Cole Pauls’ Dakwakada Warriors
Since 2012, Vancouver comics artist Cole Pauls has made a name for himself drawing punks fiending for pizza. The aptly-named Pizza Punks strips have been collected in a few zines, were serialized in the free newspaper published by Vancouver store Lucky’s Comics and led to Pauls being interviewed by Nardwuar.
Last fall, Pauls, who is Tahltan First Nation and grew up in a Southern Tutchone-speaking community in the Yukon, released a badass superhero comic paying tribute to his Indigenous heritage, titled Dakwakada Warriors in: Sha Catcher. Pauls says he always wanted to mix his Indigenous heritage with comics and made his first foray with a two-pager about a Southern Tuchone superstition as a student at Emily Carr University. In the same class, Pauls encountered a moment of ignorance in relation to his work and cultural background. “I also did a four-page auto bio comic about my first critique when a white lady with dreads asked me: `How does it feel to be a white male appropriating a culture you’re not a part of?’ and I had to explain to her I was Tahltan First Nations and that there is such thing as a light-skinned native person,” Pauls remembers. It’s moments like these that cement the importance of a comic like Dakwakada Warriors as a teachable tool.
The story draws inspiration from a Pacific Northwest Coast legend featuring a Raven saving the sun to help protect the earth. As such, the titular Warriors wear wolf and raven power suits and fight to save the sha (sun) and nan (earth) from two cyborg villians (a Sasquatch and an evil colonial pioneer). As the two “Native Power Rangers” (in Pauls’ words) fight to save the world, they speak a mix of English and the Southern Tutchone language, with the typical “kick!” and “pow!” comic battle sound effects appearing in translation. It’s awesome! To order Dakwakada Warriors, email Pauls at email@example.com. (Alison Lang)