Ramón K Pérez’s Kukuburi: A Cotton Candy World Brings a Modern Fairy Tale Destined to Fuel the Imagination
Artist, illustrator, and cartoonist Ramón K Pérez has recently launched a project on Kickstarter that looks to give readers a chance to explore the world of Kukuburi, a webcomic he created in 2007 as part of a collective for the first time ever in print.
Kukuburi: A Cotton Candy World will be the first volume in his new print series that looks to breathe new life into the popular webcomic by remastering the first chapter of the award-nominated webcomic. Pérez will also be including over 40 pages of new material for readers to enjoy a revitalized and expanded journey alongside protagonist Nadia.
Pérez is a multiple award-winning artist who has collaborated on many acclaimed series during his career including the 2015 All-New Hawkeye which was Pérez’s Marvel Comics debut, Jane, his modern retelling of the Charlotte Brontë classic novel, Jane Eyre, and most recently he’s illustrating the award-winning series Stillwater at Skybound Entertainment.
The official description of Kukuburi Volume 1 reads:
“Young Nadia’s mundane life is turned upside down when she stumbles into an unpredictable fantasy realm, a world that feeds off the subconscious – turning simple thoughts into dreams or nightmares – encounters strange denizens, all while being hunted down by the realm’s self-appointed king.“
We had the opportunity to ask Pérez a few questions about his venture in Kukuburi. Check out the Q&A below and don’t wait too long to get your copy of Kukuburi: A Cotton Candy World on Kickstarter and be part of the historic campaign that got funded within hours.
GN: Kukuburi originated as a webcomic from a collective that started in 2007, am I right?
Pérez: You are correct. Kukuburi launched online in 2007 and was updated weekly till 2011 — after which my career took off in the mainstream – at which point the updates came in fits and starts. My career shifted from freelance editorial and magazine illustration work to the time-consuming world of mainstream comics. This meant a greater weekly work output to maintain a monthly comics schedule — and less time to indulge in my own creative endeavours.
GN: What made you decide to bring this to print rather than continue as a webcomic?
Pérez: I had always envisioned Kukuburi as a print graphic novel series of three 250-page volumes. Hence why I chose the square format which was not indicative of any online format of the time (remember – this is before Instagram – social media was just becoming a thing.) I had researched taking Kukuburi to print back then – but it was rather cost-prohibitive – and Kickstarter wouldn’t be a thing for several years. I had shopped Kukuburi around to various publishers, and while there was interest – they wanted too many changes to fit Kukuburi in a neat little box for a particular demographic.
Fast forward to now and the landscape has changed. Kickstarter, the cost of printing going down, and having a great community surrounding me have all made publishing the book more achievable. To make things a little more viable I have restructured my original outline of three 250-page chapters into five 150-page chapters – making publishing Kukuburi through RAID Press a more realistic endeavour on my part.
That all said, I will begin to update Kukuburi online for free again once it comes in line with the published books. So this will most likely be sometime in mid-2023.
GN: You and everyone at RAID are involved in a ton of great projects, some of which are crowdfunded, how do you approach taking a project to a platform like Kickstarter rather than pitching it to a publisher?
Pérez: After years of pitching to publishers to no avail – I grew tired of jumping through hoops trying to sell them on an idea. Kukuburi suffered from this early on. With Kickstarter, you are cutting out the middle man and connecting directly with your supportive community. Which is simply AMAZING. Yes, it’s more work – but so satisfying.
Thanks to RAID we have an amazing Kickstarter team, but also a wonderful extended community. We hustle to no end supporting each other making sure our best work is getting out there and being seen.
On top of this, we have a dedicated, experienced, and passionate team of people here making the book (poster, or whatnot) the best it can be. We want these books to be beautiful artifacts that people hold in their hands and escape into.
GN: There’s some pretty rad inspirations in Kukuburi with mentions of Alice in Wonderland, Little Nemo in Slumberland (which I LOVE), and Studio Ghibli. Was the decision to blend these mediums purely an artistic choice, or was there more that fueled the decision?
Pérez: I would say all these inspirations are indirect ones. They are all things I love that have fed my imagination for decades – amongst many other amazing things. When building Kukuburi I dove into that part of my brain that lived in those worlds created by Carroll, McCay, and Miyazaki, and just played. There is a freedom to their stories, especially McCay – of anything goes – and that’s a world that I wanted to create and escape into.
GN: Did I read correctly that your websites got hacked?
Pérez: Malware. Terrible timing.
Managed to get Kukuburi back up, but not my personal site. I think it’s just a sign from high on above to modernize all my sites.
GN: I gotta ask, what can you tell us about The Brothers Three? Meep, El Mep, and Mip?
Pérez: HEH – they’re fun lovely fellows based on a childhood “toy” my mother would teach us to make. I cam from a fairly blue-collar family and toys were often hand-downs from other families, or if it was a new one, it came once or twice a year – on your birthday and Christmas.
So one of the fun things we used to make were these yarn-puff ball things, of varying sizes, that you’d glue a pair of googly eyes on and then maybe attach a set of felt, or pipe cleaner, feet too. And I would have tonnes of these of varying colours and sizes, that my imagination would run away with.
GN: You’ve been a part of some notable creative teams having worked with Chip (Zdarsky), Jeff Lemire, Dan Slott, and Jason Aaron. Who do you think would outlive the others in the world of Kukuburi?
Pérez: All fine fellows – but I think Dan would perhaps make himself the most at home – dare I say even join the Brigade Du Chapeau! Chip, I fear, may succumb to the darker underside — I would fear for him…
Kukuburi: A Cotton Candy World is live on Kickstarter now. Follow any of the links below to find the project and don’t miss out on one of the best all-ages graphic novels of the year.