First Second Is Publishing The Hilarious And Stunning Webcomic Epic Cucumber Quest

If you enjoy stories about children going off on epic adventures (and enjoy poking fun at them even more), you should do yourself a favour and check out Gigi D.G.'s webcomic Cucumber Quest. And soon, you'll be able to read the story in print. First Second announced this week that it will be releasing the first volume of Cucumber Quest in spring 2017, bringing the comic to a wider audience.

By Gigi D.G., courtesy of First Second.

Young Cucumber is a nerdy bunny on his way to magic school, something he has been looking forward to all his life. But just when he's about to leave, he gets a letter from his pushy jerk of a father, telling Cucumber that he needs to ditch school and fulfil his destiny as a legendary hero by stopping the fearsome Nightmare Knight. Cucumber is stricken, not to mention confused. After all, wouldn't his little sister, the knight-in-training Almond, make a much better legendary hero?

Cucumber and Almond travel through the Doughnut Kingdom and out into the wider world of Dreamside, where they meet a negligent oracle, a cowardly knight and a host of oddball princesses, bakers, bandits, inventors and monsters, not to mention the Nightmare Knight's minions.

I've been enjoying Cucumber Quest immensely. D.G. always surprises me with the way she calls out and twists common fantasy tropes, and I often find myself snorting out loud while reading her jokes. And she's populated the world of Dreamside with characters who can be heart-warming and infuriating, but who are always fun to watch. Plus there's the art, which features some of the finest colour work I've seen in webcomics.

By Gigi D.G., courtesy of First Second.

So I was delighted to get a chance to talk to Gigi D.G. about Cucumber Quest and this new chapter in its publication life.

Where did Cucumber Quest come from?

Gigi D.G.: I came up with the earliest idea for what would eventually become Cucumber Quest when I was a kid, inspired by video games I spent a lot of time with. Though it's evolved since then, it remains at its heart a fun adventure I would have loved when I was 12. (Of course, I love it just as much now.)

One of the things that I really love about Cucumber Quest is that it's about a brother-sister team. What made you decide to make our main heroes siblings?

Gigi D.G.: On the one hand, Almond's character plays on the expectation that the designated hero's little sister isn't cut out for adventure. On the other hand, I just like portrayals of siblings who care for each other despite their differences. Cucumber and Almond represent opposite approaches to saving the world, but the adventure couldn't proceed without them working together as equals.

By Gigi D.G., courtesy of First Second.

Cucumber Quest is a very metatextual comic. You often drive the plot forward by calling out silly tropes and plot holes that are common in fantasy epics. How did you end up using this as a storytelling mechanism?

Gigi D.G.: Setting this comic against a typical "hero's journey" backdrop provides a lot of opportunities for subverting reader expectations, which is just something I enjoy doing in my writing. This aspect of Cucumber Quest is frequently played for laughs, but bits like the Dream Oracle's over-the-top negligence also serve as hints that much more is going on under the surface.

Cucumber Quest has such a distinctive colour palette, and it does a lot to set the tone for different portions of the comic. Where did you look for colour inspiration?

Gigi D.G.: My colour process is intuitive, so I'll typically "feel out" colours based on the mood of each scene. While most Dreamside locales tend toward the bright and cheerful, each major antagonist brings their own visual flair to the comic, with influences ranging from bold graphic design to film noir.

By Gigi D.G., courtesy of First Second.

It quickly becomes clear that there's more to the Nightmare Knight than meets the eye. Did you build the story around this mysterious villain, or did his character evolve as you were developing the story?

Gigi D.G.: By the time I began seriously planning the comic, I knew I wanted the Nightmare Knight to be more than just a "bad guy" to be defeated. I would say his personal feelings and experiences are as central to the story as those of the main protagonists.

What excites you about seeing Cucumber Quest in print?

Gigi D.G.: It would make me happy if children brought it to school and read it with their friends.

Seriously, how much time do you spend thinking up food puns?

Gigi D.G.: My loved ones are worried about me. Actually, that might have nothing to do with food puns.

Cucumber Quest: Vol. 1 hits stores in spring 2017.

By Gigi D.G., courtesy of First Second.


    I backed the first two volumes on Kickstarter and have been eagerly awaiting a third. Hopefully with it being picked up by a publisher this means that the third volume won't be too far away.

    Love it. The humour is awesome, the art is gorgeous and the plot is a rollercoster of self-aware fantasy tropes with a satisfying execution interspersed with reversals, deconstructions and dark twists.

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