Kayla Shaggy wants to take you on an adventure.
Her latest comic, “Anathema,” is the story of twin Diné sisters who embark on a journey to find their mother’s murderer.
What’s unique about this comic is where the story is set – the twins’ journey takes place in a medieval fantasy world. It’s a setting that not only appeals to Shaggy as a genre, but also holds bigger importance to her and her work as an Indigenous artist (she is Diné and Annishinabe).
“I really like medieval fantasy. I grew up watching the original ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies with my mom – I had to sit down for three hours, but it was really great, just really sucked me into that world,” she said. “I really like fantasy, but there’s not a lot of Indigenous characters or themes within fantasy, so (there’s) just kind of that love for it and also wanting to see representation.”
Shaggy, a 2017 Fort Lewis College graduate who now lives in Phoenix, in will be back in Durango on Thursday, Oct. 13, at Maria’s Bookshop to talk about “Anathema” and sign copies of the comic.
“Anathema” is a comic Shaggy has been working in since 2016, and readers will find a few themes within its 44 pages of drawings and text.
“Themes of like what makes a human a human and what makes a monster a monster. ... Themes about family and working together,” she said. “Also monsters – I love monsters and the classic hero’s journey but what if it was done not out of something altruistic, just something that’s done out of a personal want. It’s not a very, I guess you could say heroic, journey because it’s like the whole thing is revenge.”
Shaggy said her method of creating “Anathema” was different from her other comics.
“For this one, I did something that I didn’t do with my other comics – sometimes, I’ll storyboard, which is a rough, physical image of the total comic. So planning out the panels and all that, but then I was like, ‘I kind of didn’t want to get focused on that because sometimes you end up sticking with the storyboard and then you’re like, ‘Oh, wait, this idea could work better,’” she said. “So I sat down and did the penciling, which is the sketching. Once that was done, I did the inking and then after that, text and panel boxes and then once the pages were done, I would scan them, edit them on my computer and compile it into a PDF.”
And now that “Anathema” is out in the world, Shaggy said even though she’s working on other projects, she plans to revisit the twins in another comic.
“It’s definitely something I’d want to continue doing because I really like the story,” she said.