Kani: Definitely the greatest underwater deep sea diving samurai adventure you’ll read all year.
Kani # 2
by Warwick Johnson Cadwell (WJC)
Warwick Johnson Cadwell is relatively new to comics, first coming to my attention with his work for New British Comics and the first Birdsong/ Songbird anthologies. Subsequently I’ve been following everything he’s doing with immense interest, whether it was a great ABC Warriors strip in the great Nu-Earth fan comic or his online artwork at his blog and his Flickrstream.
Cadwell’s work is just something I could spend so long looking at; a beautifully sketchy, loose collection of lines, bursting with energy and giving off such tremendous fun. He’s not the full deal yet, and sometimes his composition or layouts are just a touch too raw and somewhat visually confusing. But inexperience with telling a story can easily be overcome, but you can’t learn an artistic talent like WJC has. And in some ways it’s great to see these mistakes, because then I can enjoy watching him grow and develop as an artist and most especially as a storyteller.
(The underwater deep sea diving samurai battle is joined. Three onto just one hardly seems fair? From Kani issue 2 by WJC)
As an artist most of Cadwell’s comics are heavy on artwork and light on text, and it feels like he prefers to let the artwork tell it’s own story. Maybe through choice, possibly through feeling less comfortable telling his work through words? But it does mean that the majority of his work thus far has been relatively minimalist stuff, with the majority of the story told through the art, with occasional use of captions and speech bubbles.
Kani continues this trend; a 20 page A5 comic which remains resolutely wordless until the last couple of pages. However, this time around there are very practical reasons for this, since nearly the entirety of the comic takes place underwater.
Kani is a comic all about the adventures of a deep sea diving samurai. Utterly bizarre, and maybe it was explained in issue 1, but to be honest I rather hope not. I like the idea of a deep sea diving Samurai, stalking and fighting on the ocean floor. Just utterly surreal, with no rhyme nor reason. Just because.
This issue sees Kani take on three underwater assailants, silently and definitely deadly:
(Or maybe three against one just means the three are in real trouble and should have brought more? From Kani issue 2 by WJC)
The art in Kani is gorgeous, just as I knew it would be. But there are just a few moments, a few panels where Cadwell loses his flow, fails to clearly show us what he meant to, examples of the visual confusion I referenced earlier. But I find I can simply overlook these few failings, since I just love looking at what he draws. It’s a flawed yet intoxicating rush of a comic.
Kani pretty much sold out it’s limited print run at BICS, but any remaining are available from WJC at conventions and through email at his blog. And hopefully you’re all aware that WJC’s magnificent Gungle comic is being published by Blank Slate in 2011? It looks absolutely stunning, huge artwork, full colour work. WJC has recently posted a potential cover to his blog:
And here’s a previous promo piece:
Yep, I can’t wait for it either.