Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer/Artist: Mike Kunkel
Release Date: 23rd April 2014
With the first new Herobear and the Kid series in over ten years, Mike Kunkel has effortlessly recaptured the same understated charm and overall sense of childish wonder that made his previous offerings in this Eisner Award-winning franchise such a success. The all-ages premise is escapist fantasy at its finest – a regular boy who is given a toy bear by his grandfather that transforms into a super-powered protector, and who gets to fight all manner of goofy, comical villains? Oh, and his grandfather is actually Santa Claus? Seriously, what’s not to love?
This brand new mini-series features precisely the same whimsical tone and slapstick humour of the previous stories. It isn’t laugh-out-loud funny by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still almost impossible to read without a smile on your face. This latest story sees Tyler and Herobear thrust into the role of protectors as they find themselves looking after their mysterious family butler Henry, who turns out to have more than a few secrets of his own.
The main selling point of this series to me has always been the artwork. Keeping things simple with blacks, whites and reds, Kunkel’s beautiful illustrations draw you in from the moment you look at them, and the cartoonish over-exaggeration of the facial expressions and the character’s movements only adds to the wonderfully child-like tone of the book. The fact that Tyler himself is narrating this story, as with previous stories, is a brilliant choice. We get the impression that this is how he sees the world – and frankly, we could all benefit from trying to see things a little more like him.
The only minor negative I could find about this issue would be Kunkel’s slight over-reliance on exposition in getting the story across. Obviously there needs to be an element of explanation, particularly for newer readers to the series, but I felt too many pages were used up explaining things we already knew (or already should have known), and that the storyline surrounding Henry could have been explained a little more creatively than simply by having him standing and explaining it himself for two pages. These are only minor niggles however, especially when the aforementioned exposition is slotted around such truly beautiful illustrations.
Perfectly capturing the magic and wonder of childhood, Mike Kunkel has done it again here with another utterly charming tale. My only hope is that once this series is finished, we don’t have to wait another decade for the next one.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says