WELCOME !

Greetings and welcome to alterNative Media ("aNm"), a Native American-owned small business. aNm's blog highlights our interaction with Indigenous culture and popular media (comic books, video games, digital media/art, etc.) as well as providing exciting information about Natives in the digital frontier.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

IPI: Indigenous Peeps in the Industry - 08

Hi-ho, everyone!  This portion of Indigenous Peeps in the Industry or 'IPI' - which is my on-going blog series that celebrates Indigenous artists, writers, and other creative individuals working either in the comic book or video game industry - spotlights the ever-talented, Roy Boney.

I've known Roy for some time now, have spent time with him in person, and even given presentations with him along the way. Roy is an amazing individual both from a cultural and technical (technology) standpoint, a tremendous artist, and with these great powers comes...his great sense of humor (something I definitely appreciate).

See the grin in the image for an idea of this humor. ☺ 

You can follow Roy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/roy.boney or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/royboney. Be sure to check out his homepage at http://royboney.com/.

MS: Background info: what is your tribal affiliation and where are you from?

RB: I'm a full blood citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I'm from Locust Grove, OK. I currently live in Tahlequah.

MS: Did you have a lot of cultural interaction growing up? (Family gatherings, dances, ceremonies, etc.?) 

RB: I was raised in a small Cherokee community just outside of Locust Grove known as Iron Post.  I grew up in a family of fluent Cherokee speakers. My uncles, aunts, grandparents, and parents all grew up with Cherokee as their first language. It would be spoken at family gatherings, at church, and in my house growing up.

MS: When did you first get into comics?

RB: One of my earliest memories is of going to the grocery story with my dad and seeing an issue of Amazing Spiderman and desperately wanting it. He gave in and bought it for me. That was back in 1984 or so when Spidey was in the black costume. I've been drawing even longer than that, and I always wanted to draw comics.

I had done cartoons for my high school newspaper,  but my first real foray into publishing comics was when I was an undergraduate in college. I was studying graphic design, and getting into web design. To help me learn HTML and dynamic scripting, I set up a website to publish a webcomic. This was around 1999, and the comic was called Plugin Boy.

Plugin Boy is the story of a suicidal robotic boy who could only live life when he was plugged into a wall. He would constantly unplug himself only to be plugged back in by his scientist creator. Plugin Boy developed a cult following, and I opened a small online shop that sold stickers. That grew into being contacted by a writer from Canada by the name of Matt Shepherd. He hired me to draw a webcomic series called The License. That was my first paid gig as a comics artist.

From there Matt and I collaborated further and developed Dead Eyes Open, a limited issue series about what would happen if zombies were not mindless flesh eating monsters but instead retained their memories, personalities, beliefs, etc., of when they were alive. Essentially they were people except for the rotting flesh part. We made a submission packet of 8 complete pages of the comic, and submitted it to as many indie comic publishers as we could. We received many rejection letters until Dan Vado over at SLG Publishing liked the concept. They published the 6 issue series and eventually collected the series into a graphic novel.

MS: Do you have a favorite comic; title or type?

RB: Some of my most favorite series are Spawn, the Savage Dragon, the Sandman, and the Maxx. Sam Keith is one of my all time favorite artists. I discovered him during his work on the Sandman, and I really loved the Maxx. I also really like the work of Charles Burns on the Black Hole series. I think overall, I'm drawn to the darker types of stories, and Black Hole fits that vein. I aspire to create a poignant graphic novel about Cherokees in the vein of Joe Sacco's Palestine book.

MS: Tell us more about the comic you've been working on; how did it all start / come about?

RB: After finishing up Dead Eyes Open, I have contributed short stories to several other projects. One was the Trickster graphic novel, which was an Eisner nominee. Another was the Native American Graphic Classics anthology. Dead Eyes Open was reprinted in the Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics where it briefly found a second life (pardon the pun). I also did a cover illustration and graphic feature for Indian Country Today magazine about Sequoyah and the history of the Cherokee language in technology. The story was a great success, and the cover was a finalist in the American Society of Magazine Editors Cover of the Year competition. It didn't win, but it was quite an honor to be included among other magazines such as Time, Fortune, and Newsweek.


Most of this work led to my collaboration with a few native comic book artists and writers into a project we call INC which stands for Indigenous Narratives Collective. We published a mini comic #0 a while back. It seemed to go over well, and several of us have appeared at various events around the country promoting the group. We have been planning a graphic novel about the Code Talkers. Most people may have heard of the Navajo Code Talkers, but there is so much more history with other tribes as well. Each of us has been working on a story about different tribes. I've been developing one about the Cherokee Code Talkers in World War I.


MS: When can we expect it and where can we buy it? (…and will there be an NDN discount?)

RB: As the book is still in the early stages of development, I don't have a release date yet. I totally would love to offer an NDN discount though!

MS: Keeping in mind your other talents, what is your specialty?

RB: My day job is working for the Cherokee Nation as a language technology specialist in the Language Technology Program. So I guess you could say that's my "specialty." The program works with major technology companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft to ensure that the Cherokee language is compatible with their products. For example, a Cherokee language interface pack was recently released for Windows 8 and Apple's iOS includes a Cherokee font and keyboard. These are the kinds of projects the program does.

As far as art and comics goes, I really enjoy drawing. I would consider drawing my strongest skill. I have taken on the habit of doing a drawing a day which I post to Facebook and I work in various media including traditional pencil and paper to digital sketches on my iPad. I'm nearing two years of daily posting. This simple practice has really improved my drawing skills waaaaaay more than I ever thought. It's been great fun, and it challenges me to be creative each day.

MS: Did you get special training and/or education for the comic book work?

RB: I have a bachelor's degree in graphic design in which I focused more on the illustration side of things from Oklahoma State University. I also have a master’s degree in studio art from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. My thesis was on using  digital technology to tell stories in the Cherokee language. I create two animated short films as part of the process, one was stop motion and the other was a 3D computer animation.

MS: Have you worked on any other comics? 

RB: I jumped the gun and covered that in the question above…lol.

MS: What are some comics with Native American characters in them that stand out to you?

RB: Actually, one character that I remember liking a lot when I was a teenager was Ripclaw from Cyberforce published by Image Comics. He wasn't exactly a great representation because he was vaguely Indian. I recall he was sometimes associated with the Apaches and sometime the Cheyenne, but it was never a major part of the comics. When you’re a kid, any cool kind of character that is native appeals to you because it’s so rare to see in popular media. It was almost like you take what you can get.

I also was really into Scout. The only problem was, I had a difficult time finding the comic books because it was from an indie publisher, and a kid living in a rural Oklahoma town in the 1980s didn't have many opportunities to run to the comic shop Starbase 21 in Tulsa. I actually found a few issues at the local flea market.

I also cannot neglect Arigon Starr's Super Indian. It's one of the best series I've seen portraying a native super hero in a looooong time. It's well written, funny, and offers a hero that isn't a sidekick or a lame stereotype.

MS: What is your opinion about Indigenous characters in comics? Do you feel we portrayed properly?

RB: Overall, the portrayal of natives in comics has been pretty dismal. One of the first things that springs to mind is the chief character in the Super Friends cartoon whose power was to grow in size. I remember him speaking broken English and kind of just being boring in comparison. Other characters like Turok  were just okay. I understand his character had evolved quite a lot from his earlier publication, but I read it during the Valiant comics days mainly because I was a huge fan of the artist Bart Sears.


While there are a few highlights, I think we still have a long way to go in having properly portrayals in comic books and other media. I would like to see more native characters have their own books and not be a secondary character. I'd also like to see some more mature stories about tribal people along the lines of the stories you might read in the Vertigo line of comics.

MS: Do you know of any other Natives in the "biz" (comic industry and/or video game industry)?

RB: I'm friends with Arigon Starr, and I keep up with Michael Sheyahshe. I've also started to follow the work of Jonathan Nelson. I enjoy all their work, and I hope to collaborate more with them in the future.

MS: Any words of wisdom for others (Native or non) looking to do what you do?

RB: I think the biggest bit of advice I could give is to don't give up and to continue creating. Even if you don't publish anything, it's still good practice to actively create things. Draw, paint, sketch, and write all the time. It'll prepare you for the moment when you do get a chance to publish something.  It also helps to be very passionately about comics, because if anyone ever tells you it's easy to draw a comic book, they're pulling your leg! It's a very labor intensive process, but it’s so worth it when you’re finished. That feeling you have once you send your final pages to the publisher is sooooo satisfying.

MS: Anything I've missed here? Anything you’d like to 'plug' (upcoming shows, etc.)?

RB: I'd like to give a plug to the Indigenous Narratives Collective again. We hope to publish more content soon, and we would like more native creators that are interested to check it out. http://indigenousnarrativescollective.com/

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Monday, March 05, 2012

Speaking at IFAIR 2012

Great news!

I have been invited by the Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR) at the University of New Mexico to the Indigenous Book and Authors Festival in Albuquerque on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 2pm for a session titled, "Graphic/Comic/Art Stories", based on my book from publisher, McFarland.

Check out more info at my book's blog site: http://nativecomicbooks.blogspot.com/2012/03/speaking-at-ifair-2012.html.

Monday, February 06, 2012

IPI: Indigenous Peeps in the Industry - 07


Greetings. In this edition of 'IPI' - my on-going blog series that celebrates Indigenous artists, writers, and other creative individuals working either in the comic book or video game industry (whew!) - I talk with Jacques La Grange.

Jacques introduction:
"Hello, my name is Jacques La Grange. I am the creator and artist of the comic book Shadow Wolf. I am currently on hiatus from the book, to tend to my ailing wife and be the best possible father to my 3 kids. Recently I was asked by Phoenix Comic Con if I would be interested in putting on a Panel for Native Americans in comics. Last year was a huge success, and though I'm on leave, I wanted to take this opportunity to promote other Native Americans in comics."
You can follow Shadow Wolf on its FaceBook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Shadow-Wolf/133417390021261

MS: Background info: what is your tribal affiliation and where are you from?

JLG: I am a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe from San Carlos, AZ, just outside of Globe, AZ. I was born in Santa Fe, NM and grew up in Espanola, NM (Lowrider Capital of the U.S.!) I also lived in Los Alamos, NM, you might have heard of this place: this is where U.S. government created the Atomic Bomb that we dropped on Japan in WWII. I moved a lot, I guess I was searching for something? I've lived in Albuquerque, NM; Phoenix, AZ; Riverside, CA; Ft Dueshene, UT; Jesup, IA. It wasn't until I ended up in San Carlos, AZ where I found myself.

MS: Did you have a lot of cultural interaction growing up? (Family gatherings, dances, ceremonies, etc.?)

Panel of Shadow Wolf #3
JLG: That is a tough one to answer...you see, I went to live with my Father when I was very young. I did not meet my mother until I was a Sophomore in High School. Up to that point it was with the only family I knew, my father and brother. I decided to move to San Carlos to get to know my mother and the other 500 family members on the rez. It just happened that my little sister was having her Sunrise Dance. My mother took it upon herself to educate me in our ways. She called it 'Apache Boot Camp', and it was!

There was a lot of work to set up camps for the ceremony. I can recall my mother telling me, "Do whatever the Medicine Man asks you." I got to tell you: from the singers and the Crown Dancers...I WAS HOOKED!! Later on I ended going to Sherman Indian High in Riverside, CA and it was there I was joined the Apache Club. I was able to sing and dance center field of Dodger Stadium on Native American Day. The Apache Club performed throughout Southern Cal and was one the best times of my life! It was during a performance that I meet a drum group called, "Bear Springs Singers." They invited me to learn how to sing Northern Style Pow Wow, which is something I truly miss!

MS: When did you first get into comics?

JLG: Growing up as a child I was very sick with Asthma and I would be hospitalized a lot. My father would bring me comic books. I can remember at age 4 or 5 when I was introduced to Superman in Action Comics. I learned a lot from Superman...about doing the right thing, standing up for what you believe in. I have been a fan of comics ever since!

MS: What is your favorite comic book of all time...something that turns FRI-SUN into a 'lost weekend'?

Shadow Wolf panel from issue #2
JLG: My favorite comic of all time would have to be Superman. But more recently I would have to say it is a tie, between Walking Dead and Scalped! I had the pleasure of meeting Robert Kirkman and had lunch with Jason Aaron.

MS: What is your specialty in the biz?

JLG: I’m not sure if I have a specialty, except for the fact that I'm actually Native American working on a Native American book. I would say that my strongest skill is penciling. I love to pencil...I get upset when I have to ink over my work!

MS: Did you get special training and/or education for this?

JLG: Actually no: I'm self taught. At first I had a script for Shadow Wolf. I tried getting someone to draw the book for me. No one would or if I did find someone they would flake out on me. After 3 years of sitting on the script, I made a decision if this book was going to come out. I would need to learn how to draw. Literally, I started with stick figures. I bought How to Draw the Marvel Way.

I was fortunate that Atomic Comics had a drawing club called the Nuclear Artist Society. A lot of the people that have their own books now were also part of the drawing club. It was really nice to be able to get critiqued every week. I learned a lot from a bunch of amazing artists. It took 4 years of constantly drawing and refining and then drawing some more! Seven years after I wrote the script. I drew Shadow Wolf and it made its debut at Phoenix Comic Con.

MS: What other comics/projects have you worked on?

JLG: Prior to doing the Shadow Wolf comic, I was really into making Native American Films. The films were tribal specific, which brought awareness to community issues such as throwing away your grease after making frybread. I kid you not! HUD on Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community asked if I could make them a film on this issue. It was a great experience.
We had asked the Fire Department if they could blow up a house for us. They did not agree to that. So we asked HUD to build a set for us and the Fire Department blew that up instead. It was a great experience because I was teaching a film making class for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale in Salt River. So the community kids really got involved and we won the Amerid National Video Contest. Based on some of those films I was asked to go to New York to see if I would be interested in a Native American film, but the budget was cut and that film was never made.

MS: Do any comic books with Native American characters in them?

JLG: My character Shadow Wolf is Native American. Doesn't have any specific tribal affiliation, but at one point I wanted him to be Jicarilla Apache.

MS: Do you have an opinion about Indigenous characters in comics, video games, and/or pop culture?

Shadow Wolf panel from issue #2
JLG: I believe that Native Americans need to be the ones to tell their own story. Look, I’m not trying to say that the films that John Woo (Windtalkers) or Rich Schroeder (Black Cloud) made are bad. I’m for anyone trying to do something good! Plus I’m a huge John Woo fan and Rick Schroeder reviewed one of my films and gave me some real good advice.

Grant Morrison who writes for DC traveled through Arizona and fell in love with Native Culture. In fact, he loved it so much he wrote Super Chief. Grant stopped writing Super Chief because he felt that he was doing an injustice to Native Americans, due to the fact that he himself is not Native American.

I would say that I'm really happy that Native American stories are great to see in games, books, and movies, but I honestly think its time for us to tell our own stories! I really dig the way Natives are portrayed in the Twilight films. Aside from the fact that it's Twilight, the Wolf Pack kicks major butt! They are warriors, protecting their people. Trying to do the right thing and definitely not being sidekicks. I honestly believe that they are positive representation of Native People.

MS: Do you know of any other Natives in the "biz" (comics/gaming industry)?

JLG: When I first came out with the Shadow Wolf, I found out about Tribal Force and it looked AWESOME! I found Jon Proudstar on MySpace and began talking to him about my book. He told me to reach to Ryan Huna the artist of Tribal Force because he owns the rights to the character GAN. I also know Arigon Starr who created Super Indian. My wife's cousin is Kiowa Gordon, who is part of the Wolf Pack in the Twilight films. Along with his mother Camille Nighthorse who just starred in More Than Frybread.

MS: Any words of wisdom for others (Native or non) looking to do what you do?

JLG: Yes I do, especially to our younger generation. Becoming educated doesn't mean you are losing who you are as Native person, or the death of our culture. You can be both Traditional and Educated. Being both means that there are more opportunities to help keep our culture alive. I'll put it this way: way back in the day before we had guns, we used a bow and arrow. Then the soldiers came with rifles and saw how effective those were. We picked them up and began to use them...because they helped us. You should see technology in the same way. Yes it is not traditional, but neither was that rifle and we made it ours. The same with Technology...we need to make that ours! Don't be shy to talk to people about who you are and what you want to do. They only way we are going to change how Native Peoples are perceived, begin with us engaging others.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interview with C&I

With the upcoming summer 2011 film, Cowboys & Aliens, Cowboys & Indians Magazine interviewed me about Natives representation in pop culture. Read more info here:

http://nativecomicbooks.blogspot.com/2011/06/sheyahshe-interviewed-for-cowboys.html

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blackstone Campaign - Like it on FB

A message from my friend to the North, Beth Aileen Lameman, Social Media Coordinator - Zeros 2 Heroes Media...

The Facebook campaign being run by the television series Blackstone lends our support to the Canadian Aboriginal Writing & Arts Challenge, which encourages young Aboriginals to share and explore their heritage through creative arts. In doing so we hope to give these future storytellers a voice in preserving and strengthening the rich cultural tradition of Canada's First Nations communities.

A groundbreaking series on Canadian television, Blackstone is premiering in late January [2011] on APTN and Showcase. Set on a fictional First Nations reserve, it is a raw and authentic drama that follows the newly-elected Chief as she struggles to lead a broken community against the betrayal and corruption of the old regime.

To achieve our goal, every new 'Like' on the Blackstone Facebook fan page, starting November 29th, will see $0.50 contributed to the Canadian Aboriginal Writing & Arts Challenge. For more information and to help support this great cause, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/BLACKSTONE/187563190880.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Caddo Language App Now Available on Android Market

alterNative Media (aNm) is pleased to announce that we have deployed the Caddo Language app for Android devices, available for download from the Android Market. The Caddo Language app (v1.0.0) is a feature-rich mobile application that allows users to search for the Caddo translation of a word or phrase by entering an English word.

alterNative Media is committed to bringing the power of innovative technology to the Native community, so integrating this Cultural information with an Adroid app was a logical and exciting choice for us," says Michael Sheyahshe - CIO Developer for aNm - an enrolled member of the Caddo Nation. "By adding the Caddo Language app to the Android Market, we've made it extremely easy for the global community to help retain an immensely important Indigenous cultural resource. We developed an application that celebrates the Caddo language...available right on your Android mobile device."

Caddo is a language, made of several dialects, from the Caddoan linguistic stock of the Southern Plains and primarily spoken by members the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma. The Caddo Language app allows individuals to interactively search for Caddo words from an internal database (no Internet connection needed after installation) and the app suggests possible entries to choose from, as you type.


Android Market is an online software store developed by Google for Android devices. An application program ("app") called "Market" is preinstalled on most Android devices and allows users to browse and download apps published by
third-party developers, hosted on Android Market. The website, rather than the
Market app itself, provides details of some of the available apps, in particular
those that are termed "Featured", "Top Paid" and "Top Free". For a comprehensive, up-to-date list of the tens of thousands of titles available,check out Android Market on your handset.


To learn more about Android Market or the Caddo Language app, visit www.android.com or http://www.alternativemedia.biz/. You can also scan QR code below to take you directly to the Caddo Language app's location in the Android Market.


qrcode