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Tower of Iron Will

All who enter the Tower regain 100 sanity points.

Currently reading

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die
Randall Munroe, James Foreman, K. Sekelsky, Camron Miller, John Chernega, David Michael Wharton, K.M. Lawrence, Jeffrey C. Wells, Vera Brosgol, Kit Yona, J. Jack Unrau, Jeff Stautz, Aaron Diaz, Matthew Bennardo, Yahtzee Croshaw, Douglas J. Lane, Brian Quinlan, Kate Beaton

No Ghost Dancing Allowed

Scalped, Vol. 1: Indian Country - Jason Aaron, R.M. Guéra, Brian K. Vaughan

Scalped is a graphic novel about an angry young man who returns to the Native American reservation of his birth and takes a job as an enforcer for the local tribal chief who is also behind all the drugs and prostitution on the rez. The story has graphic violence, rough sex, and loads of profanity, but frankly I can get that on HBO if I want to see that.


The conditions in Native American reservations are one of the great shames of the United States. Unemployment on the reservations is often double that of the rest of the country, with over 50% of the population living in poverty. Drug and alcohol abuse are endemic, and suicide rates are much higher than any other ethnic group. When graphic novels deal with Native American culture they tend to go for folktales and mysticism. I am thinking here of Jamie Delano's Ghostdancing from the same publisher back in 1995, with Coyote Old Man and White Buffalo Woman. It is commendable that Aaron chose to portray the harsh realities of Native American life rather than a hippy trippy fantasy, but the result is bleak.


There is nothing wrong with Aaron's story, if it were an HBO series I am sure it would be praised for its brutality and realism, but I am tired of dark violent graphic novels. I loved Delano's Ghostdancing series, and I love that the comics medium can be used to blend reality and fantasy and present unrealistically optimistic futures. Being dark does not necessarily make something good.