Featuring Over 100 Pages of Comics Inspired by the Folktales of Indigenous Nations
(August 23, 2021) Spike Trotman’s Iron Circus Comics is launching a Kickstarter campaign for The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories, an all-new anthology of comics inspired by original North American folktales. From the thrilling tale of Chokfi the trickster rabbit, to the stirring story of the White Horse Plains, the book features more than 100 pages of entertaining and educational stories by artists and writers from Indigenous people across the continent.
“As It Was Told to Me”, a creation tale that shows that the world needs good and bad to exist, which is written and illustrated by Elijah Forbes, a transgender Odawa illustrator who has facilitated the creation of illustration projects such as the 2020 “Trans Awareness Week.”
“Chokfi,” the story of the trickster rabbit, who is jealous of Otter’s fur coat and tries to steal it, by writer Jordaan Arledge, a trans Chickasaw comic writer and the founder of Arledge Comics, and artist Mekala Nava.
“White Horse Plains”, a cautionary tale about greed that comes from the Métis settlement St. Francois Xavier, as told by Rhael McGregor, a Non-Binary/Two-Spirit Métis comic artist and animator from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“Rougarou” by Mystery Solving Lesbians writer Maija Ambrose Plamondon and Métis-based artist Milo Applejohn, about a werewolf-like creature that haunts the Métis communities.
“Agonjin In the Water” by the non-binary, Ojibawe artist Alice RL, about a girl whose tribe is suffering from a drought and finds a Mishipeshu while searching for water.
“Woman in the Woods” by the Cuban Taíno artist and storyteller Mercedes Acosta about a curious girl who sees a mysterious figure in the woods at night.
“Into Darkness” by Izzy Roberts, a Michigan-based illustrator and a member of the Navajo Nation and Kinyaa’áanii clan, about a creature so dangerous and scary that no one dares utter its name.
The anthology is edited and organized by Alina Pete, Kate Ashwin, and Kel McDonald, and the contributors list is curated by Alina Pete, who is Nehiyaw (Cree) and who provides a beautiful cover. The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories is the fifth volume of the acclaimed Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales series. It’s the first volume of the series to be published by Iron Circus Comics; the series has previously been crowdfunded by Kel McDonald and Kate Ashwin.
“The acclaimed Cautionary Fables and Fairytales series has been chronicling folktales from around the world for nearly a decade, hopping from Europe to Africa, to Asia, and the Oceania region,” said guest editor and cover artist Alina Pete. “Kids and adults alike have enjoyed these beautifully retold stories. Some have been spooky, and others have been silly, but they are all memorable.”
“We’re thrilled that we’re partnering with Iron Circus Comics for the latest Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales anthology,” said Kel McDonald. “It’s really helping the series grow.”
“We’re always excited to have the opportunity to showcase the work of incredible independent artists with Cautionary Fables, and this volume is really something special!” said Kate Ashwin. “Everyone has worked hard to bring together a book that will delight both returning readers to the series and new readers alike, and we can’t wait to share it with all.”
For updates follow, Iron Circus Books on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. To support the campaign, head to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ironspike/cautionary-fables-and-fairy-tales-north-america?ref=27nxjm.
About The Creators:
Mercedes Acosta is a Cuban Taíno artist and storyteller who, as a child, was always warned to stay away from trees at night. She loves eerie and joyful things. Mercedes lives in the tropics of southern Florida with her Papí.
Milo Applejohn is an autistic illustrator of Métis and settler ancestry who resides in the unceded traditional territories of the səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.
Jordaan Arledge is a trans, Chickasaw comic writer and founder of Arledge Comics. Jordaan’s credits span from the award-winning ALEX PRIEST series to all-ages titles like FUTURE GIRL. They graduated from Central Washington University with degrees in English – focusing in British literature – and in philosophy – specializing in religious studies and focusing in pre-Christian literature. When they’re not reading or creating comic books, Jordaan can be found at your local comic book convention talking about indie press and queer representation in comics.
Elijah Forbes (he/him) is a transgender Odawa illustrator who primarily works in the fields of graphic novels and children’s literature. He has facilitated the creation of illustration projects such as the 2020 “Trans Awareness Week” through Twitter, as well as projects benefiting transgender rights groups, such as Sunshine House in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He seeks to create work that uplifts people of transgender and Indigenous backgrounds.
Rhael McGregor is a Non-Binary/Two-Spirit Métis comic artist and animator from Winnipeg, Manitoba. They work primarily in writing LGBTQ2S+ imaginings of fantasy/sci-fi stories in hopes of making the world a little brighter!
Mekala Nava is a reconnecting Chicana designer/illustrator with a passion for storytelling. She likes to incorporate folktales, myths, legends, and history into her work and hopes to move into the realm of graphic novels. Mekala graduated from Cornish College of the arts with a degree in Visual Communications and a focus in animation and motion design. She likes to focus on the “human-ness” of storytelling and how it has inspired and connected people throughout our history.
Maija Ambrose Plamondon is a Métis writer currently living on treaty 6 territory. They spend their time writing music, comics, and being bad at rhythm games. Their current comics projects are two webcomics; one called Mystery Solving Lesbians which surprisingly is about two lesbians solving mysteries, and the other called Coming of Age.
Alice RL is a professional Illustrator and Art Teacher based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The non-binary, Ojibawe artist draws inspiration from their experiences and cultural teachings and melds it with a signature palette of bright, playful hues to create stunning juxtapositions of human brutality and emotion with hope and whimsy. Alice’s range of projects include game and comic book art, digital and traditional illustration, and graphic design. Alice is a Graduate of the University of Manitoba Fine Arts Program and Digital Media Design at Red River College. Alice is deeply involved in the local art community and strives to improve themselves and others. Whether working in digital or traditional art, Alice brings a unique personal style and emotional impact into all their creations.
Izzy Roberts is a Michigan-based illustrator and a member of the Navajo Nation and Kinyaa’áanii clan. They spend much of their time writing and illustrating comics or attending conventions around the Midwest. Most days they can be found working at home with their rescue dog, Pickles, close by their side. Armed with a love of seductive horror and a commitment to creating more Native representation in visual mediums, Izzy is a highly dedicated artist with a passion for storytelling.
About the Editors:
Kate Ashwin has drawn and written over 1000 pages of webcomics since 2002, her most current project being the award-winning Victorian-era adventure story Widdershins (widdershinscomic.com), which is currently on its ninth Kickstarter-funded volume. Kate has also contributed to, co-edited, and provided Kickstarter support to the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales books, written a story for Dark Horse Presents, and contributed artwork to critically-acclaimed kid’s weekly comic The Phoenix.
Kel McDonald has been working in comics for over a decade—most of that time has been spent on their webcomic Sorcery 101. More recently, they have organized the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales anthology series while contributing to other anthologies like Dark Horse Presents, Smut Peddler, and Sleep of Reason. They have also worked on Buffy: The High School Years. They recently finished their creator-owned series, Misfits of Avalon, and the Eisner-nominated Stone King. They’re currently working on her self-published series, The City Between. Their work can be found at kelmcdonald.com.
Alina Pete is a Cree artist and writer from Little Pine First Nation in western Saskatchewan. They are best known for their Aurora award-winning webcomic, Weregeek (weregeek.com), and for their Shuster-nominated anthology, Life Finds a Way. Alina also writes short stories, poems and RPG supplements, and their work has been featured in several comic anthologies, including Moonshot Volumes 2 & 3.
About the Publisher
C. Spike Trotman was born in DC, raised in MD, and lives in IL. An artist and writer, she founded Iron Circus Comics in 2007, which has since grown to become the region’s largest comics publisher. Her notable work includes the webcomic “Templar, Arizona,” the Smut Peddler series of erotic comic anthologies, and Poorcraft, a graphic novel guide to frugal living. A Kickstarter early adopter, she pioneered the widely-adopted bonus model that’s since completely reshaped the pay system of the small press, jump-starting the current renaissance of alt-comics anthologies. Iron Circus is also the first comics publisher of note to fully incorporate crowdfunding into its business model, inventing one of the single most effective uses of new media in comics publishing today.
About previous volumes in the series:
Cautionary Fables & Fairytales Vol. 1: The Girl Who Married a Skull and Other African Stories
Have you heard the one about the skull who borrowed body parts to pass himself off as a human so he could trick the village beauty into marriage? No? Well, what about when the daughters of Frog and Snake had a playdate? Okay, fine. But surely you’ve heard the story of the crocodiles who voted on whether or not to eat a man that had saved one of their lives? NO? Wow, have we got some stories for you! In this vibrant comics treasury, some of storytelling’s finest talents reimagine classic African folktales with a modern twist. Funny, warm, and wildly inventive, these timeless tales are brand new all over again. Featuring the work of Jarrett Williams, Carla Speed Mcneil, Chris Schweizer, Faith Erin Hicks, and many more!
Cautionary Fables & Fairytales Vol. 2: Tamamo the Fox Maiden and Other Asian Stories
Vengeful spirits, flying ogres, helpful teapots, ghost pepper ghosts, and trickster tigers? That’s just the start of this lively collection of Asian folktales, reimagined and retold in comics! This second volume of the Cautionary Fables & Fairy Tales graphic novel series is a thrilling, funny, and totally unexpected take on stories spanning the entirety of the Asian continent, with loads of lesser-known myths and legends from Tibet, India, Indonesia, and beyond. Featuring the work of Gene Luen Yang, Nick Dragotta, Blue Delliquanti, Carla Speed Mcneil, Nina Matsumoto, and many more!
Cautionary Fables & Fairytales Vol. 3: The Nixie of the Mill-Pond and Other European Stories
Giant beanstalks, trickster cats, magic pipers, royal werewolves, marauding trolls, and wooden battle spoons? You may think you know where these are going but take another look; your favorite European folktales are refreshed, rebooted, and totally reimagined in this high-spirited and hilarious comics collection!
Cautionary Fables & Fairytales Vol. 4: The Night Marchers and Other Oceanian Tales
Ghostly warriors, angry gods, and monstrous tyrants? That’s just the start of this collection of folklore from the Pacific, retold in comics! The fourth volume of the “Cautionary Fables and Fairytales” graphic novel series is a thrilling, funny, and totally new take on stories spanning the entirety of the region, with loads of lesser known myths and legends from the Philippines, New Zealand, Hawaii, and beyond. Featuring the work of Tintin Pantoja, Paolo Chikiamco, Rob Cham, and more!
Select praise for the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales series: