Artist: John Paul Leon
Colours: Giulia Brusco
Published: February 2008
My town's local public library is a great place. They have DVD's, CDs, a huge assortment of books, magazines, but more importantly they have a pretty decent selection of graphic novels. The library has Paul Pope's Heavy Liquid, Darwyn Cooke's Selina's Big Score, Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing, Grant Morrison's WE3 - we'll as you can see they got's the greats....however, they also have Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera's Scalped; which catapults this great selection to a spectacular selection.
Being fairly on-top of the comic scene, I am ashamed to say that this series has slipped under my radar...boy am I grateful for my library! Scalped is a story about a group of individuals on the Prairie Rose Reservation. It is dark, crime-noir story, filled with murder, deception, lust, betrayal, pride, heritage, drugs, and well, you get the point. Aside from these basic noir elements, what makes this series so great, is that Aaron has brought Aboriginal Americans to the forefront of his story. In 12 issues, Aaron has covered government interference vs. autonomy, measuring one's aboriginal status in fractions, spirit totems, protests, reservations vs. prisons, and remembering one's heritage, no matter at what price that memory costs.
In issue 12, Aaron and guest artist John Paul Leon deliver a standalone story to bring new readers up to speed on Dashiell Bad Horse's situation. The story consists of Dash caught in vicious dreams of his past, present, and possible future.
Of key note, in six pages, Dash relives and experiences
horrific events of Aboriginal American history. He is confronted with hate, prejudice, murder, theft, foreign disease, and ultimately, the importance of heritage and unity. I don't want to give away too much, but let me just say that the image below is enough to drive home the fact that Scalped is a great series that merits immediate attention.
Living in Canada, and having lived in a town that was less than 10km away from a First Nations Reservation, I have had many opportunities to consider what life may be like for a First Nations person. However, before I start, I want to preface my thoughts with the fact that although I may think and imagine what life is like for a First Nations person, I can never actually know or understand what that life is like....
Nevertheless, from what I do know and understand, if I were to imagine myself in the same shoes as a First Nations person, I know for fact that I would be in a very negative mood. First, being segregated into reservations is a negative for me. I don't like being told were to live. Second, if I were to leave, I don't like being told there will be consequences, be it social, financial or otherwise. Third, I don't like that on government forms I am constantly confronted with the "aboriginal" check box. Fourthly, I don't like the idea that political posts that work with Aboriginals are called 'Indian Affairs.' Fifthly, I don't like that children who attend schools with aboriginals don't see aboriginals as classmates, but see their aboriginal classmates as just aboriginals.
Maybe I'm the biased one and my frustrations are unfounded, but one thing I do think is valid is that a persons identity and self worth can never be fully realized as long as someone else is telling them what they are and what they should do.