Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday Revue September 19: Zukahnaut

The Aliens! They're Coming!

They're Here For Your Beer!

Some stories begin with a bang. Zukahnaut, the creation of  Ötty Justason & Sonya Somers, begins with a belch.
Life's hard when you're old, fat, crazy and green. But Zukahnaut's working on turning his life around. He's helping the community, hunting monsters and watching out for trans-dimensional portals. On good days he flattens monsters and fights inter-dimensional enemies.
But on bad days....

The Rating

Crude, crazy and crafty, Zukahnaut sure is one of a kind.

The Raves

To begin with, the protagonist is written crass, crazy and creative; in short, perfectly hilarious. The story begins with a fun exploration of insanity, and gets weirder from there. Throughout the story, any weaknesses are covered over by a deliciously cranky humor that pulls no punches at all. Easily offended? Too bad!

The story is reminiscent of vintage Hellboy, back when they didn't care about deep, moving plots and wanted to make their sour and jaded readers grin. There's crazy monsters, there's good old fashioned super-hero story shenanigans, and there's plenty of over the top sour humor to keep things moving. Comic readers will love the occasional self-reflective commentary on making and enjoying commentary too; I know I did.
The irreverence is one of the story's strongest points, keeping it from becoming just another superhero story and keeping we readers interested in something beyond KAPOW! BANG! WHAM! action scenes. (though there's plenty of those!) And under the crass jokes, there's a lot of intelligence hidden in the writing.

The art style and color choices accentuate the vintage pulp impression, well crafted without losing the sense of being printed on sweetly scented cheap paper that leaves ink on your fingers as you read. There's a great sense of expression to character faces, and the character design does a great job of underlining and conveying each personality. I really enjoyed the craft invested in the art and the constant striving to improve the style.

The Razzes

As a reader, my main problem with Zukahnaut was getting into it. Throughout the first chapter, I kept expecting 
to drop down from the rafters. The story had very little direction for the first chapter and a half, and I had to fight to get through page after page of...well, basically, a crass crazy drunk guy. I can go down town to see guys like that. There was also a slight sense of betrayal because, after the first three pages, there was a bait and switch; the intro and first pages made you think that you were going to get into an off the wall exploration of PTSD and war....annnnnd then it went off the rails with portals, drunk jokes and non sequitors, leaving me as a reader saying 'um...what now?' if the creators ever publish, I'd suggest redoing the first half of the first chapter and tightening it up. Don't make readers slog! Irreverence is great, but pointless weirdness, lewdness, disconnected writing and inaccessible characters who don't give you any reason to connect with them isn't. The problems got straightened out fairly fast....but even four confusing or distasteful pages early on is enough to lose you readers.
I also might work on the anatomy and body language of the human characters; while non human characters are wonderfully dynamic, the human characters are stiff-bodied and seem a bit flat.

The Revue

It's rude, it's crude, it's wild, and it's worth a look. Enjoy!

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