Sorry readers, I just wanted to start off this article with that phrase. It’s not often a man gets to say that. Anyway, Bearlands is an up-and-coming comic book from Subversive Comics. Combining Englishman Jeremy Biggs’ eye for narrative detail and pacing, and the incredibly eye-catching artwork of Thai artist Bakki, Bearlands presents a breath of fresh air in the English indie comic scene. It tells the story of a mysterious Bear-With-No-Name traversing the desert wastes, fighting hordes of Zombears, and seeking as-of-yet unrevealed ‘revenge’. Not your normal Saturday night, then…
Despite the first issue being a mere 24 pages, the writing plays it for all its worth, hammering its way through plot points and character backstories like there was no tomorrow. What makes it work narratively is that the phrase ‘less is more’ really is true. Biggs presents us with information but does not rest to let it sink in. Instead he throws us a curveball, and the reader is propelled along – not a single line is wasted. Bakki’s artwork itself is used to complement the writing. Instead of being a simple backdrop to the dialogue, it adds more layers to the narrative. My absolute favorite moment is when the Bear-With-No-Name dreams of his family – which is interlaid with images of Zombears trying to sneak up on him.
What I love most of all about this particular comic is how at odds the artwork and the tone is. Despite the story being about the dead rising from the grave, the artwork is surprisingly cheery and colourful – the Zombear that adorns the front cover is almost huggable! Bakki unleashes a lot of red and yellows over the pages to make for a very warm colorization that make the characters leap out of the comic at you. Even the lifeless Zombears have a certain vibrancy to them!
Overall, Bearlands is a highly recommendable read that meshes drama, action and comedy all into one pretty darn cool story. Issues 0 and 1 are already available, and I am being sincere when I say if you read it, you’ll want to read it again and again and again until the second issue comes out…
If you’re in England anytime soon, head on over to the MCM Expo to pick up an issue, or if not, go to their website (http://subversivecomics.com/) to order an issue.
You won’t regret it!
Alex resides in the quaint little island known as the United Kingdom. As such, he enjoys buck-teeth, top hats and monocles, and speaks in a very posh accent. He was kicked out of Hogwarts for practising the Dark Arts and now works as a receptionist aboard the Death Star.