The KUTE Crew‘s weekly adventures will run every Tuesday at 9 AM PT on Webtoon, with digital comics available on Gumroad every time a 10-page chapter completes (about once a month) and self-published minicomics available shortly thereafter. The new digital series is by writer and letterer Nick Marino and artist Nils-Petter Nolin. The two previously collaborated on The Evil Life, another Webtoon webcomic, and have been working on KUTE Crew since 2016.
The sensational seafaring marsupials aboard the Tangerine Marine are the sole safeguard between the wild warring waters of the ocean and the rest of the animal kingdom on an Earth where humans never existed.
Webtoon users can subscribe to KUTE Crew now and make sure they’re on board before the ship leaves port on August 4, 2020.
The KUTE Crew team has hooked us up with an exclusive first look at Chief Beef, the big bovine boss of the Kute Crew. Fin out more about the character and her design:
NICK: It all started with the name. When I was dreaming up characters who could be large and in charge of the KUTE Crew, I wasn’t sure what direction we should go. With koalas as our lead characters, I knew I wanted a boss who’d tower over them, but what kind? Panda, giraffe, whale, condor…? And then it hit me: CHIEF BEEF!
I love cartoon cows, there’s something so magical about them. It certainly didn’t hurt that I was just the right age to grow up with The Far Side and Gary Larson’s cows constantly plastered on the funny pages. I also have a strong affection for Barnyard Commandos, this obscure toy line from 1989 featuring militarized pigs and sheep, and I think of Chief Beef as an homage to that bizarre concept.
She works for Terra Firma, which is a government and military force formed out of a loose union of all land-dwelling animals living on KUTE Crew’s Earth. While our comic is really focused on the koalas and their underwater adventures, Chief Beef and Terra Firma are constant concerns behind the scenes, whether we see them or not.
Lastly, the KUTE Crew has a leadership problem… namely, its leaders keep dying. Chief Beef is the one constantly assigning questionable recruits to the leadership position, never having enough faith in the existing members of the Crew to provide their own leadership. I wanted to explore themes of leadership and authority with our story, and it’s through this role that Chief Beef most directly influences what happens in the comic.
NILS: Chief Beef was conceptually a mix between Nick Fury, a cyborg, and a cow. The Nick Fury part was to give a hint of familiarity since the eye patch combined with a uniform almost instantaneously communicates “stoic,” “military,” and “leader.” The cow was, if not obvious already, a must because of the character’s name. And the cyborg part, well… because cyborgs are cool.
In terms of colors, Chief got the same color scheme (orange, gold, blue) as our heroes to communicate that they were on the same side. However, the blue accent color that adorns some of our koalas was instead used as Chief’s primary color to differentiate her in a way that makes it clear that she’s not a part of the team but of a higher rank. Other characters that will appear later on in the story that work on Chief’s Terra Firma command deck also have blue as their primary color, so the scheme runs throughout the story.