Though I try and recommend lesser-known webcomics here, I only just found out about today’s webcrush when its fully funded Kickstarter tumbled across my Tumblr dash one night. Intrigued, I clicked on the first page—and ended up reading it far past my bedtime.
Kamikaze is set in the barren wasteland that is Earth, about two hundred years in the future. Dust has clogged the skies, meaning that Earth has very few viable fields left in which to plant crops, making food and the seeds that make that food incredibly valuable resources. Crime, as you can imagine, is rampant. At the start of the comic, Orson Stykes and his team of renegades are trying to steal some seeds, but their point man is brutally murdered. They need a new runner. This is where our protagonist, Markesha, becomes very useful to them. Markesha, a young multiracial teenager, struggles to provide for herself and her blind father Toshi by acting as a courier, delivering sometimes-illegal cargo from one side of their city to the other. When she and Orson find out about each other, Orson thinks Markesha would fit right into his team. However, Markesha and the rest of Orson’s team aren’t so sure.
The comic bills itself as “for people who have grown up watching great animated shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, and Avatar: The Last Airbender”, and it has great worldbuilding which is really reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic Korra, so the team is absolutely correct on that front. The eventual plan is to get Kamikaze on the air as an animated show, and while they haven’t gotten there yet, the coloring and the depth of detail in the backgrounds and settings show that it would make a great TV show.
Possibly my favorite thing about this webcomic is how its worldbuilding ties into its diversity issues. Many other webcomics are diverse—a fantastic development—but many of those comics clarify their diversity through Word of God statements or through infodump-y monologues in-comic. Kamikaze uses its worldbuilding to sidestep all these problems. Though the world of Kamikaze is post-apocalyptic, its technology is far more advanced than ours, and it’s how the writers slip in important information in a fairly organic manner. For example, Markesha’s father Toshi is blind, but that doesn’t mean that he’s helpless—thanks to brain augmentations, he can still “watch” the news and keep his job as a writer. Those wondering about the relationship between Markesha and Toshi have their questions answered through tech as well—when Link, one of Orson’s team members, is looking up background information on Markesha and Toshi, his computer spits out their racial heritage, revealing that Toshi is East and South Asian and that Markesha’s mother was African, and even reveals a little mystery that the comic hasn’t yet gotten to—the computer can’t find any results on Markesha’s mother at all. While there are still some racial aspects that I would like to be clearer, this is the sort of info that I appreciate finding out in-story, not just from an out-of-the-way tweet from the creators.
You can check Kamikaze out on its website and follow the team on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter! And if you’re really interested, you can buy the Kickstarter-funded vol. 1 in print form here.
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Kamikaze sounds good. I’ve discovered some great stuff through this blog.
What a wonderful review! Absolutely THRILLED to have kept you up past your bed time, so we’ll take full responsibility. Thanks so much for this incredibly well written piece!