Hollywood wants to adapt a comic about Christopher Columbus by a best-selling Native American author.


Hollywood wants to adapt a comic about Christopher Columbus by a best-selling Native American author. Even when he was in the fourth grade, Stephen Graham Jones didn’t believe Christopher Columbus’s story about how he was a hero.

“You mean the guy who took all our land, killed all our people, and made us work for him?” Jones, who is a member of the Blackfeet tribe and wrote the New York Times best-selling supernatural thriller “The Only Good Indians,” said. “He’s a hero?”

About 40 years later, Jones turned his anger and confusion about Columbus as a child into a new comic book series called “Earthdivers.” It’s about a bloody quest back to 1492. Sunday, the publisher IDW said that the first issue, which came out last week, has already gone into a second printing due to high demand. The next issue will come out in early November, and a Disney unit is making a TV show.

The year is 2112, Earth’s environment is in shambles, the super-rich has left, and a group of Native Americans finds a cave in the desert that allows them to travel through time. They send a messenger back in time to kill Columbus, whom they see as the cause of all their problems.

Jones, who lives in Boulder, Colorado, and teaches college courses on creative writing, film, and, yes, comic books, said, “I’m not smart enough to make a time machine, but I can make a story.”

Even though it was controversial and came out just days before Indigenous People’s Day in the U.S., which many still celebrate as Columbus Day, Jones said that no one has said anything bad about “Earthdivers,” not even people who want to be like Silvio Dante. In a 2002 episode of “The Sopranos,” Native Americans protesting Columbus Day were shown fighting with members of an Italian crime family.

Jones said in an interview at New York Comic Con on Friday, “I’ve only gotten support and agreement that if we could, we should go back and take Columbus out.”

But in “Earthdivers,” it’s not that easy. Like in Ray Bradbury’s short story “A Sound of Thunder,” in which big game hunters change the future by messing with prehistoric life, and Stephen King’s “11/22/63,” in which the main character tries to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the mission in the comic is easier to plan than to carry out. As the main character, Tad, sails to the New World on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, he has to make bloody decisions that could mean life or death. By the end of the first issue, Tad is worried that he is turning into a monster.

Jones isn’t sure if he would go through the portal to find Columbus. “I’d be afraid I’d bring back the flu and kill everyone in the 1500s,” he said.

Hollywood also wants to be a part of “Earthdivers.” Jones says he got several offers before Disney’s 20th Television bought the rights to turn it into a series. Jones said that he would be one of the show’s top producers.

Jones said it could end up on the streaming service Hulu, which has become a kind of hot spot for stories about Indigenous people in the Americas, like FX’s coming-of-age comedy “Reservation Dogs” and the “Predator” prequel “Prey.” He likes both of them a lot, and it makes him happy to see more Indigenous people in the media.

Jones said, “It’s easy to say that representation is important.” “But to understand it is different.”

He gave a few examples.

“When I was a young child growing up and watching TV, I never saw my own face. So I had to convince people to join my group. Rambo was mine because he was wearing a headband. Conan the Barbarian is from the north, just like the Blackfeet, so I took him. I took John McClane because in the movie “Die Hard,” he is a guerilla fighter. Jones said, “I had to do that.”

“What makes me happy is that kids today don’t have to kidnap people to join their tribe. He also said, “They see their tribe and their face on the screen.” “I think that gives you a wonderful sense of being a part of the world.”