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LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS: A CAT'S MEOW Special Review ___________________________________________________________________________
Review by John Norris, August 16, 2007

When I think of the phrases “all-ages” or “family-friendly,” two types of stories come to mind. The first type seems to exist only to appeal to the lowest common denominator possible through the use crude humor and other things that shouldn't pass for entertainment, yet somehow do. I try to avoid these.

Then there are stories that truly offer something for everyone. As far as comics go, one shining example is LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS. I'll go on record and say that Mike Bullock is one of my favorite writers working in comics today. His stories deal with loyalty, friendship, courage, faith, pride, hope, the wonder and excitement of childhood, and the power of imagination—all presented in an entertaining way. As for the artwork, the series has had two artists at this point: Jack Lawrence and Paul Gutierrez. Jack's work is so full of life that it practically leaps off the page. He's a master at drawing facial expressions, and his colors make everything pop. When Paul stepped in, he didn't miss a beat. Yes, there was a slight difference in style, but Paul has held his own quite nicely. Add Bob Pedroza's colors to the mix and you have artwork as enchanting as the stories that accompany it.

Before I proceed any further, a quick recap is in order. Little Joey Price receives a gift from his grandmother: The Night Pride, four stuffed animals (two tigers, a panther and a lion) whose job it is to protect him from the Beasties. Along the way, he meets Courtney Donlolley. Together, they fight to save the Stuffed Animal Kingdom from the Beasties and Lord Valthraax.

Which brings me to volume 2, issue 4.

Mike and Paul drop us into the middle of the action as Joey, Courtney, the Pride and Marco the Polar Bear's men fight to save King Bear and the fate of the Stuffed Animal Kingdom. I cannot reveal any more than that, as I do not want to deny anyone the thrill of discovering what happens next. And this issue is one thrill after another. It excited me to a degree I have not felt since the climactic battle between Jarek and Malesur in the pages of TELLOS. My blood was really pumping. Joey, Courtney and Ares really step up to the plate; if you were not a fan of Ares before, you will be! As far as the artwork is concerned, Paul and Bob have REALLY outdone themselves. They infuse each page with such energy and emotion that I honestly don't think Jack Lawrence could have done it better. (No offense, Jack.) Finally, I must applaud Mike for ending the issue the way he did; it's not completely happy, but it's satisfying, and it left me begging for more.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To read a complete LTB short story, go HERE.

By thy side,
John “Figaro” Norris

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