Sunday, June 22, 2008

Herobear and the Kid…

A Review of the comic book/graphic novel by Mike Kunkel…

It’s quite a while ago now that I chanced upon this wonderful book, whilst looking around a comic shop. I had heard of the original comic version, but had never seen it to pick any issues up. Anyhow I picked the collected book version up and it certainly passed my three to six page flips method of checking new stuff out. If a book doesn’t catch my interest by the time I have flipped that amount of times, down goes the book.

I was first of all smitten by the fantastic cartoon drawings using only graphite pencil and a very controlled use of red throughout the book. What happened when I began to read it was nothing short of magical.

There is a warmth and understanding of the true manner of innocence with childhood dreams within the writing. It takes you back to days when the world seemed a much simpler place and only few bad guys lay outside the confines of your home…and they were only in stories…one never actually saw any, unless you counted the school bully.

When I was thinking of a book, which I would like to share with you for this Blog, it jumped out at me as something I can imagine few folks not enjoying.

I was hooked like so many others from the first page onwards. The series was collected under the heading “The inheritance”, an apt title indeed for this particular book.

Mike Kunkle, the writer and artist of the story has worked as director, animator, and story artist at Sony, Warner Brothers and Walt Disney and I for one am extremely glad he decided to use the comic book form to tell this particular story, although it would not look out of place on the big screen by any means.

The basic thought given to the reader is quite simply, remember your childhood and pass it on, what a lovely thought. On the front cover fold it says:

“Herobear and the kid, a nostalgic view of childhood, complete with new schools, bullies, true love, imagination, superheroes, and a magic bear.”

“After his Grandfather passes away, young Tyler inherits an old stuffed, toy bear and a broken pocket watch. He soon learns that things aren’t what they seem, and that you shouldn’t judge a bear by its cover.”

“Come remember your childhood, as Tyler remembers his.”

This book has it all, the girl, family, happiness, sadness, toys, bullies, superheroes, villains, robots, Santa Claus and far much more. I would recommend this book be read anytime of year, really, but the run up to Christmas is perfect to do so…you will love it I promise.

The only question I ask is why aren’t there more stories like this out there? I know a few people are working on all-ages books even as you read these words and I include my own Worlds End here, but there should be far more.

If you want a book you can share with your kids, or your grandkids or that will take you back to simpler times, reminding you how all you needed long ago was a friend, a toy and your imagination, then this is the book for you.

The Eisner-Award winning book comes with two introductions, one by animation producer, Don Hahn and the other by comic and screen writer, Jeph Loeb. To round the book off there is a sketchbook section at the back, showing the book’s many conceptual changes to achieve its look and more.

I just may find myself sat around the fire one winter’s night, later this year, to return to old friends…the Herobear and the kid…

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
June 22nd 2008

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