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Bear

Oh, Bother

Another in the how-did-we-miss-this category: Pooh vs. Bambi, a new 3-issue comic miniseries. “In war there are rules, but the forest has none. Abandoned by his country, betrayed by those he once called family, and hunted by those who want nothing more than to keep him as a trophy, Pooh is on a mission and no amount of honey will sate his thirst—he wants revenge!” One of the creators is Joe Brusha, long-time mainstay at Zenescope Comics, who has a history of bringing us some unusual and often very violent furry stuff. This one is written by Noah Mitchell, with artwork by Jordi Tarragona and Juan Manuel Rodriguez. Check out the reviews over at League of Comic Geeks.

image c. 2024 Zenescope Comics

They Colored Their World

Leslie Stratton is a Hollywood actress who has appeared in several movies and TV episodes. During COVID lock-down she remembered her mother’s love of pandas, and sat down to write a book based on that. The result was Let’s Share, Panda Bear, illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova.Have you ever wondered why panda bears are black-and-white? Panda Pete, an incredibly kind panda, discovers a magical way to share colors with his animal friends. As the forest transforms into a vibrant rainbow, each creature joyously embraces their unique shades. Yet, in a touching twist, Pete and Jack learn that being black-and-white has its own special magic.” The web site has all the colorful details!

image c. 2024 Little Freckles Publications

Look Within for Beauty

At this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books we met Bill Herrin, who was showing off his brand new illustrated book. It seems that while his granddaughters were visiting one day, they noticed his pet peacock interacting with a large wooden bear statue he has in his back yard. They asked him why the bird would do that… and he came up with this story on the spot. “A proud Peacock with beautiful colorful feathers belittles Paws the Bear brown fur, but Paws soon discovers through the help of Father Owl, what real beauty is. The Peacock and the Bear picture book takes you on a journey with Peter the Peacock and Paws the Bear through generosity and understanding that each forest animal is a special beautiful creature.” Illustrated in a striking style (it looks like an animated film!) by Ilham Fatkurahman, the book is available now in hardcover.

image c. 2024 Safe Skies

Do You Speak Not You?

At WonderCon we met Josh Oaktree, the founder of Oak Tree Comics. Their mission is simple, and stated right on the front page of their web site: “A children’s book publisher where imagination meets environmentalism”. To that end they created the Art and Oakie Ask series of illustrated graphic novels for young readers, featuring the wordless adventures of young Art and their friend Oakie the ambulatory oak tree. In Do You Speak Tree?, Oakie tries to speak up for his forest home — but he only speaks “tree”, and no one understands. Perhaps Art and their crayon skills can help out? This was followed by Do You Speak Bear? and, most recently, Do You Speak Bee? Oak Tree also features a nature-themed fantasy comic series called Thorn the Unicorn, and a very unusual picture book called The Weird Animal Hour, which we’ll leave to them to explain.

image c. 2024 Oak Tree Comics

A Heavy Load To Bear

We can’t say it better than the publishers did: “Bear, Staffan Gnosspelius’s debut book, is a gorgeous visual meditation on depression. In this deeply affecting, wordless picture book for adults, a bear is maddeningly afflicted with a cone that covers his head and that he is unable to take off. He furiously stomps and yells and tears at the cone, he implores the skies and fate for relief, he is drawn to dark and wild and scary places. The depths of his sadness feel like a defeat. It’s a battle he wages until he’s mentally and physically exhausted. Then, one day, Bear hears notes of music, the humming of a friendly hare. The hare hovers nearby, concerned, sometimes driven away by Bear’s frustration and anger, more often staying close and gently offering support.” This full-color graphic novel is available in hardcover from Seven Stories Press.

image c. 2024 Seven Stories Press

And He Doesn’t Even Do Cocaine

Look, we challenge you to top a title like Bipolar Bear and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance. No? Well here it is, written and illustrated by Kathleen Founds. “Theodore is a bear with wild mood swings. When he is up, he carves epic poetry into tree trunks. When he is down, he paints sad faces on rocks and turtle shells. In search of prescription medications that will bring stability to his life, Theodore finds a job with health insurance benefits. He gets the meds, but when he can’t pay the psychiatrist’s bill, he becomes lost in the Labyrinth of Health Insurance Claims… Entertaining, whimsical, and bitingly satirical, Bipolar Bear is a fable for grownups that manages the delicate balance of addressing society’s ills while simultaneously presenting a hopeful vision for the world.” And it’s available now from Graphic Mundi.

image c. 2024 Graphic Mundi

Ted Talks

Here’s what we got from Animation World Network: “Seth MacFarlane’s hugely popular – and funny – Ted film franchise gets its own Peacock series to ring in the new year. The prequel kicks off in a special streaming debut with all seven episodes on January 11, 2024, giving ‘Ted Talks’ a whole new meaning. In the show, it’s 1993, and Ted the bear’s (MacFarlane) moment of fame has passed. He’s now living back home in Framingham, Massachusetts, with his best friend, 16-year-old John Bennett (Max Burkholder), along with John’s parents, Matty and Susan (Scott Grimes [The Orville] and Alanna Ubach) and Cousin Blaire (Giorgia Whigham). Ted may be a lousy influence on John, but at the end of the day, he’s a loyal pal who’s always willing to go out on a limb for friendship.” The article has a link to the official teaser trailer too.

image c. 2023 Peacock

Dino Girls and Grumpy Bears

Recently at a local children’s book store we stumbled across the works of artist and author Ryan T. Higgins. His two most famous series of illustrated books, Mother Bruce and Penelope Rex, are decidedly furry and very, very silly. Which you can probably tell from the title of the first Penelope book, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. The follow up to that is We Don’t Lose Our Class Goldfish, and check out this opening: “Penelope Rex was seven feet tall and covered in scales. Other than that, she was just like every other kid.” And so it goes, as you can imagine. Check out Mr. Higgins’ web site to see more of what he’s been bringing the world — and what awards he’s been given for it so far.

image c. 2023 Disney Books

All the Violence You Can Bear

IDW Comics just sent us an announcement for Beneath The Trees Where Nobody Sees, a new “cozy horror” (what does that mean?) comic written and illustrated by Patrick Horvath. Set in a small town of anthropomorphic animals, it introduces us to a seemingly-nice middle-aged bear named Samantha. “In the tranquil and welcoming little town of Woodbrook, humanoid animals happily live in harmony. This cute community isn’t quite as calming as it seems, though. On the surface, Samantha is the friendly face who owns and manages the hardware store. But beneath the surface lies something more terrifying. She visits the nearby city to let her violent urges loose, and buries her victims in the woods… But what happens when the killing comes back to her harmonious home town and Samantha isn’t the only one unleashing her inner animal?” Hitting the stands this October, just in time for Halloween. Bleeding Cool (ha ha) has a preview. Make no mistake: This is harrowing stuff, and definitely not for younger readers.

image c. 2023 IDW Publishing