Lions, Tigers & Bears #2


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Lions, Tigers & Bears #2


  • Words: Mike Bullock
  • Art: Jack Lawrence
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: Fear and Pride - Part 2
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.95
  • Release Date: Mar 16, 2005

Joey and the Night Pride journey through the Stuffed Animal Kingdom to the Crystal Castle when all he wants to do is go home!

The idea that toys are really alive is not an especially new concept. Recent movies like Toy Story and children’s books such as The Indian in the Cupboard toy (tee hee) with the same general idea that Lions, Tigers and Bears is based around. LT&B takes it one step further by introducing another fantasy staple: the alternate magical realm – such as the one from another acronym requiring series LW&W (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe). Throw in the team adventure setting of many superhero books and a fish-out-of-water kid to get the adventure rolling and you’ve got a high energy adventure that’s for children of all ages to relate to and enjoy. This book attains its freshness from the sincerity, wonder and exuberance infused within the characters and especially the artwork.

Joey and the Night Pride land with a bump in the stuffed animal kingdom; a land of wonders and the odd scary bit. After quickly getting over the novelty of being in a faraway magic land, Joey simply wants to go home but first he must see the king of the stuffed animals. Will Joey’s destiny prove too scary or is he up to the challenge?

What I loved about this comic is its sheer exuberance. It has a real rinsed-clean, fun-loving, white-bread attitude to it that is so sincere it seems almost anachronistic. If you only watched Hollywood kid’s movies, you could be forgiven for forgetting that children’s stories are supposed to be more than just entertainment. Children are always learning and if all they see are false-cute, revenge-themed snark-fests starring pre-pubescent millionaires then the world is going to be even less fun than it is in a few generations’ time. Bullock has a keen sense of what makes those squeaky-clean stories of yesteryear important. His themes include the importance of teamwork, the facing of fears, taking responsibility for oneself, modesty, humbleness and a good sense of humour.

Unfortunately, this issue lacks a certain amount of substance. The plot advances well enough but it is told to us, not shown. In fact there is an awful lot of talking in this issue about things to come – we’re in the stuffed animal kingdom for crying out loud; can’t we have an adventure or something? Can’t Joey discover his place in the quest rather than being lectured to?

There are no complaints from this reviewer about the spectacular artwork by one Mr. Jack Lawrence. This guy could make Sylvester Stallone look animated! His highly elastic, yet grounded animation-style work gives this book the edge it needs to cut a real swath through the competition. His monsters and stuffed animals are creative and original but it is through Joey that his real skills emerge. Joey’s facial expressions and mannerisms are simply priceless and they give this character a real life on the page that is a joy to experience.

This book is a resounding success by two creative people we’re sure to see much, much more of!

-Matthew Clark

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