Mi'kmaw artist chosen for Marvel series
Last updated 12/8/2020 at 11am
TORONTO, Ont.-When a message popped into his email box with the subject line, "Draw for a Marvel Comic?" David Cutler almost deleted it, thinking it was a scam. Yes, he was an artist. And yes, he'd tried to get in Marvel's sites . . . but his attempts had never succeeded in landing him a job there, and it had been a few years since he'd tried.
But just in case, he opened the email instead of clicking delete. And there was the dream invitation in black and white. The invitation to work on a new Marvel book. Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 features stories about Indigenous and Native American superheroes.
"I couldn't believe it. I called my Mom, it was 1:30 in the morning Newfoundland time, and she was over the moon," Cutler told reporter Andrew Hawthorn from CBC News.
Cutler explains that it's not that Marvel has never offered Indigenous heroes before. He says Marvel has done well with using diverse heroes since the 1980s. However, until this project, the writing and artwork was primarily in the hands of non-Indigenous creators. Now Marvel is going deeper into authenticity by inviting First Nations and Native American artists to develop the storylines and storyboards.
It's no surprise that David Cutler should finally attract the attention of talent seekers at Marvel. The Mi'kmaw illustrator and member of the Qalipu First Nation has been illustrating comics for a decade. He worked on titles like Adventure Time at Boom Studios and Grimm's Fairy Tales at Zenoscope as well as work for Achaia Press and others.
At Marvel, Cutler will focus on the story of the character Silver Fox, who deals with scars left behind by colonization of the Blackfoot Nation. In his research, Cutler says he found inspiration in the ornate, traditional dress of the Blackfoot Nation
"You want to do right by the Blackfoot Nation, you want to do right by all the First Nations, you want to do right by your own, by the Qalipu Nation ... hopefully I managed, but it was a weighty responsibility," Cutler told CBC News.
He also emphasizes to young artists and illustrators to keep at it, and hang onto their dreams because those dreams can come true. Sometimes all it takes is an email.
Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voice #1 was released in comic shops in mid November, and Cutler hopes it will be helpful and inspiring for Indigenous communities feeling more marginalized than ever.