In Review: Anticucho & other Peruvian Cyberpunk stories by Gustaffo Vargas

Review by Luke Williams

Anticucho and other Peruvian Cyberpunk stories by Gustaffo Vargas

Successfully crowdfunded earlier this year, Anticucho & other Peruvian Cyberpunk stories is the work of Peruvian born, Edinburgh resident writer /artist Gustaffo Vargas, a member of the Skrawllordz collective, the team behind the excellent anthology title Skrawl. Vargas has picked up a bit of Marvel work, but is mainly known for his beautifully produced mini comics – the three-volume Altiplano (Manu, Puno and Pilcuyo).

An anthology of short stories rather than a single graphic novel, the package contains three tales featuring the same setting and with interconnecting characters, leading with “Tayta Ukuku”,  centring a confrontation that goes badly wrong for young members of a gang, followed by “L1ma”  in which a young gang member come across an object that will change his and his friend’s lives forever; and “Antichuco”, a wordless and an extended chase sequence through future Peru.

Anticucho and other Peruvian Cyberpunk stories by Gustaffo Vargas

Typically, as you’d expect from it cyberpunk setting, this isn’t a glamorous utopia future. This world is grimy, gritty and sordid and the characters live in the dark underbelly of the future city. Vargas tells tales of under privileged youngsters, subjected to a hard life of gangs, drugs and body enhancement. It’s an unusual blend of South American culture and cyberpunk tropes of robotic enhancement, smart drugs and gang culture. “Tayta Ukuku” and “L1ma” are pretty grim, while “Anticucho” dispenses with the grittiness for a light hearted, fast paced silent tour of street food.

Anticucho and other Peruvian Cyberpunk stories by Gustaffo Vargas

Vargas’s art is lurid and vibrant. If there is a criticism, it’s that characters can occasionally be indistinct and difficult to differentiate, which can cause a little confusion. But these are minor gripes. There is a clear manga influence in the art style and pacing of the strips, with dynamic and imaginative layouts the art is atmospheric and conveys the heat and hubbub of the future Peru. The fight choreography is wonderful, with impressive camera angles and characters dance though the streets in pursuit of their quarry. Its setting and approach, off beat and refreshing. 

UK based artists and writers are among the best in the world and the homegrown scene is forever producing products as of high quality as this.

Why haven’t you bought this already?

Luke Williams

Anticucho & other Peruvian Cyberpunk stories by Gustaffo Vargas, published under his imprint, Tacu Tinta Press, is available in hardback, softback and digital editions from

New Sketchbook Kickstarter

Gustaffo Vargas Sketchbook Volume 3

Following up on the release of Anticucho, Gustaffo has just launched a Kickstarter for the Gustaffo Vargas Sketchbook Volume 3, a new collection of sketches, illustrations, characters, designs and ideas.

“Any idea, character, world I create starts with a sketch,” he says. “Sketching is entering my personal kitchen, where I play with the ingredients, finding new and fresh combinations, discovering spicy new flavours. In Sketchbook Volume 3 you will find doodles, sketches, character and creature designs, art commissions, pinups, cover processes and comic pages…basically anything and everything!”

Check out Gustaffo Vargas Sketchbook Volume 3 here on Kickstarter

Gustaffo Vargas | Photo by Stephanie Lieske
Photo by Stephanie Lieske

Gustaffo Vargas is a Peruvian comic book artist and writer based in the UK. He is the creator of Peruvian Cyberpunk comics.

He has worked for Marvel’s Voices X-Men with Al Ewing and Lauren Amaro, for Image Comics Anthology #10 WTFK: A Lyrical with Jeff Boison, has done illustration work for Shelly Bond and Declan Shalvey, and worked with Dan Abnett for the sci-fi comic CRAYTA as lead artist and character designer.

He has also worked with UK independent publishers, and is one of the Skrawllordz who publishes SKRAWL comix magazine.

Follow Gustaffo on Instagram | X | Substack | Linktree

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