Cultural awareness, patterns of communication and human relationship are the three major topics exposed in the comic book Como Borregos of the author and illustrator Kiko Pérez.
In the writer’s imaginary world, the human race is represented by two animals, the lamb and the wolf. In this model of communication these two opposite species must interact in order to exchange messages that must be interpreted accordingly with the sociocultural patterns and behaviors of each group. In one hand, the lambs represent those speakers who are particular easy to intimidate; and most of the time, they follow the rules and the cultural standards with the purpose of preserving a good relationship with other members of their own group; and on the other hand, the wolves who portray the speakers which primary characteristic is to intimidate other members in the various subgroups of the general society. They always take advantage of the diverse situations in life with the main purpose of rewarding their own ego.
In the visual storyboard, the author exposes to the readers how insiders and outsiders of one culture must follow unwritten society norms and cultural standards in order to interact in an established cultural framework that determinate certain behavior in the members. Some of the variables that are exposed in this book can be related with the group differences (socioeconomic status, gender and ethnicity); the social identities (student, professor, worker or parent); the demographic categories (nationality or age); and the formal and the informal membership (political party, organization or social groups).
The author uses simple and direct written language to communicate the message of the story. The words are carefully crafted with visual objects and monochromatic colors providing a perfect environment for the storytelling. Each personage of the narrative has a unique cultural identity; and with the help of the illustrator, the non-verbal communication is transmitted with the illusion of movements and projection of sounds that the reader must interprete accordingly to his or her cultural framework and conceptual filters. In this context, the receptor must understand all the symbols and the codes of the messages that complement the narrative. In addition, the author exposes to the reader his own interpretation of the story using a touch of humor to challenge cultural standards within a society.
The comic book contains 126 unique stories that will make the reader laugh and analyze life situations with an open mind: the main purpose is to avoid the assumptions and the perceptions of the outsider’s culture when exchanging information. Furthermore, the language, the communication styles and the cultural identities are considered environmental influences that will condition the way how a person receive and interpret a message in the everyday life situation. The author highlights that new behavior patterns are learned by the insider or individual who needs to be accepted in a particular group. As an outsider, the same individual is challenged to explore new ways of perceiving life and cultural behaviors.