There’s a legend in the Arctic of a mysterious tropical island in the middle of the frozen seas. The island is called Far Arden and is the obsession of the many characters of Kevin Cannon’s sprawling and madcap new graphic novel.
Far Arden is a wonderfully inventive, clever, and often moving book Weighing in at nearly 400 pages under hard covers, creator Kevin Cannon delivers a quirky and fun book about the impossible things that people will do in order to fulfill their personal quests.
In this book readers meet an indelible set of unique and complicated characters. We meet Army Shanks, a hardboiled and scruffy man of action and intelligence who has been obsessed all his life with the idea of Far Arden. We meet young Alistair Cavendish, a child obsessed with finding his father but who has an intense sense of personal pride in his quest – and who wears a wolf’s head all the time. There’s young college couple David and Amber, who have a surprisingly complicated relationship, and Fortuna, Army’s ex-lover, and a slew of other rogues, villains and oddballs.
It all adds up to a charmingly original story, delivered with clever originality and a kind of awesome retro-charm. Cannon has a wonderful way of depicting his characters. These are rough-and-tumble people wandering across a unique landscape, and Cannon’s thick-line style has a way of bringing his characters to life. It’s a minimalistic style that almost looks thrown-off, but actually is deeply considered.
Cannon’s casual art style perfectly suits the story he delivers in this book, because it perfectly conveys the very casual ways that his characters fall in and out of situations that deeply affect their lives. One small, arbitrary choice can dramatically affect the fate of a person’s entire life, and this book is full of such moments. Cannon wonderfully conveys the lives of his characters as an ongoing set of unexpected impacts of unanticipated events. These are characters with complicated internal lives, and Cannon obviously has a lot of fun depicting them.
The quirkiness and fun ends in a fitting and intense conclusion, perhaps the only conclusion this book could have.
Kevin Cannon’s Far Arden is a wonderfully quirky and unique solo debut graphic novel by an intriguing cartoonst.