Formerly Homeless Edmonton Artist Signs Deal With Marvel Comics

In 2015, artist Kyle Charles was homeless. He often slept behind the city’s University and sold his drawings to get by.

Fast forward five-year later, the Edmonton born member of Whitefish Lake First Nation, has recently signed the deal of a lifetime. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book seller in the world, hired Charles to be one of the artists involved in Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices #1.

“It was hard work. It was dedication,” Charles said in article with CTV. “It was just staying true to the path I was on.”

For the issue, Charles was tasked with illustrating the story of Dani Moonstar, a Cheyenne heroine from the New Mutants series who can conjure dreams and telepathically connect with other life forms.

Marvel released the issue in late November spotlighting some of its famed Indigenous superheroes. While those characters have often been crafted by non-Indigenous creators, this issue is commanded by a slate of Indigenous writers and illustrators.

“It’s a dream come true, it means the world,” Charles said in an article with the Edmonton Journal. “I never wanted to do anything else.”

Wonder Harbour Comics, a local store, collaborated with Charles on the project. The owner agreed to buy 3,000 copies, so the store will get a special, unique cover, drawn by Charles.

Wonder Harbour plans to share copies of the Marvel special issue with schools and Indigenous community organizations.

Store owner Vincent Joyall told CTV News Edmonton, “We’re going to be using it as a teaching opportunity as well as a way of creating mentorship amongst Indigenous youth across Canada.”

Charles said he hopes his story inspires other youth in similar situations.

“I can tell them I’ve done it. I’ve come from a background of poverty, being in the inner-city. I worked my butt off and I got here,” Charles said in an article with Global. “If I can do it, you can absolutely do it as well. That’s the most important message.”