Kukuburi by Ramón Pérez has an artistic style that I would best describe as being surrealist fairy tale. I have honestly spent hours reading Kukuburi and rereading it, just as much for the emerging story as for the art. Every page, I see something new that I didn’t see before, and the colors and subjects just invite being stared at. I don’t mean to gush here, but if I could have a print of each page up on my wall I would, and then I’d get nothing done because I’d just spend all day looking at them. Every frame is saturated with color, and the detail is quite unique in the realm of webcomics. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find anything quite like Kukuburi in print comics either.
There truly are so many things I could point out to convince you to go and read this, but really, should I have to say more than “battle whale?” No, no, I shouldn’t. With such a wonderful webcomic, I couldn’t sit by and not talk to its creator. Fortunately for me, and for the readers of this series, Mr. Pérez was able to take the time to talk to me about the strikingly beautiful Kukuburi. (And you may have noticed we have also talked to a few other of Mr. Pérez’s associates at Transmission X as well — namely, Karl Kerschl and Brian McLachlan. When you’re done reading Kukuburi, check out their stuff as well!)
Kelly Melcher: Would you please start out by introducing yourself and describing your background in creating webcomics?
Ramón Pérez: My webcomics career began back in 2003 when Rob Coughler and myself decided to launch ButterNutSquash (BNS) on the web. I had originally been approached to create a comic for a “Sunday Funnies” style insert that would be distributed throughout Canada in its national independent papers like NOW and EYE. Rob and I came up with BNS based on similar comics I had created back in high school where I lovingly mocked my friends. We had put together a handful of samples when the client contacted us and revealed that the project had been put on indefinite hold due to a loss in funding.
At this time I had also put up a promo image for BNS on my personal webpage and people began asked when and where the comic would be debuting. Inspired by the demand, Rob and I, thinking we were being innovative, decided to post the comic to the web. Well, we were wrong about being innovative as there were thousands of other webcomics out there already, but we did reach an audience and have made a happy home for ourselves on the web ever since.
BNS aside, I love the web for its connectivity, creating an immediate dialogue between creator and fan, whether it’s music, comics, or what not. It was because of this that I decided to band together with friends and create Transmission X and debut my next online comic, Kukuburi, this round being more of an experiment for myself as I decided to move away from the gag-strip format and more into a longer form story.
KM: Who are your inspirations, artistically or otherwise?
RP: I think it would be very difficult for me to narrow down my inspirations to just one, or a handful, of things. Working in the variety of genres and styles that I do I tend to take inspiration from many different places. Whether it be books, films, music, art, cartoonists, or everyday life for that matter. I tend to absorb a lot of what is around me from the physical (i.e., buildings, cars, people) to the aural (i.e., sounds and conversations). In fact many of my stories are based on personal experiences or outlooks simply dressed in the fantastical.
KM: Where does the word Kukuburi originate and what does it mean?
RP: I came up with the name Kukuburi when I was trying to find a word to encompass the story. I wanted it to have a strange feeling but yet seem somewhat familiar. So I just kept rolling letters off my tongue till an appropriate sounding word came out :)
KM: Are there plans to publish hard copies of Kukuburi? If so, can you share any of those details?
RP: Most definitely. This current storyline for Kukuburi has been planned as a three-volume series, with each volume tallying in at around 200 pages. When the current chapter comes to its conclusion, which isn’t too far off, I will re-edit the work, as I see the online version as somewhat of a beta version, a first draft if you will, of the story. So the printed version will be somewhat different from the online version; extra pages will be added to smooth out storytelling, dialogue might be tweaked, and some elements may be rearranged.
If things go as planned, volume one of Kukuburi will be available by Summer or Fall of 2010. Hopefully, if the book does well, it will allow me the time to create volumes two and three at a steadier pace and aim for volume two in 2011 and three in 2012.
KM: What is your favorite aspect (or aspects) of creating Kukuburi?
RP: The thing I love about working on Kukuburi, and this was planned when I embarked on the story, was that anything goes. I wanted to create a surreal playground for myself that would allow me to do anything I wanted. Strange creatures in hamster powered flying rubber dinghies, sleeping giants, flying whales, rayguns, and anything else that suits my fancy. I can do it here and make it work, it is a land powered by imagination after all ;)
KM: What is the future for Kukuburi?
RP: As I mentioned above, the current story line is three volumes projected at about 600 pages all together. This by no means is an end to the Kukuburi story. It might be a new beginning, in fact. Also, as I work on this current storyline other tales related to characters, events, or other aspects filter into my head and I would love to touch upon them at a later date. So if readers like what they see and ask for more I will have plenty to tell!
Aside from the print volumes I mentioned above I would love to create toys, plushies and other wonderful things based on the worlds denizens. Something about a vinyl Zomgz sitting beside my computer would be awesome!
As for what happens next in the story itself… Well, that would be telling and spoiling the fun. But if readers look closely there are plenty of clues planted in the pages that fare that reveal the many things to come.
KM: At Fandomania we like to ask: what are you a fan of?
RP: Too many things :)
I would like to thank Ramón on behalf of myself and my associates at Fandomania for taking the time to answer my questions!