Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 06.23.2010 – Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark #1

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

341
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 10.5%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
story & art RYAN OTTLEY & JASON HOWARD
cover RYAN OTTLEY & JASON HOWARD

Size: 48 pages
Price: 4.99

“It’s just big, dumb comic book fun.”

That’s the kind of sentence that really bothers me.  No one would assign a singular kind of story to another medium.  No would would excuse the absence of logic or thought in the pursuit of big ideas across all of film.  But the comic book is a place where absurdity and stupidity are supposed to reign, presumably because the vast majority of readers want only spectacle, and no substance.  They want only the most visceral of stimulation. “When does the Hulk get to smashing?” they ask.  “But why is that all you want?” I return. “Smashing good, fool!” is the answer.

Most of the time, I roll my eyes, and leave the kids to their dumb fun; good for them for finding something they enjoy.  As such, I am labeled as the fun hater.  I hate that label, to be honest.  Fun is something different to everyone. It’s entirely subjective, and we’ve all got our own tastes.

Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark is ridiculous, almost absurdly dumb fun.  However, it is also glorious.

There’s barely enough to call it high concept. It’s just a couple of artists letting their id spill out all over the page, and having a ton of fun doing it, while being lucky enough to know some folks at Image Comics who’d publish this pile of nonsensical animal attacks.  What if a Shark and a Bear got mixed up, and hunted you?  No need to explain it.  Just get on with it.

Jason Howard drew the Sea Bear story, where, try and stay with me here, a Bear hunts from the sea, devouring boat loads of unsuspecting tourists.  He doesn’t have fins, or any fish parts.  The bear is completely indistinct from any regular bear.  But he is of the great blue sea.  When a boy comes to get revenge on the Sea Bear for eating his family years earlier, he finds that the Sea Bear has enslaved and mated with a local islands inhabitants, creating a cult of half-breed human cultists, loyal to Sea Bear.  Shortly thereafter, the boy transforms into a cyborg and is attacked by a torpedo/robot fired from a nearby submarine.  Basically there’s a lot of fighting and heads getting cut off.  The thing is, with this, and the following story, I laughed, loudly, and several times.  I didn’t quite get what Kirkman saw in Howard’s work when he first ended up on Astonishing Wolf-Man, but the raw black and white work here is all about action and absurd violence and fun.  The pages explode with energetic goofiness, and it did everything Howard set out to do.  This is exactly why Kirkman picked Howard to work with.

Sea Bear would almost have been enough, but the second half of the double-sized issue was Ryan Ottley’s turn to showcase the Grizzly Shark.  Grizzly Shark is a shark who does not swim in the ocean, but hunts through the trees in the forest, and it’s fairly clear that if you come by his woods, he’ll get you.  If it was possible, Grizzly Shark is even more ludicrous than Sea Bear.  I could explain the story, but really, this is all about the shots of the shark coming from out of nowhere, to consume some unsuspecting passerby with just a hint of blood about them.  You want to be very careful not to cut yourself in Grizzly Shark’s woods is what I’m saying.  Ottley has long been one of my favorite artists, and this issue, like Howard’s story, we just see him let go and destroy these pages.  It’s pure cartooning and comic storytelling at his best, and the fun is all over the pages.  

Neither Howard nor Ottley are trying to win an Eisner here.  They’re not trying to examine the human condition, or what it would really be like to be a super powered human in the world.  They’re trying to make each other crack up by showing endless, silly bear and shark attacks, and frankly, it was something I didn’t realize was missing in my life until today.  Subsequent flips through the pages elicited the same laughs.

Hate fun? Me?  I think not.

The fact is, the world needs more examination of the dangers of sharks, and bears, and what might happen if they were to somehow leave their natural habitat.  Would it be a matter of days or hours before they successfully destroyed human civilization in their relentless pursuit of human blood and death?  Sure, this book is in the guise of humor and is only considered a harmless bit of fun, but really people, what if?

It’s an answer I hope never to learn more about. Think about it.

 

Josh Flanagan
I'm saying, if sharks got to land, it'd be all over.
josh@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. wow. they got mixed up.

    i didn’t even know this existed.

    well..

  2. You should probably listen to our Don’t Miss podcast, because if you had, you would have known.

  3. I had this on my pull list…then took it off…dammit…now it’s back on.

  4. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I blame Akamu for my last minute decision to pass on this one. Grrr…

  5. Saw the preview. It’s really intense actually!

  6. Okay, okay, I’m getting it. I just called my LCS, and they’re pulling this for me as I write this.

    Thanks again for the early pick!

  7. I just wrapped up my review and agree with your assessment, but I was more disappointed by the art than you were.  I realize that it was done for fun and in their spare time, but I felt some sharper images could have made it even better.  This was awesome campy goodness.  A solid pick for sure.

  8. I loved how raw it was.

  9. My LCS didn’t even order this or act like they knew it existed.  New ownership sucks…

  10. ?????

  11. From the preview it seems like it’s a comedy book… Am I wrong?

  12. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I think that’d vary from reader to reader. 

     

  13. Why do I have a feeling the conversation about Sharks taking over the planet will occur again in this week’s podcast? 🙂

    I really was thinking of picking this up at the last minute, but it sold out very quickly at my LCS. Another time I suppose.

  14. I was gonna get this but by the time I got to my shop they were all sold out. Hopefully a second printing will come shortly!

  15. I didn’t pull this, but was gonna grab it, guy before me got the last shelf copy, sigh

  16. I put my name down for this at my shop as soon as I saw it in previews. It looked like it was going to be hysterical and did not disappoint. 

  17. I didn’t get this because I like things in their proper place. A bear should be grizzly and a shark should be sea-y.

  18. That being the case, you made the right call.

  19. Best comic I’ve picked up in a while. It is rare for me to laugh out loud from reading a comic, but I found myself doing it over and over again. Everyone should read this!

  20. I’m still gonna take a pass on this one. Fantastic review though:)

  21. No one would assign a singular kind of story to another medium.  No would would excuse the absence of logic or thought in the pursuit of big ideas across all of film.  

    "Big, dumb fun" is exactly how I described the recent "Clash of the Titans."  It’s how I described "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."  It’s how I describe Lady Gaga.  It’s how I describe the TV show "Sanctuary."  There is no medium that I exempt from being called "big, dumb fun."  Hell, it’s how I’d describe the "Addams Family Musical."  I enjoy all of those things immensely, and never delude myself that they are high art.  They’re fun.  They’re dumb.  They’re big.  We excuse high concept stupidity in every medium, honestly (every Bruce Willis movie comes to mind).  Also, I wish I’d picked this up.

  22. I pulled two books this week. This was one of them. Hellz. Yeah.

  23. You missed my point. I said people say it’s what comic books are.  When people say "comic book movie" they mean a "big dumb movie". People don’t say it’s a "movie" and you automatically think it’s silly.  It could be anything.

    And you should have picked it up.

  24. Just to put at least Jason Howard’s work perspective.  He did a majority of this, coming up with and writing the story included, in the span of 24 hours.

    I couldn’t find the original article covering it but until I do here’s an update from a few months ago on my LCS’s website that hosted the "24 Hour Comic Book Day" event.

    http://www.clemslansing.com/wordpress/?p=1712

  25. Did no one listen to this podcast with them?

  26. My POW is Superman #700.  

    Matthew

     

     

     

  27. Yes!!  I was sooo hoping that this would be pick of the week.  It was so much fun.  I enjoyed the Grizzly Shark half a little more.  Ottley seemed to embrace the absurdity a little bit more wholeheartedly. 

  28. @josh fine you brat.  I’ll pick it up.  AND I’ll HATE IT.  So take that.

  29. Man this must have been great if it beat out the greatness that was Amazing Spider-Man #635

  30. this seems like a last gasp to salvage ur name, "josh hates fun" will be a great meme at this site for years to come

  31. Arrrggghhh Arrrggghhh (@Arrrggghhh) says:

    I gotta get this now . . . the preview looked fun as hell.

  32. I’m glad you liked it.

    This is definitely not for me.

     

  33. I’m way behind in my podcast listening….

  34. Ahhhhhh! This was so much fun!

  35. God, I wanna read this…

    THEY GOT MIXED UP!!!!!!!!!

  36. I didn’t even know that this book was coming out……..until I listned to the Don’t Miss podcast. I was so hyped for the release of the book that I got to my LCS 10mins before they opened and made a B-line for the rack to secure a copy. What a great book both art and story. Thanks again iFanboy for a great recommendation!!

  37. My store only got one copy of this. Good thing I’m tight with the owner and get to in about 15 minutes early and get my pick of the new books.

  38. I hope they turn ths into a SyFy Channel original movie.

  39. @paulmontgomery: I’m sorry.  To be fair, I did say that if you appreciated self-aware horror comedy, then this was a book you’d enjoy.  It’s just that this book satarizes something I limit my exposure to, and as such, wasn’t for me.

  40. There wasn’t really anything I loved this week.  Maybe I should have sprung for Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark.

    I am liking Thunderbolts and XFactor (I’m hoping their involvement in the crossover is now done), and the Iron Man Legacy book is getting to the point of distinguishing itself from every other Iron Man story I’ve read (which was the problem with the first couple issues, though the whole series has been well-done).  I think I’m about over adjectiveless Avengers.  Half the dialogue was in balloons representing offstage characters who were completely indistinguishable.  

  41. This was a big, dumb book.  Fun?  Sure.

  42. This comic is the perfect argument for day and date digital releases. Both my local retailer and my back-up shop were out of this by the time I made it out for my books today.  If I could buy this digitally I would in a heart beat and I imagine many of the other people reading this review are in the same boat. 

  43. This really cracked me up.  I want more of this.

  44. @josh: will do.

    My LCS didn’t get it, though

  45. I knew Josh didn’t really hate fun. Great pick Josh.

  46. This must of been great if it beat out ROBW#3

  47. Sea bear reminds me of those aquatic attack tigers.

  48. Reminds me of the old SNL "Land Shark" skits.

  49. I stand by my statement that this pick of the Week is Josh succumbing to Peer pressure.

  50. @RazorEdge757: If you believe that then you don’t know a thing about Josh.

  51. Got me thinking, I think I got MIXED UP as well! I am surrounded by fucktards at work! I fear there might be a village idiot somewhere in the Himalayas… now there’s your story right there! I fear an airheaded fool is driving buddhists monks cray.

  52. Which peers? Ron and Conor?

    Just for the record, any crackpot theories that we pick a book for any reason other than we like it and we have something to say about it is, for 5 years running, completely full of shit.

    Because, and think about this, what’s my motivation? I’ve heard every complaint and compliment there is out there, and there’s just nothing in it for me.

  53. Obviously the Pick of the Week is handled by the mob. And Ron is Fredo.

  54. There is no mob, Ron works in construction.

  55. I believe you meant to say Waste Management.

  56. I want more MIX UPS!

    There was this list that ranked comic readers right below conspiracy theorists and religious fanatics. I think it was for people who’d believe anything.  Honestly, who gives a fuck bout what you guys pick as their fav? I don’t. I’m just here for the entertaiment.

    BTW, laser cats are real. I just had a pancake. 

  57. Does anyone remember the old SNL sketch?

    http://www.spike.com/video/land-shark/2802070

  58. Local shop sold through all 8 or so copies they had.  They were surprised, to say the least.  Asked me how I knew about it.  Said it was on iFanboy.  Wish the girl had said she had any idea what iFanboy was, but alas.

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