Lions, Tigers & Bears #1

A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: James Redington

CREATED and WRITTEN by MIKE BULLOCK
ARTWORK by JACK LAWRENCE
LETTERED by DAVE LANPHEAR
EDITED by RON MARZ

Publisher: Image Comics

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The first issue of Lions, Tigers & Bears hit stores today, February 2. An eight page teaser of the issue is available at Runemaster Studios website]

How many nights have you lain awake wondering if the monsters you imagine inhabiting your closet or lurking beneath your bed are real? How many hours pass in the night while your sleepless mind creates terrifying images of what lies just beyond your field of vision... out there, in the dark? How many minutes have gone by while you wait in fear, dreading the noise you thought you heard? How many seconds have pounded in your heart, as your imagination runs away to conjure the Beasties?

For those of you who ponder those questions, lay down your fear, for the denizens of the Stuffed Animal Kingdom are on patrol, marshalling their forces and guarding your dreams.

The Plot: From Runemasterstudios.com: "Joey's world is turned upside down when his mother accepts a job in a neighbouring town, forcing him to move away from his friends and his loving Grandmother. But just before the moving van is ready to pull out, Grandma brings him a special gift: four new stuffed animals -- a lion, two tigers and a panther - known as The Night Pride. Joey is convinced his Grandmother's stories of The Night Pride having magic powers are just that: stories. But he's about to find out his new friends are more real -- and more needed -- than he could have imagined, especially when the Beasties come creeping out of a dark closet to get him.

The Review: I was lucky enough to be given a chance to advance review the first issue of this comic Lion, Tigers & Bears. I had already interviewed the creators of the comic and seen some of the advanced pages that have been available to view at their website. The pages I had seen left me wanting more and finally I got it!

At first glance you may think this is not the comic for you. You like your superheroes with big metal claws and wearing blue spandex and wearing red capes (yes, I am describing myself).

Lions, Tigers & Bears is the perfect comic to bring that little child in you back to life. It stirs memories of childhood boredom and the fun you can have with the greatest gift you were given, your imagination.

Mike Bullock crafts a fun and entertaining story, keeping the dialogue and story simply so anyone can follow and enjoy it. Mike writes Joey as a very nice young boy, very likable and innocent. His voice over provides clues as to where the story is heading early on in this first issue. The last page offers a great cliff-hanger ending and a sense of excitement.

What is nice about Mike’s story is that even though you don’t really know if it going to be one big dream, you don’t really care – I found myself caught up in the fun of it, and also my girlfriend liked it which is rare thing for any comic I read.

Jack Lawrence, what can I say about this bloke? I really like his work, it’s so fresh and clean and fun. Jack’s art is perfect for this story, it adds to the innocence that oozes from every word that Mike wrote. The pages are easy to follow and complex enough to make you go “wow”, and most of all: it’s so cute.

Jack draws in a way I can only dream of. Every page looks so effortless even though you can see the work that has gone into it. It is a nice blend of American comics and Manga styled work. I see this type of artwork coming more into its own in the future if the American comics industry is too branch out across the field.

Conclusion: Do yourself and the comics industry a favour: buy a copy for your collection, read it, and bag it (whatever), then buy a copy for a kid you know and give it them pointing them in the general direction of the local comic shop because this is the sort of thing that will appeal to adults and kids. It is simple yet effective in all areas and well worth spreading the word about. It may not be groundbreaking like 100 bullets or as commercial as Ultimate Spider-Man but it's good fun!

In a nutshell: Lions, Tigers & Bears is one to watch, the imagination of a young boy can be a dangerous place to be and fun too. I will be buying further issues without a doubt.

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