Grandmother's Tales - Niki Bañados

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

Happy Small Press Day!

In celebration, we're featuring a very exciting project from Niki Bañados, Maria Fowler and Sophia Luu entitled Grandmother's Tales. We'll be posting these comics over the next few weeks with a short interview from each of the creators - first up, Niki.

Below is a short explanation of how the project came to be. Enjoy!


Grandmothers’ Tales came about when I was trawling through old files, and found some recorded videos of my grandmother telling me stories of World War 2 in the Philippines, which I remember being very captivated with as a child because the entire notion of it was so extreme, and the details so gory. As an adult I see it now in its socio-political and historical context, which is a lot more sobering.

I thought about how I used to talk to my grandparents more as a child, but how time and distance has changed this, and about how much learning I could be missing, and how many stories there are that I don’t know about.

This project aims to get more people talking to their grandmothers. We hope to find more true stories, to start more conversations, and to use comics to share them. If anyone knows that their grandma wants to tell the world a story (you don’t have to be an artist), get in touch!

- Niki Bañados

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Niki, recently discovering and discovered in the world of comics after winning the Laydeez do Comics prize in March with my first chapter/short story Shivers in London.

How long have you been making comics for?

For about two years, but only focusing on it much more over the past few months. Apart from reading a few graphic novels because they looked cool, and following a handful of webcomics, I was never deeply aware of, or involved in the comics and graphic storytelling scene. The exposure and community from Laydeez do Comics changed that, helped me to realise how powerful the medium is.

There was one time about 5 years ago when I boldly thought to make a fully illustrated comic book version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, but my stamina died after chapter 3, and I don’t usually count that.

Can you give us a little background on your story for this project?

My comic came about when I found some recorded videos of my grandmother telling me her stories of World War 2 in the Philippines. Everyone knows about Pearl Harbour, and kamikaze pilots, and you can read the diaries of Japanese infantry online; hopeless and ready to die honourably. But what most people don’t know was that the Philippines was an American colony at the time. Within less than a day of Pearl Harbour, the Japanese invaded the Philippines.

This is a glimpse into what happened to the people whose fight it absolutely was not but were caught in the middle, and paid the price.

What are you working on next?

I’m hoping to continue Grandmothers’ Tales by adding more stories from my own grandmothers, but also collaborating with others (non-artists) to encourage them to speak to their grandmothers as well.