She wears a fur trimmed parka, with matching boots. And has traditional Inuit tattoos on her face and wrists. Amka Aliyak is a new Marvel comic superhero, and she’s an Inuk teen who goes by the name Snowguard.
“She’a a really amazing teenage girl, that cares a lot about her community [and] the environment. [She is] an activist, and a bit of a troublemaker,” said Nyla Inuuksuk, who was the consultant on the character.
Nyla Innuksuk was the Inuk consultant for Marvel Comics’ newest character, Snowguard.
Herself Inuk, Innuksuk was brought into the project to help Jim Zub from Marvel create the character.
Having worked as a consultant on several other projects, Innuksuk says this one was unique because she was brought in before the character was even created.
“We started on the very ground level, so before we even discussed look or anything like that, we just talked about what community she could be from, which we decided would be Pangnirtung,” said Innuksuk.
“I talked [to Jim] about the way life works in the arctic, and also we discussed the spiritual belief system in the north, and different myths and legends.”
In fact, Snowguard’s superpower draws from the Inuit spiritual belief, Silla.
Snowguard, also known as Amka Aliyak, will become a frontline member of the Champions team. (Submitted by Jim Zub/Line Art by Sean Izaakse/Colours by Marcio Manyz/Marvel)
“We kind of focused on is this idea of Silla which is an Inuktitut word when translated means breathe, which is essentially the idea that every living thing has a breathe and it’s kind of this life force that exists in everything,” said Innuksuk.
“As she’s discovering her powers … she’s realizing that she can have some control over the Silla.”
Innuksuk says that she’s already seeing the impact that a character like Snowguard can have on the youth.
“I think that for young people growing up in the north, to have something like this, to have a character that’s … a young, strong woman who’s battling the bad guys, and helping protect her community, it does have an impact,” said Innuksuk.
In fact, Innuksuk spoke to a teacher from Pangnirtung shortly after the first issue was released, and his students were so excited to see an Inuk character that they wanted to know more about the character.
“He sent over a bunch of drawings and letters [the students] had written to me because they were so excited to have a character from their community,” said Innuksuk.
“They wanted to know things like if she could drive snowmobile … or if she liked eating seal meat.”
A seemingly autonomous factory has appeared suddenly near her hometown of Pangnirtung. Teenager Amka Aliyak breaks in to find out more. (Submitted by Jim Zub/Line Art by Sean Izaakse/Colours by Marcio Manyz/Marvel)