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King Warrior is a full-length graphic novel from writers Jay Bulckaert and Erika Nyyssonen, and illustrated by me!
I started working on King Warrior in 2017 when I was approached by Jay Bulckaert, a pillar of the filmmaking community in Yellowknife, about an intriguing project. He wanted to create a wholly original sword-and-sorcery universe that was quintessentially arctic, a concept which he had been working on with his wife Erika Nyyssonen since 2016. The concept eventually evolved into a graphic novel, and in early 2019 I flew up to the Northwest Territories to start researching the project.
“From beyond the North Winds, comes a tale of high adventure, magic and wonder unlike anything before it.”
“Living in different worlds and separated by an ocean, a father and son try to stay connected through the power of imagination as their distanced lives pull them further apart. Awale takes a job as a cab driver in Canda’s remote city of Yellowknife in order to provide for his family back home in Gaalkaycyo, Somalia. As his wife Rena and young son, Afrah, struggle with his absence, Awale creates a world-building epic inspired by the wonders of his new arctic home in order to keep his son close to him.
Afrah dives deep into this magical world of Jaÿrikas, and through his imagination the myths, legends and diversity of the North are brought to life in powerful ways. But when tragedy strikes and all the worlds start to collide, Afrah is left with only one choice: to become the . . . KING WARRIOR.”
From designing the characters and world of Jaÿrikas, to laying out the story, inking the panels, and finally colouring the book, King Warrior was a labour of love that took four years to complete (six years since author Jay Bulckaert first got the idea for the story)
But it was worth it — Every single page was an adventure to bring to life, thanks to Jay and Erika’s action-packed script.
In this scene Afrah tracks down the deadly floating ghouls — the White Bahaals — who kidnapped his parents: