The Eunice Williams Story – page 5


 

I don’t guess the following merits the word “script,” but this is what I was working from for this page:

PAGE 5

At Kahnawake, Eunice is welcomed warmly, embraced by her Indian “mother.”  Her rags are taken off and she is dressed in a new outfit, in the style of the Mohawk girls.

NOTES:   The Iroquois nation at the time practiced the “Mourning War,” in which captives were taken for the purpose of replacing members of the tribe that had died, to ease the grief of their loved ones.  “Captives could be adopted as a family member, literally taking the name and social position of the deceased” *  It’s unknown whether Eunice was captured for this purpose, but possible, and I’m playing it that way.

The action of this page was also inspired by a passage in a book I read for research, “The Indian Captive,” by Lois Lenski, a fictionalized account (written for children in 1942) of a similar historical case.  The sensual appeal of the Indian clothes, faciliatate the  symbolic “changing of the skin” into that of an adopted culture.

I also thought  of the early shojo manga device of the “style picture.”  Shojo manga was aimed at young female readers, and the presentation of clothing and costume was an important element.  Often, an entire vertical section of the page was devoted to showing a character’s costume, in a panel that was often only loosely connected to the narrative flow of the comic, and using a decorative background rather than spatial continuity with the story:

Miyako Maki, “Maki’s Whistle” 1960

I wanted to get something of that feeling of that for this page.

The rough version:

Dan Mazur, Eunice Williams story, p 5 rough

 

The final (so far):

 

Since Eunice obviously can’t understand the language of the Mohawks, I thought of getting the dialogue translated, so that readers couldn’t understand it either.  I emailed the tribal council at Kahnawake to see about a translation, but haven’t heard back.  In the meantime, I think the blank balloons might be a good solution!

The decorative pattern around Eunice in the “style picture” is based on the Iroquois “three sisters” of beans, corn and squash.  My friend EJ Barnes, however, has since pointed out to me that, because I’m an idiot, I drew gourds instead of squashes (EJ didn’t call me an idiot, that’s my term).  So that will have to be re-drawn.

*Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney, Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield

Dan
Lives in: Cambridge, Mass. Does: comics. Used to live in: Topanga Canyon, California But grew up in: Cambridge, mostly Used to do (maybe still?): Screenwriter, journalist, teaches some too

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