After a full year of recuperation to mend the stroke centers of my brain, I was decidedly nervous to take this step.
But, I have recently returned to semi-public life again, and what better way to hail a quivering hero than to attend the first-ever Indigenous Pop Expo at the First Americans Museum.
Though presented as a comic book convention, the remarkable show was more than that, bringing in a Native army of Indigenous artists, actors, and other boundless ephemera to town, and filling the FAM lobby with excited patrons, costumed and otherwise.
It was about noon when I arrived on Saturday. The showroom was packed with tables and dealers, but unlike previous cons I attended, there was a collective aura in the air of people there to actually support the art.
Featuring Indigenous fan-art based on Star Wars, Marvel, and other pop secrets, it brought to life new stories, new characters, and new mythos that any creator can make into their own world. They appropriately reverse-appropriated new mythologyies, creating a better universe, one based on X-Men, Wonder Woman, Ghostbusters, etc.
Cruising the tables on the floor, my paycheck really came out for the show. There were Indigenous ‘zines with personal stories to tell and the final reclamation of satirical games like Cards for Decolonization—“the Unsettling Card Game” I was warned.
But I have to admit, the best part of being Indigenous is the warm greeting I was given on the floor by actors and creators I follow. I had first-name rapport with Reservation Dogs creator Sterling Harjo and Ronnie BoDean filmmaker Steven Judd. They both asked about my strokes, so thank you for that.
I also ran into rappers Lil’ Mike and Funny Bone, who you can also see on Reservation Dogs. I last ran into them at the Walmart Grocery on N.W. 23rd and Penn. Things like that make this Native community more diverse and enveloping.
After I picked up a piece of art by comic stalwart Arigon Starr featuring a battle-ready scene with the World War One real-life Code Talkers, I made my way around the corner, where I said hello to artist Johnnie Diacon. I have already bought a few prints from him, but it was always a pleasure to see him.
With another round of the convention floor, I sat near some Star Wars cosplayers. I surmised that this Indigenous fandom had been there for a while, and the Indigenous Pop Expo finally made it possible for Native people to explore that culture as one, from the childish Teen Titans to the mature Justice Leaguer.
They are the modern-day scribes of our own self-creation tales, with four-color processing to boot. A’ho!