Webcomic review: Zukahnaut
So The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Gambit and Commissioner Gordon walk into a bar. And there you have Zukahnaut in a nautshell. Oh yeah, I went there. A long form comic written by Otty Justason and rendered by the lovely and talented Sonya Somers, Zukahnaut follows the misadventures of a giant green alien, Zukah, who has been stranded on Earth for 60 odd years as he helps his cane-wielding friend Darius Douglas deal with out of time and out of place characters.
Now Zukahnaut is a weird comic. I mean like, people accuse me of being weird, and then there is the overweight person at your job who smells like a fine cheese factory, but then there is Zukahnaut. I mean this comic will give you weird whiplash. This is probably because it is written by a Canadian with a mighty beard. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s the case.
The basic setup is an ingenious one, really, with lots of creative room to breathe. Darius Douglas is sort of a freelance disaster management expert who along with his veterinarian sister Daphne, helps deal with these reality altering warp things that drop beings onto Earth from different times, worlds, and dimensions. By far the most interesting character, he enlists the titular protagonist in his gig that so far has involved dealing with a psychopathic viking and some goat men and Planet of the Apes type guys.
The comic leads off with Our Hero Zukah reenacting some sort of scene from All Quiet on the Western Front with a teddy bear. This segues into a bill collector call for a person that apparently used to live in the house that Zukah is currently residing in. Then there’s a Leprechaun hallucination, a random barbecue with rednecks that inexplicably shoot Zukah and in rolls Gambit, I mean Darius Douglas who offers basically to help Zukah acclimate to society.
Throw in a resurrected viking and a G-man type who apparently really really hates racists and you have yourself a webcomic.
The art has dramatically improved from the earlier pages mainly in depth perception and visual coherency. The colors are vibrant and fit the story well.
Zukahnaut is an ambitious comic. It reads like a total stream of consciousness. It reminds me a lot of a kind of story-telling version of Nietzsche’s Übermensch, in how it seems at times to be struggling against thousands of years of conventional narrative structure. It’s plot is also quite a bit like the 19th century impressionists in how they sought to create images that were copies of a fleeting mental snapshot, and not something more rigid and clear. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective. If you are looking for something that is easy to follow, this isn’t your bag, baby. Now if you are looking for something best enjoyed in concert with a controlled substance, now we’re talking.
Zukahnaut is hardcore rough around the edges, but it updates regularly which is hugely important for this sort of a comic. If you like your Hellboy with a side of X-men, this is a webcomic to keep an eye on.