Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection

A friend of mine went to the book signing event for the Trickster Anthology of Native American 'trickster' stories. He surprised me with a copy of the beautiful paperback volume signed by a good number of people involved in the collection. I will start with my only complaint about this book before I say anything else. The cover, which is great, and is the image I am including with this, is printed with a good portion of it matte black. It is a finish that provides a great contrast to the image and slightly raised text. Sounds good so far, right? My only issue is every time I touch this thing I feel like I must be the oiliest guy on the planet. Despite my best efforts, I add new fingerprints each time I open it. Honestly, that's it as far as complaints go.

The project itself is a great idea. It pairs Native American story-tellers with artists and presents 21 tales which range from pure myth to How the elephant got it's trunk style tales, to more classic trickster stories. I like the loose interpretation on the theme as it allows for pretty decent variety. I have only read the stories once, but really there are only two that stood out to me as being particularly similar in theme. The art, and the styles of telling the stories are all visually very different as well. Some are cartoonish and some are very much written as children's stories, but not all of them are that way.
The book is $22.95, and is worth having if you are a fan of comics or mythology and folk tales, or both. I didn't love every entry, but there are surprisingly few instances for an anthology of this size where I didn't like both the art and the story, and a healthy majority where I was taken by both. I also enjoyed reading the blurbs about all of the participants. It is a nice feature, and there is something about each of the artists and storytellers.

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