JAJ: a Haida Manga
June 26, 2023
With gorgeous imagery, visual artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas brings to life the tumultuous history of first contact between Europeans and Indigenous peoples and the early colonization by the Europeans of the northern West Coast.
Yahgulanaas uses a blend of traditional and modern art, eschewing the traditional boxes of comic books for the flowing shapes of North Pacific iconography. The panels are filled with colourful and expressive watercolour paintings. The panels of each page, if removed and assembled into one whole image, form a large image reminiscent of a woven robe.
The story follows several historical figures, including Johan Adrian Jacobsen (JAJ), who comes to the Haida village of Masset to collect specimens for a German museum, through a time span that includes first contact, the devastation of the smallpox epidemic, and the mass resettlement of disenfranchised peoples, both Indigenous and European.
“This book is a necessary tale told by the perfect voice at the right time. It also uses graphic imagery in a way I've not seen before, and it feels ground-breaking.”
- Author Q&A: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Haida Manga Writer - Vancouver Magazine, October 22, 2019
- A tale of history and humanization unfold in colourful 'Haida Manga' - The Canadian Press, June 9, 2023
- With Haida Manga, a Study in Compassion - The Tyee, May 31, 2023
- What drives visual artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas to tell stories through comics? - CBC Radio, May 21, 2023
- A Haida Artist Reimagines the Relationship Between Museums and Indigenous Art - MONTECRISTO Magazine, December 19, 2022