What Did I Learn?

cartoon29aOne of the first things I saw about this comic was the disclaimer:”This web-comic focuses on Bi-Polarbear and Cole Turkey, two lovable characters who are best buddies, but quite different from one another. Bi-Polarbear, or “Bi” to his friends, is the embodiment of all personality disorders. He doesn’t suffer from his personality disorder: he ENJOYS them! Cole deals with issues of addiction in every form. Cole is involved in so many 12-step programs that he needs a 12-step program to deal with all of his 12-step programs!

Initially, this seemed like a recipe for audience firestorms but I haven’t seen it yet. According to the about page, the comic is not meant to make fun of people that suffer from these afflictions but rather to entertain while raising a bit of awareness about these problems. Mostly, I’ve seen comics about Cole Turkey’s addictions. If you go to the archives page and check out comic 24, you’ll see an example where he joins Over-Talkers Anonymous.

Perhaps there is something to Bear’s behavior that is bi-polar (they both do seem to have semi-suicidal discussions involving pistols fairly often which could be indicative of Bi-Polarbear’s depressive episodes.) I’m sure that there is more to these conditions than can be neatly summed up by some quick research so feel free to comment in with info if you’re knowledgeable about them. Due to that, I get the feeling that I may be missing the depth of the punchlines in some of the strips. Of course, I might be violating rule 62 by dwelling too much on these things.

In that spirit of thinking, I found most of the comics amusing and a few even made me chuckle. The gag nature of the strip lets you roll backward or forward through the archive without missing anything (except for the occasional repeated gag like the hanging plant.) The art is visually interesting and any digitally added fx are not overdone.

A couple of other things… The comic has a drop shadow which really helps it pop off the page. And while I like the site design well enough, I’d personally rather see the comic displayed wider and save an extra click. Bi-Polarbear also has a licensing page which we should all have as standard feature for our comics (except Calvin & Hobbes, of course.) And don’t overlook all the games, videos and other extra features offered.

What Did I Learn?

It seems to me that one of the keys to most successful comics is that they are neither over or under done. That balance probably depends on the reader experience that the creator is looking to provide but a Prince Valiant fan is looking for something different than a Peanuts reader or a Moebius fan, obviously. If it’s hard for you to pick out what specific experience you’re looking to provide, it’s probably important to look at what comics you enjoy and figure out why you like them. That’s a bit easier said than done, of course, but you can visit Bi-Polarbear and see what you think in the meantime.



  1. Pingback: Bi-Polarbear | Any Comic Strip

  2. I go to the site and it is just a big confusing mess of promotional stuff for things that are at best ancillary to the comic. I can’t even figure out how to see the comic itself.

    Going directly to the archive page is a bit more useful but it’s a bit strange how every page requires an additional click to enlarge the image, using some crappy Javascript that takes forever. However good this comic is, even the act of reading it takes far too much effort considering how unfunny the comic itself is.

    I think this only amplifies the rule of thumb that the more something focuses on the “legal use” and promotional aspects and the like, the less likely it is to be worth considering any of that to begin with.

  3. My chief complaint about Bi-Polarbear is that its gags all read like they were pulled out of the psychiatry chapter of the Big Funny Joke Book. These are all jokes that we’ve heard before, simply reconfigured into comic-strip format and put into the mouths of its protagonists. I have no objection to heavily-marketed comics that are intended to garner a profit, as long as the product is good. About the best I can say for Bi-Polarbear is that the art looks reasonably sharp.

  4. @fluffy
    The site is a bit cluttered for my tastes but it’s not a deal breaker for me because the comic doesn’t require me to scroll down. My eyes are still good enough to make out the dialog and there are only thirty comics so far…

  5. @Jackson
    Some of the comics were amusing and a few made me chuckle. I’d say that this comic is still finding its way, so I wasn’t too critical about its gags. Also, I can’t seem to write funny comics, so a chuckle still counts as okay for me.

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