Comics To Note: Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1 By Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner, And Nil Vendrell

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 23 June 2017
Category: Features Comments View Comments


There's only one (very angry) man powerful enough to stop bears in their tracks - Shirtless Bear-Fighter! Unfortunately for the citizens of Major City, who are now under attack, he may not care enough to intervene, even if law enforcement attempts to bribe him with flapjacks and maple syrup.

Comics To Note: Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1 By Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner, And Nil Vendrell

Comics To Note: Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1 By Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner, And Nil VendrellShirtless Bear-Fighter! is a new five-issue limited series focussing on a bear-punching protagonist, known only as Shirtless Bear-Fighter, who was discovered by bears as a baby and consequently grew up with them in the forest. However after they betrayed him, the background for which is only hinted at in the first issue, he chose to remain in the forest to protect it and fight bears at every opportunity.

He's an angry, angry man with a lot of bear punches to get out of his system.

He's also a very naked man with no qualms about subjecting people to showcases of his talents.

After a giant bear invades Major City and starts destroying parts of it the FBI seeks out Shirtless Bear-Fighter to help, which includes trying to coerce him with offers of flapjacks and maple syrup. In the process we discover that the director has a history with him but it's left as a deliberate tease for future issues.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter!, which is being published by Image Comics, has been created by Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner, who share writing duties, and Nil Vendrell, the line artist. They are assisted by Mike Spicer (colours) and Dave Lanphear (lettering), and the standard covers are by Andrew Robinson. (As an aside, if you're a fan of Jason Aaron's Southern Bastards you'll recognise Sebastian Girner as the editor of that series.)

Comics To Note: Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1 By Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner, And Nil Vendrell

Above: Roll over the image to see Nil Vendrell's original line art.
The comic is, as you can imagine, a parody of hyper masculinity and the humour is reminiscent of the video game Broforce, which also deals with hyper masculinity and parodies Eighties and Nineties action movies. Nil Vendrell's art style reminds me of some of Broforce's earlier in game art and marketing materials before they morphed to their final iterations.

Whether or not others see the similarities, there's no denying how well the humour is infused in everything from the art to the dialogue and the lettering. The art sets the immediate tone but it's well enhanced by the colours and sound-effects lettering, which is often amusing in how it describes the action rather than the sound of the action. The ludicrous world building, however, is likely most attributable to the writers, who also throw in jokes in the conversations and interactions between the characters. Pleasantly, although the subject matter is at times off colour, and very silly, the comic manages not to be crass even when it drifts into territory that is most easily written that way by less skilled writers (and screenwriters - so many movies come to mind).

I really enjoyed reading the first issue of Shirtless Bear-Fighter! and I'm looking forward to the rest of it. The next issue will be featuring a hillbilly warlock (he's actually on the cover of issue one as well) so there's no telling where the story is heading - we'll find out next month.

Comics To Note: Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1 By Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner, And Nil Vendrell

Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1 was released on Wednesday, 21 June 2017, but your local comic shop may still be able to get a back issue using the Diamond code APR170718. You can buy it, worldwide, through Things From Another World or digitally via the Image Comics store. It's on schedule to be published monthly, with the final issue coming out in October. If you think you can't wait that long, fill the hours playing the official game (requires HTML5).

Shirtless Bear-Fighter!: Official Game, Image Comics, Instagram, Twitter, Hastag: #WarOnBearror

The press copy of Shirtless Bear-Fighter! #1 was provided by Image Comics.

Read Next: Comics To Note: Samaritan: Veritas #1 By Matt Hawkins And Atilio Rojo

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