Arts & Entertainment

HCN: Jon Proudstar revives Native superhero comic Tribal Force






Tribal Force. Image from Facebook

High Country News interviews Jon Proudstar (Tohono O'odham / Pascua Yaqui) about the new issue of Tribal Force, the first in more than 10 years:
High Country News Why did you create Tribal Force?

Jon Proudstar I think Native children need to know who they are. They forget why we fought so hard in the beginning, and why we continue to fight: to fulfill the promise we made with our God to protect this land and take care of it. When you have that strength of knowing where you come from, the greatness your people once had, it's like you're Superman. You feel the power.

HCN Where did the idea come from?

Proudstar The superhero comic books that I was so into (as a kid) taught me the whole thing about good and evil. I saw the bad things that were going on, that gangs were doing, and … I know it sounds silly, man, but I was like: "Spider-Man wouldn't do that," or "Batman wouldn't do that."

HCN Traditionalism vs. modern life is a big theme, isn't it?

Proudstar That's definitely entrenched in Tribal Force. They're all traditional heroes – meaning that their powers come from Native tradition – but their enemies are all high-tech: guns, lasers, cannons, invisible ships. That's what they're up against.

It's hard to keep values and traditions when you're amalgamating with such an advanced society. You walk two roads: Failure in one world is success in the other, and vice versa. … My dream is to give Native American kids heroes. I didn't have that.

Get the Story:
The first comic book with an all-Native American superhero team returns (High Country News 2/17)