Home‎ > ‎

Cardinal Comic

   Greetings! My name is K.J. Kolka and I’m the writer-artist of the online comic strip, "The Cardinal." Some have noted that the strip appears to have a spiritual side to it.

    Without a doubt, a person’s views and beliefs, whatever they are, will surface in their creativity. Our spirituality is part of us and will show up in our lives.

     I was born and grew up in a conservative Protestant family. Since my earliest memories I’ve always been very creative, as if it was what I was born to be. I also tended to be quite shy and was often a mark for bullies. In Sunday school I had learned about turning the other cheek and believed in it. God always provided me a way out when facing a bully.  Being quiet also meant I was often a confidant for friends and was trusted with their struggles.  Through these personal stories, I came to understand the difficulties life presented and the challenges we human beings each face as we search for our life path.

     Around the ages of nine or 10, I came down with Crohn’s disease, an inflammation of the intestines. By sixth grade, I was in and out of hospitals often, the doctors unable to diagnose the problem. While in the hospital, I spent much time drawing and learned I had a knack for it. Writing stories for my classmates to read became a way to reconnect with them and find my place in the world. Comic books became a major source of entertainment, though I had read them for years.

     After the Crohn’s was discovered and brought under control, I went on to Concordia College (now University) in Ann Arbor. It was there my faith truly came alive. Somehow, understanding God through classes I took and seeing the lifestyles lived out by fellow believers became a way to understand myself and my purpose in life. Faith is about a relationship with God; us communicating with God through prayer and God communicating with us through the Bible. A relationship! Because our purpose is to know God better in order to serve Him better. It became life-altering. I began furtively seeking God. My more evangelical friends would call this my born-again experience; my Protestant friends would say this was yet another step in my sanctification process of drawing closer to the Lord. Whatever you call it, it was a turning point.

     The years following Concordia were a struggle however. In our spiritual journey there are mountains to climb and often the difficulties we face come from ourselves. For me, there were ongoing struggles with low self-esteem, anger, depression and anxiety. Rather than turning to God, I shamefully turned away. I married but later divorced; finished college but couldn’t find a job. Life went downhill.

     Finally, with my life in pieces, I turned back to God once more. Through prayer I resolved to follow Him again. At that time, I was given the call to use my talents for Him. Picking up a comic strip I had done for the Concordia student newspaper, I recreated The Cardinal.

     "The Cardinal" isn’t just a super hero strip, but it is the spiritual journey of the title character. And my journey as well.

     Climbing mountains, even spiritual ones, is not easy. You may scrape yourself, be bitten by a snake, or even fall backwards a ways. What matters is the resolve to keep going whatever lies ahead because God is with you - - the God who created you, died on a cross and rose again for you, and sustains you. This resolve is also what we call "faith." It is through this God I have found my meaning in life and courage to press on.

Click on the link below to view current episodes of the Cardinal.