Here at POMEmag, we enjoy reaching into the ethereal void and pulling out macabre articles…
This comics anthology shines a light on North American legends while uplifting marginalized voices.
September 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm
If your soul is tired from the vast and escalating injustices of the past few weeks, months, and years, small press comics publisher Dandelion Wine Collective has your back. DWC is dedicated to “uplifting marginalized voices and supporting the careers of diverse creators” and their newest title, The Sun and the Wayward Wind, is a thoughtful, beautiful comics anthology full of North American legends and lore that exemplifies this mission statement.
You have just one more week to help fund The Sun and the Wayward Wind on Kickstarter; with that in mind, check out this extra special sneak preview and our interview with the Dandelion Wine Collective editorial team.
Full disclosure: Dandelion Wine Collective’s Paloma Hernando has published work with POMEmag within the past year. We learned about this book because of this collaboration, but it did not influence our praise; The Sun and the Wayward Wind is legit fantastic and we think you should throw your hard-earned money at it ASAP.
The Sun and the Wayward Wind: Preview Pages
The Many Americas of The Sun and the Wayward Wind
The comics within The Sun and the Wayward Wind range from the mythic to the personal, but are often a combination of both. Some stories focus on larger-than-life figures and their place within our world, while others use these legendary figures to tell intimate stories about everything from family to navigating one’s cultural identity to the evils hidden beneath the surface of your daily public transit routine.
I was able to peruse a handful of the final pieces from this anthology and was bowled over by the beautiful art and poignant storytelling in this collection. Visually, The Sun and the Wayward Wind is a complete delight. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the striking, vibrant color work of AGLENNCO’s comic about the Jersey Devil, or the muted, lush detail work in Ashanti Fortson’s Heritage.
(Also from Heritage — this simple yet thematically resonant panel here:)
Comics like Madeline McGrane’s Dreadful Hours in Peshtigo, Wisconsin and Celia Lowenthal’s The Highway Homilies present fantastical cautionary tales; McGrane reframes the deadliest wildfire in recorded history in mythic terms, while Lowenthal subtly hints at the cryptids and monsters lurking on the edges of any night-time roadtrip. But these stories sit side-by-side with comics like Heritage and Jasmine Walls’s Joannah Henry, which focus on individual and community identity respectively, and feel personal, triumphant, and resilient. Each story explores an aspect of American identity, so the varied experiences and backgrounds of each creative team strengthens the anthology as a whole.
Interview with the Dandelion Wine Collective Editorial Team
Dandelion Wine Collective founders Paloma Hernando and Sunmi were kind enough to answer a few of our questions about their newest offering.
Carolynn Calabrese (POMEmag): I love Dandelion Wine’s mission as a collective to uplift marginalized voices, and I think that given the work DWC does, presenting this book of North American legends and lore feels really significant to me — especially these days. Did the climate of current events right now play a role in the selection of the The Sun and the Wayward Wind’s theme? How, and why, did you choose this theme for the project?
Dandelion Wine Collective (DWC): We chose this theme over a year ago and at first it was out of an interest in cryptids and folklore, along with thinking about what makes a myth or legend significant in culture. As the political climate has shifted, dramatically and yet predictably in regards to systemic racism and the colonial history of North America, we have thought deeply about the role we play as publishers and artists. In moving forward with this project, along with our future books, we want to continue to consider how publishing, artmaking, and storytelling are all ways to give power to marginalized voices, and to directly support the livelihoods of marginalized people.
POMEmag: While The Sun and the Wayward Wind isn’t DWC’s first book, it seems to be the biggest project you have put out thus far. How has using Kickstarter impacted your publishing process? Does it makes things easier? More challenging?
DWC: We’ve seen Kickstarter grow as a platform for publishing over quite a few years. As two young creators ourselves, it’s been amazing to see how much it has changed since we were new students first imagining the possibilities for a career in comics. We feel grateful to be part of a community that is open to sharing strategies and knowledge in using this relatively new method to break into publishing. It’s a uniquely challenging method, but rewarding to see how it can be use as a way to level the visibility of new and marginalized creators.
POMEmag: How did you determine which artists you wanted to work with on this book? Did you put out a call for submissions, or recruit creators individually?
DWC: We did put out a call for pitches! In thinking about who we wanted to work with, we were considering many factors. The main things we were looking for were how strong the pitch was, how the story interacts with the theme and with the other stories in the book, and if we felt that we could establish, or already had established a good working relationship with the artist. We also brought illustrators onboard in the same vein of considering how their work would fit in, and also stand out in relation to the theme and different visual aesthetics in the book.
We did reach out to other artists, primarily indigenous and Native American since we did not receive any pitches by indigenous creators, however we did not manage to bring any onboard. It certainly is not enough to say that “we tried,” so we want to recognize previously crowdfunded comic anthologies that highlight indigenous stories and people such as Moonshot, cool artists like Monarobot, and established editors/Native advocates like Debbie Reese. While it is not our place to vanguard the movement to bring indigenous voices to the forefront of comics, we do believe it to be just as vital in discussions of “diversity” in comics and publishing. There’s stories about and by people of color and immigrants in The Sun and the Wayward Wind, but none by indigenous people, and we want to make sure that we are not unintentionally placing an importance of certain voices over others.
POMEmag: I know that DWC grew out of the work that you [Paloma and Sunmi] were doing at MICA [the Maryland Institute College of Art]. How did your time at MICA impact the way you make comics — and has it impacted the decisions you make as a small press publisher?
DWC: MICA has been growing in reputation as a place for comics creators, and truthfully it was that which brought all of us there and made the great community of peers who we continue to work with now. It feels that the most notable strength of comics, despite its convoluted mass of problems, is the ability to bring people together under the sole desire to make, read, and share meaningful stories. [Editor’s note: Amen!!!!!!]
While some things in our lives remain complicated, as it is [when] working through any institution, our time at MICA was incredibly influential to our ability to start as small press publishers so quickly, along with our growth as comics creators.
POMEmag: Does DWC have any other big projects on the horizon, and if so, what do y’all have cooking?
DWC: Yes! We actually quite literally have one cooking, our next anthology is called “From Malulee’s Kitchen” and will feature writing and art from Asian-American creators, centering on the relationship between food, identity, and Asian diaspora. The call for pitches will be coming out soon!
We’re excited about this book and hope we’ve convinced you to check it out! You can head on over to the The Sun and the Wayward Wind Kickstarter to pledge to this project and grab a copy, and you can go to the Dandelion Wine Collective website to check out their other books and projects.
Thanks to Paloma and Sunmi for making so much time to speak with us and share all of this with us!