I had the pleasure to first meet and hang out with Kristina at the Denver Comic Convention 2014, as we both 'worked' the INC booth together. She's a fan-freaking-tastic artist and has a great sense of humor, too boot.
You can follow Kristina on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kristina.badhand or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BadHandIllust. Be sure to check out her homepage at http://www.badhandillustrations.com/.
Michael Sheyahshe: Background info: what is your tribal affiliation and where are you from?
Kristina BadHand: I am Sicangu Lakota and Cherokee, but I was born and raised in Taos, NM.
MS: Did you have a lot of cultural interaction growing up? (Family gatherings, dances, ceremonies, etc.?)
KB: I was raised attending, dancing and singing at powwows and sundances; My father is a well-known singer, song writer, and spiritual leader.
MS: When did you first get into comics/art?
KB: I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil, my older siblings used to give me pointers on how to draw Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z until one day I could draw the characters better than they could!
MS: Do you have a favorite comic; title or type?
|poster for TMCT|
KB: I am a huge X-Men fan girl, and grew up reading Elf Quest and Japanese Manga. I am also a very big fan of Scary Godmother.
MS: Tell us more about the comic you've been working on; how did it all start / come about?
KB: I am working on a Hawaiian [version] "Beauty and the Beast" called, Kaui. It will be the first installment of a series of Native American Fairy Tales, including an Inuit "Little Mermaid". The stories are a combination of tribal legends and traditional fairy tales.
MS: When can we expect it and where can we buy it? (…and will there be an 'NDN discount'?...AAYY!)
KB: Kaui, part 1 will be available for purchase at the INC booth during Denver Comic Con 2015.
MS: Keeping in mind your other talents, what is your specialty?
KB: I really love drawing people, but I'd have to say my specialty is coloration.
MS: Did you get special training and/or education for the comic book work?
KB: I started drawing comics back in middle school on my own. However during my time at the Art Institute of Colorado I had one graphic novel class with my favorite teacher, Don Long, and from then on my comic skills improved substantially.
MS: Have you worked on any other comics?
KB: I have illustrated for Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers, Texas Indians Project, Dino Apocalypse and a few other small projects.
MS: What are some comics with Native American characters in them that stand out to you?
KB: As previously mentioned, X-Men has always been a favorite of mine. I love that there is a mutant in every race of person and for most part the cultures are represented in a good light. With characters like Dani Moonstar, Silverfox, Warpath, Thunderbird and the fact that Wolverine speaks fluent Lakota.
MS: What is your opinion about Indigenous characters in comics? Do you feel we portrayed properly?
KB: I love to see strong, confident and inspirational indigenous characters, this is what I have always loved about Dani Moonstar, she is a warrior, a strong female lead, and very brilliant. There are a few characters I feel are ridiculous in X-Men also. There is a trend of making indigenous characters often barely clothed, extremely sexualized and flat. Not having much personality behind their spirituality and appearance.
One of the best things about indigenous peoples is our sense of humor, our resilience and ability to laugh and love family even through disagreement and addiction. I feel a lot of "indigenous superheroes" lack this quality and support the stereotype of the stoic tobacco store Indian.
MS: Do you know of any other Natives in the "biz" (comic industry and/or video game industry)?
KB: I know quite a few talented individuals up and coming in the comic, media, movie and music industries. It's truly and inspiration to see native peoples making an impact, using their talents and changing the way the world views us.
MS: Any words of wisdom for others (Native or non) looking to do what you do?
KB: If something means a lot to you, whether it's writing or illustrating, telling a story or teaching a lesson, there will be hardships. There will be blocks in the road, mishaps and someone will always have an opinion about what you should be doing differently. Best thing to do is keep that goal in your heart and in you sight, lock it there and never give up. No matter how frustrating and hard things may get, if you really want it, you can get there. Speak life. Put that positive energy into the universe and keep building your dreams.
MS: Anything I've missed here? Anything you’d like to 'plug' (upcoming shows, etc.)?
KB: Nope! :)