Yesterday, Iron Comic Circus presented a Kickstarter for the fifth and North American edition of Cautionary Fables and Fairytales: a collection of culturally relevant and mystical lessons straight from the mouth of indigenous and queer creatives. By the very next day, August 25th, the campaign has raised about $75,000, which is $55,000 more the original, modest goal of twenty thousand.
The North American series, featuring fables like The Woman and the Woods and Chofki, will have over 100 pages of work from Indigenous creators. Just like the previous editions of the series, featuring African folktales, Asian folktales, European folktales, and folklore from the Pacific, this new installment will not only focus on highlighting overlooked cultural tales but will pay the creators accordingly to do so.
Straight from the Kickstarter campaign, Iron Circus Comics promises to pay artists an extra 5.00 dollars a page for every five thousand dollars raised over the twenty thousand dollar goal, “As ever, our funding will be going to paying our artists and printing/shipping the book out to you folks. We do, however, want to pay our contributors as much as we possibly can, so we’ll be using that tried-and-true Iron Circus favorite: For every $5,000 the Kickstarter makes over its goal, all contributors will receive a $ 5.00/page rate increase!” The Kickstarter only continues to grow in thousands over the initial goal.
Spike Trotman, founder of Iron Circus Comics, explains the dire need for more recognition of North American indigenous tales; particularly in the United States – a nation raised to idolize the western culture of imperialism, “Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales as a series are the books I wish I had as a kid for myself, in a world of endless Grimm and Hans Christen Anderson collections,” she says, before continuing, “There are so many more stories to be told than so many people realize. I want kids to grow up with a more complete appreciation of fables because that means a more complete appreciation of culture and values.”
In an effort to encourage appreciation alongside education, each of the artists hail from Indigenous tribes specific to their location. The curator of the tales, Cree artist and writer Alina Pete, ensures folks that: “the contributors to this anthology represent a diverse group of nations from across North America, and traditionally, the stories belong to the nation they’re from, not to any individual storyteller.”
Pete, who also designed the cover art, continues to affirm to the readers that the sacred tales are coming from a place of sincere authenticity and admiration, “Part of our writer’s responsibility was to make sure they’d done the proper protocol for their nations to ask for permission to retell these stories in this anthology. This group of writers has done a great job of making sure they were doing things ‘the right way’, and our artists have delivered absolutely stellar artwork!” While expanding your cultural interests is always important, it is even more important to ensure the exploration being conducted is done with the utmost respect and historical accuracy – much like Iron Comic Books is doing.
Amongst beloved tropes like that of Chofki the trickster rabbit stands creation tales, cautionary fables, and even horror stories. Reading the collection will most certainly be entertaining, but more so informative – as all the best art is.