We are so happy to be joined by the writer and artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell. The very talented Mr Cadwell has worked on numerous comics. Some of the comics he has worked on include: Nelson, Lovecraft Anthology 2, Sold State Tank Girl, Samuari Jack, Dangeritis, Helena Crash and Mr. Higgins Comes Home.
Hi Warwick, happy new year to you. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. As some of our readers may not be familiar with your work, could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello, and Happy New Year! Falconspeare is my third book with Dark Horse comics and Mike Mignola, but before then came Samurai Jack, Helena Crash, The Marionette Unit, Dangeritis, and Tank Girl. But aside from comics I have worked for publishers and in the animation industry. I’m just a very enthusiastic drawer/drawist.
Can you tell us about the origins of Falconspeare?
Falconspeare is the third book in a sort of series (at this stage they can still be read in any order) following the adventures of a group of vampire hunters of old. In this book we discover they shared their formative years with a fourth member, James Falconspeare, and here we discover what has happened to him since the group last met many years before.
How would you describe the Falconspeare graphic novel?
It’s a vampire adventure of sorts. These books revel in the classic horror worlds of Universal Studios and Hammer Horror, but have their own flavor too. They’re also inspired by Mike Mignola, who wrote the first book, Mr. Higgins Comes Home. I have tried to maintain a level of humor in there, too. But this is the darkest book of the three, I think.
For our readers who are not familiar with Professor J.T. Meinhardt, Mr. Knox and Ms. Mary Van Sloan. What can you tell us about these characters?
These are classic vampire adventurers, like Van Helsing or Professor Abronsius. Professor Meinhardt is an academic expert in the supernatural, and Mr. Knox is a compassionate and careful force for good. Ms. Mary Van Sloan is a spirited fighting force. They’re all enthusiastic and brave, but also pretty lucky in a world where the forces of evil command a strong upper hand. And in this book we find that James Falconspeare is the honorable, law-abiding champion of the group.
When you were creating the graphic novel, did you write a full script?
I did, eventually. I’m an artist mainly, and very interested in narrative. My process for the last two books was to firstly work out the story in sketches and thumbnails to determine what I wanted to do. Then I turned that into a script, which I then redrew as roughs. The two sets of roughs either side of the script aren’t easy to compare., however, as the first is spread over many sketchbooks in many sizes and qualities over the course of a few years.
You are the writer and artist on Falconspeare; what do you enjoy being more a writer or an artist?
An artist I think, but that’s mainly because I’m more comfortable with that aspect. I love getting to grips with writing, and I really enjoy working with word and images to create stories. I like working with writers very much, but I’m really enjoying being in charge of both the script and art to model the stories.
Do you have a favourite character from Falconspeare?
Ah! That’s tricky, because I like them all. The main three we’ve already met in the other books get a chance to develop or reaffirm their characters, which is nice. But getting to introduce new characters is great, and there’s plenty in this. There’s a brief appearance from Meinhardt, Knox, and Sloan’s very grumpy butler (Mr. Tuphold). He’s only in acouple of panels, but he makes me laugh, and I think he could be a great character in future. Such an angry old character.
Could we see more of Professor J.T. Meinhardt, Mr. Knox and Ms. Mary Van Sloan in the future?
I certainly hope so, though I’ve got away with a lot so far. Drawing these books is amazing fun, and every page throws up more ideas for more stories to tell. So, I hope we get to follow their crazy adventures further.
What are you currently reading?
My reading goes all over the place, often a long way behind. And in that spirit, “Acheron” by Mike Mignola at Dark Horse was ace! Steeple by John Allison, too. I love that series. Kyle Starks and Chris Schweitzer’s 6 Sidekicks Of Trigger Keaton (Image) was also awesome! Other than that, I’m mainly rereading The Tomb Of Dracula or Dracula Lives.
Any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
Try out Falconspeare? Follow me for art if they’re keen on Instagram @wocco or on Twitter @warwickjc. But mainly I’d encourage ComicBuzz readers to get drawing/ reading or making. Anything. It’s awesome fun.
A big thank you to Warwick Johnson-Cadwell for taking the time to chat with us. We would like to wish him and his team the best of luck with Falconspeare.