Indigenous Characters Go Back in Time to Kill Colombus in New Comic Romp ‘Earthdivers’

“Earthdivers” (Photo courtesy of

By Arlo Marler


The younger generation knows all too well the everyday mundanity of the oncoming climate crisis. With its roots in capitalism and colonialism, this new reality is something that we are forced to deal with on a day to day basis. Even within our own state, the Great Salt Lake is set to dry up within the next five years, exposing a bed of arsenic that would poison the very air we breathe. Not to mention that we already have some of the worst air pollution in the world.

Furthermore, with the negligent Utah legislature not taking significant action to prevent this ticking time bomb, it’s easy to look back and question just how did we get here? Natural disasters, snowstorms and heatwaves seem to be trending upward across the globe and have become a normal part of our lives as the earth’s temperature continues to rise. This raises the question, would you change the timeline of Western imperialism and the inevitable climate crisis if you could? 

“Earthdivers,” a new ongoing comic book series from renowned speculative fiction author Stephen Graham Jones published through IDW, explores these questions. The comic follows four Indigenous characters from the near future who go back in time to kill Christopher Columbus in an attempt to stop the end of the world.

The Columbus Myth

"Courtesy IDW"
(Courtesy IDW)

In an interview with Nerdist, Jones described the origin of the idea for this new comic series in asking the question, “Why don’t we tell the other stories?” — the ones that have been erased?

In the same interview Jones also said, “We always get kind of indoctrinated into the Christopher Columbus myth that makes America happy. America wants to believe in that. And sitting in the back of the class as the only native kid, I always felt like shouldn’t this be another way?” The story of this comic carries that exact question within the ink of its sprawling scenes of a collapsed America and its bloody moments of revenge.

The story of the Earthdivers isn’t as straightforward as an Indigenous futurist romp through time. It also grapples heavily with questions like if killing Columbus would actually stop the end of the world and the inception of America, or if someone else would just come and take his place. There is a lot of uncertainty with the main group of characters as their friends and loved ones venture through a mystical cave with a one way destination.

Real-life weight is placed within the pages of this time-traveling epic of community and the people who will be here long after society collapses. For Indigenous people, the world is already post-apocalypse and has been for generations. It is these stories, albeit seen through a fantastical lens, that fit into and follow the tradition of Indigenous futurisms and delve deep into the colonial history of the country we call the United States.

A Bloody Anti-Colonial Story 

There’s something visceral in reading a colorful comic with plenty of graphic scenes depicting anti-colonial revenge. Writing bloody and gruesome things is not new to Jones, as he has written many horror and science fiction books and short stories which aren’t afraid to hold back on the violence — books such as “My Heart Is A Chainsaw” and “The Only Good Indians,” to name a few.

However, the bloodiness isn’t particularly indulgent and serves a purpose in “Earthdivers.” What is particularly exciting is that this series, along with recent works such as the sci-fi film “Prey ” or Rebecca Roanhorse’s fantasy novel “Black Sun,” bring Indigenous futurisms to the forefront of popular culture. So, if you haven’t checked out anything within the realm of this genre, do yourself a favor and check out “Earthdivers” at your local comic shop, bookstore or wherever else comics are found.


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