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Kuti Kuti
posted September 4, 2007


Creators: Various
Publishing Information: Self-Published Newspaper Tabloid, 16 pages, 2006-2007, Free
Ordering Numbers:

Remember that scene in the unnecessary American Graffiti sequel where Paul Le Mat convinces himself he's completely in love with a young woman from Europe with whom he can barely communicate? That's sort of how I feel reading Kuti Kuti, the free tabloid from the Finnish cartooning studio of the same name. Reminiscent of the much-loved Paper Rodeo to an almost frightening degree, Kuti Kuti offers up a similar mix of bizarre fantasy, blackout sketch humor, and an iconography that mixes comics, kids' books, '80s junk culture and video games. If there's one major difference it's that the artists behind Kuti Kuti favor color more than the furious mark making and ratty lines that the American publication favored. The colors in Kuti Kuti feel soaked into the page, like the whole publication should be made heavier. They bring with them a general aesthetic of boardwalk vibrancy, like the furry, glow in the dark posters one used to be able to score at the state fair.

Like any incident of love at first sight, the realization that it won't last comes with it, and even adds to the experience. I don't know that I'd like every comic here were I able to read them, or that I'd enjoy each one give to me in serial order. The majority I can stumble through because of a translation or because they're silent seem designed to add to the overall effect more than they exist to provide a satisfactory artistic experience on their own. But I sure like that initial run through the pages, the sense of one new -- to me -- talent after another, the discovery of American artists like Jeffrey Brown and Anders Nilsen placed into an entirely different context, and blends of approaches and presentation I've either never seen or to which I've barely been exposed. All that for free. What's not to like?