wrote that book for the foundation in her name and it was picked
up by HighWater Press. They approached me and asked if I had ever
thought of doing anything else and I already had this concept of
7 Generations in my head, so I gave them a proposal
and they gave me the book deal to do this. HighWater Press did a
request for proposals for an artist, and Scott Henderson was the
has worked as a colorist and illustrator for comics, portraiture,
advertising art, and most recently two World War II web comics for
the Canadian Air Forces For Valour series. He is also the
author and illustrator of the sci-fi fantasy comic The Books
was one of the first submissions and he just happened to be a Winnipeg
guy, in town, so it worked out well while we were putting a storyboard
together, Robertson said. We could just meet up for
coffee and go over it.
most people who end up in the comic book industry, Robertson has
been a fan since his childhood. I was a comic book geek when
I was growing up. I loved Spider-Man and the whole Marvel universe,
and Superman and Elfquest. But then I started getting into bigger
graphic novels. Ive always read comics so this was the logical
thing for me to start doing. Windy and Richard Pini [Elfquest] were
an inspiration as well as Todd McFarlane [Spawn].
current hit comic Scalped by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guera
deals with the ugliest truths in Native culture today, including
drug addiction and alcoholism. While Stone isnt
as gritty, it does deal in Native teenage suicide, and the harsh
realities of the past.
are more difficult things that we are dealing with in the future
books, Robertson said. The first book was an opportunity
to present how an encampment would have looked, a daily life sort
of thing, back before it was touched by colonization.
could show justice, governance, how marriage worked, what they had
for subsistence, and framing all of that around the character Stone
and his ascension into the Warrior Society. The suicide attempt
is our way of showing how history affects our youth today in terms
of getting in touch with our history, like the residential school
system, all that stuff that has affected us in a multi-generational
way. We dont shy away from the difficult stuff. Book 2 deals
with the smallpox epidemic. Its a difficult story, and obviously
Book 3 with the residential school system is a very strong story.
Its also a very difficult story to tell.
Press traditionally deals with educational material; this is its
first comic book. Although it is going into school, this is
one of the first things they have done that also has a mass market
appeal, Robertson said. Up here its doing really
well in bookstores. Book 3 is set to come out in September, and
Book 4 will come out in January, then all four will be combined
into a graphic novel/trade paperback. Were going to put in
some additional scenes and some making of stuff.
is currently working on another comic about the residential school
system and a science fiction/mystery title. For more information,