Thursday3Some: Captive of Friendly Cove by Rebecca Goldfield

Graphic novels debuted in 1964. Made of comics content--graphics and text--they were a hit with comics communities, but they didn't hit big until the publication of A Contract with God in 1978. Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns in 1986 made the general public aware of them.

Today,I have as my guests Rebecca Goldfield, author of Captive of Friendly Cove, a newly released graphic novel, and Mike Short, the artist for Captive of Friendly Cove.

About Author and Artist

Rebecca Goldfield is an award-winning writer/producer of both documentary films and graphic novels, with a focus on history and science. Her work has aired on NPR, PBS, the Discovery Channel, and National Geographic TV, among others. She was a contributor to the Harvey-nominated graphic novel District Comics, and is presently working on a television series about institutional corruption. Goldfield splits her time between Washington, DC; rural Pennsylvania; and New York City.

Mike Short lives in Lorton, Virginia, where he watches DVDs with his wife, plays with his kids, chases his runaway dog, or burns the midnight oil drawing comics. He was a contributor to the Eisner-nominated graphic anthology Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection.

About Captive of Friendly Cove

From the creators of the award-winning Trickster and District Comics comes another graphic novel about adventure and tribal life. After his ship is burned and his shipmates killed, British sailor John Jewitt lived for nearly three years as a captive of the Mowachaht people, a Native American tribe on the west coast of Vancouver Island. During his captivity, Jewitt kept journals of his experiences and of tribal life. Follow his adventures as he plies his skills as a blacksmith, saves the life of his only remaining crew member, and comes up with a strategy to free them both.

1. What inspired you to tell John Jewitt’s story in a graphic novel?

In reading both the journal and the narrative, there was tremendous time spent describing John’s world; what a house looked like; and how the people fished, made a canoe, or built a house. I thought we could convey much of that descriptive material through the art, which freed me up to focus on the action, drama, characters, and actual story as I envisioned it.

I was also interested in trying to write a young adult graphic novel, and had been keeping an eye out for a sympathetic young protagonist who faced tremendous odds and had to overcome them in order to survive. John Jewitt was the perfect candidate for just such a story.

2. Why were you so keen on telling this story for young adults?

There seems to have been a surge of stories for young adults of late, which is exciting for me because I think it’s an amazing and rich period for learning and growth. Many great writers have spoken about not writing down for kids of any age. J.R.R. Tolkien said that there is no such thing as writing for children. E.B. White and Maurice Sendak both echoed the need to write up for children and to not shield them from the complicated aspects of life — specifically, the difficult and trying aspects we will all encounter. Neil Gaiman, another magnificent storyteller, once said, “I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of,knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power.” (Toon Books interview)

When I discovered the story of John Jewitt, I saw a compelling adventure story but also a way to tackle the issues of home, identity, and ethnicity. Although John’s story takes place centuries ago, these issues remain relevant to young adults. Children should be encouraged to read difficult stories — not merely to foster future literacy but also to teach them how to overcome the difficulties in their own lives.

3. What are the benefits of telling stories through pictures?

I think graphic novels and nonfiction comics can reach reluctant readers in a way no other can, by captivating the visual imagination. They can be an amazing tool for learning and engagement that cannot be found in any other medium. When we connect ideas and lessons to a visual picture, we reach the brain on two separate levels. In our increasingly visual culture, I think the graphic novel will be a great way to connect to students efficiently and effectively.

Add Captive of Friendly Cove by Rebecca Goldfield to Your Library

This new graphic novel is available at:

Fulcrum Publishing * Indie Bound * Amazon Paperback or Kindle Edition * Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook Edition * Books A Million.

Takeaway Truth

Have you read a graphic novel? If not, why not try this one or get it for a young adult reader you may know.

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