Shirtless Bear Fighter #1 (Image Comics)
Sometimes you just need a dumb comic book, and Shirtless Bear Fighter is exactly that kind of book. It’s about a guy who’s called “Shirtless Bear Fighter” who fights bears. That’s it. And that’s pretty much all you need. That’s not to say that Shirtless Bear Fighter is bad by any means. The new Image series from Jody LeHeup, Sebastian Girner, and artist Nil Vendrell is the perfect kind of stupid fun that lovingly plays up ideas of masculinity, 80’s action movies, and, well, bears.
LeHeup and Girner’s script is brimming with nods to famous action movies. Hell, you can practically guess where the story is going to go by page 3. But their script is such a loving nod to these over the top stories that it makes for a completely entertaining ride. SBF’s love of flapjacks, beards, and nudity is hilarious, and makes this character instantly entertaining.
Adding to that entertainment is Nil Vendrell’s art, which is brimming with style and character all its own. From the hilarious expressions on the bear’s faces after they get a patented “BEAR PUNCH” to the commitment to the censoring of SBL’s crotch in his many nude scenes, Vendrell’s art is just as integral to the delivery of this book as the script.
Shirtless Bear Fighter is a hilarious comic, and it’s easily one of the most wild and original books I’ve read all year. This is the kind of book that Image excels at. It’s brimming with charm and an off-kilter vibe, and it’s completely hilarious as well. I can’t recommend it enough.