Graphic novel 'Will I See?'

"Will I See?"

By David Allan Robertson

Illustrations by GMB Chomichuk. Script by Iskwé and Erin Leslie

HighWater Press

This slim graphic novel honors victims of violence against Native women. It uses minimal, colloquial language to share a mythos: everything is connected, and the spirits of the departed watch over us.

With only her grandma and her cat as family, a contemporary, urban young woman survives an assault, helped by departed women who appear as animal protectors. The quick tale grows from rereading. Gray and red art combines elegant patterns and raw spilled emotion. Each page is full of clues to the backstory that creates the myth. The title asks both heroine and reader what we can see in the way we frame our world and our tales.

Four Native Canadians collaborated here, showing a value of community that the book honors. The story benefits from a mystical poetry of awareness but includes an unlikely violent comeuppance for a villain.

Graphic novels are a great vehicle for cultural history, but literature of any minority tends to focus on suffering. Yes, one of three Natives experienced violence in the last year, but because everyone is an individual, we write not just to mourn, but to celebrate.

"Will I See?" is a finalist from nine entries in the Indigenous Writer category of the 2017 High Plains Book Awards.

Jon Kohn taught in Crow Agency and Billings.

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Entertainment Reporter

Jaci Webb covers entertainment for The Billings Gazette.