Kaptara Volume 1
By: Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod
Color Assist: Becka Kinzie
Editing: Tommy K
Production: Drew Gill
A review by Ashley Hay
Kaptara had me at hello. No, it isn’t a sappy love story with Tom Cruise. It’s a story about a space exploration team that get thrown in a wormhole that brings them to a new and strange planet called Kaptara. Keith Kanga, the story’s witty protagonist seems to fight right in. With his new, glorious title of Prince of the Dance Floor and some new strange friends, this comic had me page turning even when I’d had too much to drink and needed to go to bed.
First off, I’d like to give a slow clap to Chip and Kagan for having a diverse character line up. White guys have seen the majority panel time since the dawn of comics so it was refreshing to see a sundry of ethnic groups and genders in the mix. And I’m pretty sure anyone with a sense of humor will love Keith. He plays videogames, combats awkward moments with snark, and has an emotional range that hints at a hard past.
The team lands on Kaptara after escaping their ship that wasn’t ready for the wormhole jelly. They get separated. Keith runs into a weird creature that looks like a demon elk who’s out for blood. He is saved by Manton, an awesome bearded knight in shinning armor. He takes Keith to the fourth kingdom on Kaptara, Endom, where he settles in nicely. No story would be complete without a villain or conflict though. You learn of the evil tyrant Skullthor. He’s on his way to take over Earth. Kind of a dick move there, Skullthor. The Queen of Endom wants to bring his reign of terror to an end and sends her son, Manton, and Motivational Orb on a mission to save Earth. Keith reluctantly meets up with the team after a guilty dream. They leave the Queen guarded by Cyclowl. You read that right. An owl that is a cyclops. It’s stunning.
The misfit crew run into hilarious and imaginative characters throughout the rest of the first volume. The characters have only begun to develop but in the perfect way. You don’t want get bogged down with a whole background story at first. Just enough to keep you interested and reading which this does wonderfully. It’s a perfect balance of not taking itself seriously while having an engaging and trippy story.
Buy it. Duh. I’ve gushed about the story but didn’t even mention the art yet. It feels like The Labyrinth mixed with Alice in Wonderland. The creature and character designs have an air of elegance and/or humor to them. The line work has a rounded whimsy and texture that feel other worldly while the coloring is vibrant and looks to be done by hand with Copic markers.
It’s a comic I didn’t know I needed until I read it.