Self-published by father-son team, Adam and Makana Wallenta, and back on Kickstarter (with the promised ship date of November 21st, so rewards will be in for the holidays), Punk Taco is everything and the taco who’s a Rockstar.
Starring Punk Taco and his bandmates (Bash, Bovo, and Dahlila), book one opens at one of their gigs. Some bands have world tours. Punk Taco plays intergalactic tours and when you’re traveling across galaxies, guitar playing tacos are just the tip of the iceberg.
While there is one other significant character who looks like food — King Boogar, a burger who’s invading planets without a helmet (because he doesn’t need one or because he doesn’t want to crush his French fly mohawk? you decide) — aliens and space ships comes in all shapes and sizes in this story. The scope is so large that there’s nothing the series can’t contain, and while Adam Wallenta and Lea Jean Badelles‘ colors ramp up the energy, the Wallentas let their imaginations fly.
With pencils by Gabriel Mayorga and Adam Wallenta, that don’t over complicate, younger readers are encouraged to draw Punk Taco comics of their own. At the same time, Punk Taco weaves in current events, telling a story of the refugee crisis in a way kids can understand, that doesn’t get bogged down in politics but focuses on human kindness — standing up for people who are bullied as a general rule and spreading love and tolerance, not hate.
Like John Lennon before him (and with a little help from his friends), Punk Taco does this through music, but rocking out can leave a taco hungry so Punk Taco offers to buy the ingredients needed to make his famous nachos. Chased home by an alien that mistakes him for food, Punk Taco stresses the importance of getting the full story and when Punk Taco learns what the alien’s been through, he immediately offers to help (he also quickly changes Poopoo’s name to Philip, and it’s not hard to understand why, but I wish there’d been a follow-up scene where he got to explain why to Poopoo, though it helps that he’s later called out for another nickname that falls flat).
Makana Wallenta draws a mighty fine Punk Taco himself, and I love that some of his art was used for the opening pages. In a final section Punk Taco talks about feeling sad sometimes (feelings aren’t off limits in Punk Taco) and his friends come out to tell him what a difference he’s making with his art. Music might not work as literally as it does in Punk Taco’s adventures but it is powerful, a fact which too often goes unsaid so Punk Taco makes sure it’s explicit.
Tacos have always been delicious, but it turns out they make good music, too. Punk Taco is on Kickstarter through November 20th. In addition to volume 1 there are Punk Taco t-shirts and they’ve already reached their first stretch goal, which means every person who pledges $25 or more will get a Punk Taco button.