Masset Magic: Animator Josh Samuels makes smooth moves in Black Panther

Josh Samuels grew up in Ga’au and was lead roto-animator on the new Marvel Studios film, Black Panther. (Submitted)

By Jana McLeod

We love our success stories about our tiny little communities! Our first local Haida doctor was just one of those. Peter Eppinga now has his own clinic, and carries the “Love My Life” message the world over. I had one of his T-shirts but it shrunk, after three years. Weird how that happens to articles in my wardrobe periodically. I thought about putting it on the “Haida Gwaii Buy and Sell” but decided to wait. You know, things increase in value the longer you keep them. It’s in mint condition in a glass case upstairs, just collecting worth.

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay Secondary might have one of its own value-added pieces of art. The unfinished mural done by Josh Samuels in the lunch room will be worth a lot more after Feb. 16. We might even want to bring him back here to finish it!

That date is the release of the movie Black Panther, which is expected to make $120 million in its first weekend. That’s a huge deal but imagine what it means to his mom, Veronica Williams. Her baby is currently contracted with Method Studios, as the Lead Roto-Animator for this upcoming Marvel Studios film!

I remember this little guy (I feel one hundred!) working at his nonnie Nora’s store. His brother Doug and many others worked there. All kept my sugar addiction on the down low. He also worked at the airport and Co-op hardware. He grew up in Ga’au and always dreamed of success in this genre.

His gift was well known locally. His Haida name, Gin K’alang Gayaa, means “good artist.” Now it’s thrilling to watch his art sought by such auspicious names as Marvel.

Josh graduated high school here in 2005. He left to attend college at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, studying 2D animation in his first year, then a second year for 3D.

He plugged away, making a living and providing what he could for his family. Finally, his light started to shine in the industry with his first contract in 2014/15 with DHX Studios. He was an animator for Max Steel.

With his foot in the door, he took on a new contract from 2015 to 2017 with Bardel Entertainment Inc., where he animated for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series.

Make sure you check out Black Panther and stay for all the credits! His name will be in there. I for one will be telling everyone there that I knew this individual when…

To the youth, he is a young man, just like you. He came from here, just like you. He is living his dream, so can you! Take a moment, set goals, and carry through.

For some of us the triumphs we celebrate might seem minimal. I assure you for those suffering any mental illness they’re huge. As I read all the #BellLetsTalk posts I decided I would try to do things that aren’t comfortable, to challenge myself. I walked out my door and went to listen at the House of Assembly. I found it very informative and even got sung to!

I also went to the Womens’ Dialogue session and it was amazing.

The next one at the end of February is sure to be dynamite. The Heiltsuk and Haida dialogue session will be looking for billets. The guests will be here from Monday, Feb. 26 until Thursday, March 1. Please contact the Old Massett Village band office at 250-626-3337 if you can help out. God bless and take care.

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