By Dustin Cabeal
The punctuation for Shirtless Bear-Fighter is very important. I could just type examples over and over, but that would probably only amuse myself since no one that’s read a comic book for joy has every thought about grammar. If they did, then they would see the abysmal state of the English language in comics. We’re not here to talk about that or how I contribute to that statement weekly, but rather we’re here to take an early look at Shirtless Bear-Fighter from Image Comics.
The first thing you need to know is that there’s a lot of dick in this comic. It’s censored, which is unfortunate. If there were an uncensored print, I would support that one. The censored penis is still rather funny, but something about an uncensored comic dong is just funnier.
The plot for Shirtless Bear-Fighter is half Rambo, 18% Jungle Book, and 9% every “I don’t do that anymore” storyline ever… there’s also 23% dong and dong jokes, but I lost track of the math a long time ago. Basically, some jacked bears are bearorizing the city, and so the government has come calling for the man simply known as… Shirtless Bear-Fighter. Which isn’t simple or simple to be known as because that’s a goddamn mouth full. His dick is at least two mouths full in case you were wondering it.
This is after his introduction in the woods in which he German suplexes a bear, sadly I must complain about the art here because they chose not to show his dick moving, but still showed his dick censored. I just have to imagine that a naked man performing a German suplex would have dick movement. If there were some kind of science chart that illustrated this, I would show that to you now. Velocity and movement times force… something like that. The gist of the issue is that they need Shirtless to fight the bears that he was once raised by… we get his backstory and some meta jokes as well.
To put it plainly, I didn’t slap my knee or piss my pants laughing at Shirtless Bear-Fighter, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s one of the funniest books I’ve read all year and shines in the underdeveloped genre of comedy that comics seems to be afraid to produce on a mass scale. The writing is sharp, self-aware, but not in an annoying way a very creative. What works particularly well is that it takes everything it presents seriously. That’s what makes it funny that people are taking a naked man seriously when they need some bears killed. The humor is also fast, but not so fast that gags aren’t given their proper amount of breathing room.
The art is great, even if dicks don’t move. It’s probably heartbreaking to some people because they’re going to wish this was a serious comic. The art is very realistic and detailed. It looks a bit like Invincible, which again sells the humor. The linework is clean and again very detailed. The coloring is sharp and vibrant and again, makes it look more like a top selling superhero comic, than one about a shirtless and sometimes pantless man fighting bears.
The only thing that worries me is that Image’s audience doesn’t seem to gravitate towards comics of the comedy genre. Which is a shame because it seems like a great fit for the publisher that publishes everything. Personally, I would love to see more genuinely funny comic books. They’re so rare that I could write you a list of the other titles I’ve read this year and it wouldn’t be worth posting. If like me you enjoy a funny story and sure it’s not one that will make you gut laugh, but instead, put you in a great mood and leave a smile on your face, then you should give Shirtless Bear-Fighter a chance.
Shirtless Bear-Fighter #1
Writer: Jody LeHeup & Sebastian Giner
Artist: Nil Vendrell
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Publisher: Image Comics
Releases on June 21, 2017