Årkade, a new graphic novel from Cuckoo’s Nest Press is a throw-back, and therefore a love letter, to many things: Retro 8-Bit and 16-Bit Cartridge Gaming, old Hollywood Viking Movies where the cast of American actors knowingly misused Middle English and the old Family Adventure Movies of the early ’90s that we’ve since lost.
Writer Mark Allard-Will explains that Metafiction is one of his driving passions as a Writer so the story of Årkade is themed around belief and the power of every man, similar to the Metafiction elements in movies like The Never Ending Story and The Last Action Hero. Mark is also looking to depart from the Canadiana comedy storytelling of his previous project, Saskatch-A-Man.
Årkade is set in Canada but doesn’t focus on that local. I am told that there will be plenty of Easter Eggs that point toward a shared, albeit metafictional, universe. An example of which is the beatnik Car of Årkade’s protagonist has a Saskatch-A-Man bobble-head figurine on the dashboard. The story of Årkade follows AxeMan, the star of an early 90’s side-scrolling Viking-themed Video Game. While the AxeMan: The Raiders’ Chronicles games hasn’t been played by anyone for years, AxeMan feels a spiritual loss of identity and spends his days endlessly roaming the landscape. One day it dawns on AxeMan that perhaps he should track down one of his age-old adversaries for a nostalgic battle. But before the melee can commence a storm of blinding white pixels begins to tear through his world propelling AxeMan into a race against time to figure out what is behind this threat to his World.
As mentioned above, writer Mark Allard-Will is a British-born, Canadian Writer responsible for the now sold-out Canadiana comedy comic book, Saskatch-A-Man. Originating from Haverhill, Suffolk, England, Mark hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada where he works on his Comic Book Writing.
Elaine M. Will handles all the art chores on this new project. Elaine’s previous work includes a graphic novel titled Look Straight Ahead which won the Xeric Grant Award. Elaine originates from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada and hails from Saskatoon, where she works as a full-time Illustrator and Comic Book Artist.
While I usually chat about projects on Kickstarter, Mark has chosen GoFundMe for this particular project. This is making me rethink my column’s name as more creators are branching out and trying alternative crowdfunding platforms. Årkade is launching March 1st with details at the Cuckoo’s Nest Press Facebook page. In addition to the 44-page, perfect bound physical comic book there will be a digital download, as well as a whole raft of exclusives and one-offs you’re guaranteed to not find anywhere else. And if crowdfunding isn’t your thing Årkade will have a traditional launch at the 2017 Toronto Comic Arts Festival held May 13th & 14th in lovely Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m hoping to bump into Mark and Elaine at TCAF and grab a signed copy of the graphic novel for myself.
And the GoFundMe campaign is now LIVE !! http://www.gofundme.com/arkadecomic/