What Did I Learn?
This review is on Bear Nuts by Alison Acton. Imagine that (say) the failed-to-make-the-grade-Care Bears are trapped in a discount zoo. There is Nerd Bear, Evil Bear, Prozac and more. They quickly find out that zoo life is not all it’s cracked up to be with it’s daily meals and easy living. Plus, they have a hard time just getting along due to their … wildly divergent personalities. And they have a job to do; or else.
Each bear is very distinct in speech, expression and look. If each of them said the same sentence, you would take away totally different impressions. Even a harmless expression like “Let’s order pizza with extra toppings” could be the basis for an entire story arc – although the artist works with better ideas than that. Bear Nuts is very well written and the stories spring naturally from both situation and character.
At this point, I’m going to stop forcing myself to not talk about the art. The strip is typically made up of three rows of small, rectangular panels with bright colors and roomy text balloons. There are visual gags like this one and all of them have great cartoony background details. And before I forget, don’t overlook the subtle line and great color. Look at this one with soda bottles and grocery carts. Can you imagine how long it probably took to -for instance- get the reflections right on the carts?
Anyway, also of note is how sometimes the scene is not communicated with dialog. Sometimes it’s just an expression, other times it is a bear shown as he is about to take an action and yet other times we simply see the result of what happened. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish.
Besides those things, you probably ought to know there are some rare moments where the bears antics border on the crude. There are also moments of spurting blood and violence, although most of those things are not shown directly, as the previous paragraph mentions.
This isn’t the Care Bears, as I said up front. These bears are far more expressive, you might say. They are probably not looking to save your day with their special powers. Perhaps because of these last few things, I have this nagging feeling that some will turn their nose up at this comic.
What Did I Learn?
You can always take an older idea and create a new take on it. All we need is a little twist on a character designs and personality, some reasonable editing and the hard work it takes to make a solid comic. Give Bear Nuts a look and see what you think.