#FridayReads: Shirtless Bear-Fighter

I was over at a friend’s house to watch hockey, and on my way out after the game I saw a copy of a comic called Shirtless Bear-Fighter. The cover depicts a shirtless man in raggedy pants with exaggerated masculine features (seriously, his feet are huge). I paged through it and saw that this was, yes indeed, a comic about a man who fights bears while decidedly not wearing any clothes (his junk is pixelated so it remains PG-13, sort of). Curious reader that I am, I checked out Shirtless Bear-Fighter from the library via Hoopla and read it in under an hour.

Cover for the first issue of Shirtless Bear Fighter

I have several takeaways:

  1. WHAT IS THIS COMIC I DON’T EVEN KNOW
  2. BUT IT’S REALLY FUCKING FUNNY
  3. “Bear” is not limited to the large omnivorous mammal
  4. There are a lot of toilet paper and poop jokes (WHICH ARE HILARIOUS)
  5. The whole thing can be read as a fable about environmentalism and toxic masculinity
  6. ALSO IT’S REALLY FUCKING FUNNY
  7. Magic bacon.

First, if you find crude humor beneath you, don’t bother with this book. Second, if you can’t tell the difference between straight tropes and the skewering of said tropes, also probably don’t bother with this book. Still with me? GREAT.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter tells the story of a man named Shirtless, who was raised by bears in a lush mountain forest. The bears betrayed him when they killed his lover, and after that he vowed to fight every bear. Now, enraged bears are attacking major cities across the US, and the FBI calls in Shirtless to handle the problem. In the process he discovers that past events weren’t what they seemed and uncovers a plot by a greedy toilet-paper-company logger to turn the whole forest into TP. On the way Shirtless has to deal with multiple betrayals, bears high on magic bacon, and the fact that he probably definitely has a thing for Silva, the female FBI agent.

The creative team (Jody Leheup, Sebastian GirnerNil Vendrell, and Mike Spicer) do not take anything seriously. Shirtless is a hyperbole of our culture’s idea of what men should be, and that’s exactly what gets him into trouble. The issue of Shirtless’s dead lover reveals the cavalier way men treat women and highlights exactly why that is terrible and we should maybe stop doing that right now. Silva is not hyper sexualized and proves herself to be smart and resourceful–without her, Shirtless would fail his mission to save the forest.

So, here’s a comic that takes the most exaggerated masculine tropes and handles them in a subtle, brilliant, hilarious way. I’m definitely on board for a second volume (though it seems the creators are working on other projects right now, but a girl can hope).

New Year’s resolution: Read a bazillion comic books

I was looking some old posts from an earlier incarnation of this blog and found this New Year’s resolution post from January 23, 2018. This is basically my resolution every year, so? Still relevant. Today is not a great day for me, so instead of writing something new, here’s what I was reading in 2013!

Drawing of Sonic the Hedgehog

Witness my awesome drawing skills circa 1998.

I started 2013 out by reading a comic book every day for the first seven days. After that I dug into some thicker comics and broke my streak, but I’m still pretty much reading comics every day.

And it is freaking awesome.

Not to get all nostalgic, but when I was a kid my brother and I had a ton of Sonic the Hedgehog comics, and we read them over and over again. I still have all of them, but some of them are so well read the covers are falling off. Others are a little stained.

Those marks aren’t a sign of carelessness, but a sign of love. I took issues into school with me and “perfected” my Sonic drawing abilities (as you can well see!). My friend A. and I would play Sonic and Knuckles at recess and during sleepovers (where we also made it our missions to make as big a mess as possible and perhaps get into some minor trouble along the way).

I was never one of those kids who grew out of reading comics, I just switched from Sonic to Star Wars and a few select superhero titles (Batman and Catwoman, mostly), and then eventually to DC Vertigo titles like Sandman and Hellblazer. I read lots of manga as a teenager, too (and yes, I still do read lots of manga).

My current favorite series is far and away Bill Willingham’s Fables. I’m waiting for the next trades to come out, and in the meantime, sinking my eyeballs into Hellboy, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Frank Miller’s the Life and Times of Martha Washington, and more. (Note from 2018: Fables is over now and I AM SO SO SAD, but now D.J. is reading it which is so exciting because I know things that he doesn’t yet! And his guesses are so very wrong! I am a mean partner!)

Despite my nearly paralyzing fear of zombies (seriously, no joke, I am fucking terrified of zombies), I think I’m even going to try reading The Walking Dead. I keep hearing such great things about it, but we’ll see if I can read it. Ugh. Zombies. (Note from 2018: I tried. I lasted ten pages. NOPE NOPE NOPE)

But Hellboy? The Deadenders? Kill Shakespear? The Unwritten? Now those are some titles I can get behind (as in my face behind the book, reading it) without running away screaming or having awful nightmares as a consequence of a single glimpse. (Like, don’t even ask me how I reacted to reading a few pages of Marvel Zombies. Just don’t even.)

#FridayReads July 1, 2016

fridayreads16.07.01

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley: A bittersweet novel that avoids all the “man’s best friend” cliches and reminds why we love dogs so much, even though we outlive them.

Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino: An informative, no-nonsense book about the how, what, where, and when of getting seen online and, to a lesser degree, in print.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: A quirky comic about a girl who wants to become a sidekick to her favorite villain.

Morning Glories Volume 9 by Nick Spencer, Joe Eisma, and Rodin Esquejo: The continuing adventures of a group of students held prisoner by their teachers and their efforts to figure out exactly what the school is and what their teachers are up to, and to escape.

What’s on your currently reading shelf this week?