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Meet Thylacine, DC Comics’ first Indigenous Australian character

Suicide Squad’s latest recruit is a deadly Ngarluma hunter from the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This lethal female character has stealthy combat skills and night vision.

Thylacine (Corinna by day) is one of ten diverse new additions to the DC Universe. Other characters include the non-binary Aerie, their kleptomaniac love interest Wink, Argentinian T.N. Teen, and Puerto Rican Osita.

Thylacine
Image: DC

DC’s Suicide Squad has been in publication, in various formats, for 33 years. Thylacine is the very first Indigenous Australian character to appear.

Thylacine originates from artist Bruno Redondo and Melbourne-based comic book writer Tom Taylor. They’re working closely with Indigenous advisors such as creator Ryan Griffin and actor/director, Shari Sebbens.

“So often [with diverse characters] they’re the ones that get shunted, but these are superheroes we’re talking about — they have a responsibility to be heroes for everybody,” Taylor shared with ABC.

The character’s codename was originally based on the native dingo. This idea was quickly scrapped in place of a species that’s roamed Australia for far longer, the thylacine. This animal shares traits with the superhero in its stealth, heightened senses, and steely gaze.

“I want to create a whole new set of anti-heroes for today and I want them to be completely diverse, from all over the world and from all walks of life,” Taylor told his editor and publisher.

Indigenous characters have appeared in comic books since the 1980s, around the time of Crocodile Dundee’s release. Marvel’s Talisman could travel to the “dreamtime dimension,” a relic of Indigenous Australian culture taken out wholly of context. More often than not, these characters are created about First Nations peoples, not for them.

Comic book fan and IndigenousX founder Luke Pearson recognizes the consultation process as a huge step forward, but hopes comics will take a step further.

“The ultimate vision is for Aboriginal people to be creating Aboriginal characters,” he told ABC.