Monday, November 14, 2011


Quick Overview:
Title: Kukuburi
Author/Artist: Ramón Pérez
Started: August 9, 2007
Ended: -
Pros: Strong, stylish, candy-colored art; action-packed, delightful adventure; possibly the hippest villain ever.
Cons: I'll let you know when I find some.

This excellent comic just resurfaced from a horribly long hiatus, so it's the perfect time to start reading. I can't remember how I initially found my way to Kukuburi, but I was (and still am) baffled by how underexposed it seems to be. Well, I'll do my part to rectify the situation.

The story: Like a modern Alice In Wonderland with more sass and verve, Kukuburi is an effervescently imaginative adventure. Nadia is a streetwise twenty-something working as a motor scooter courier in an unnamed city. On an ordinary day, she delivers an ordinary package to an ordinary house, which triggers her instantaneous transportation to a candy-colored dreamworld. Orange whales soar through a bubblegum-pink sky, towering purple giraffes amble along on spindle-thin mile-high Dalí-legs, and Nadia's pet chameleon (who accompanies her on her delivery runs) can suddenly speak. It quickly becomes clear that this world is not only a land of dreams, but of nightmares, and Nadia has a crucial role to play in the preservation of balance.

The setting: The dreamland to which Nadia is transported doesn't have a name that has been revealed. So far, the conspicuous absence of any other human beings strengthens the impression that this is a single-person dream, leading one to wonder if Nadia is merely taking a romp through her own subconscious. But what a place! Imagine a sprawling surrealist painting rendered in a slick cartoon style, in which dizzyingly vast spaces are inhabited by wondrous creatures and nonsensical landforms pepper the yawning expanse of an endless sky. Now paint the whole thing using colors from a candy shop! Delicious.

The characters: Nadia is a confident individual who exhibits both childlike carelessness and hardened, streetwise bravado. She's definitely a fun character, but not particularly complex. However, hints of a troubled past and an epic destiny suggest greater depth for our spunky heroine. Meanwhile, a cornucopia of charming, colorful, and/or creepy supporting characters offers plenty to keep you interested. And then there's my personal favorite, the villain, "Him," who I like to describe as a combination of Jack Skellington, Elton John, and Jafar. Go see for yourself.

The art: Pérez's artwork has an animation-like fluidity. Reading Kukuburi is as effortless, hypnotizing, and entertaining as watching your favorite Saturday-morning cartoon as a kid (or, you know, adult). The bold, graphic style conveys movement and emotion in a perfectly exaggerated way. The color palette, while kaleidoscopic, is handled with skill rather than abandon, setting a distinct and vivid mood for each scene. A simple, consistent layout-- clean, round-cornered panels floating on a field of white --ties it all together.

The writing: Consistent with everything else, the writing is slick, stylish, and fun. Kukuburi is still fairly young in webcomic terms, but lots of action is packed into a short span of pages. I can't say much about Pérez's handling of longer plot arcs-- time will tell. Where his writing obviously shines is in his snappy, action-movie-style dialogue, which reads particularly well inside his colorful, individualized word balloons.

The bottom line: A delightful, effervescent adventure crafted with style and polish, and just the right balance of fun and danger.

Rating: Five stars

>> Read Kukuburi here! <<

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