Publisher: Madius Comics
Writer: Michael Sambrook
Artist: Rosie Packwood
Letterer: Rob Jones
Release Date: 23rd September 2017 (Thought Bubble)
Bun is a rabbit. A big, big rabbit in a big, big world. He’s also the star of the latest all-ages offering from Madius Comics, the first issue of which goes on sale next week at Thought Bubble in Leeds.
This opening preview chapter, beautifully illustrated by Rosie Packwood, introduces us to Bun as he quickly finds out that he isn’t quite like his bunny brothers and sisters. Realising just how different he is, he exiles himself from his family, heading off to find his own way and getting into trouble almost immediately.
As a side note, it actually took me a little while to figure out that this world also features other anthropomorphic animals, which probably explains the fairly nonplussed reactions that the giant bunny gets in the early stages of his journey, rather than “aaaaaaaaarmaghad a mutant animal!” Anyway…
Without wanting to slight Mr Sambrook in any way, Packwood’s artwork is the unquestioned star of the show here, running the whole gamut from cute and fluffy baby bunnies to bone-crunching hand-to-hand combat. The character design for the lumbering, awkward, heavily eyebrowed Bun is also a thing of beauty, and the pages flow smoothly and intuitively, with some rich colours that set the scene without overpowering the story.
Sambrook mixes humour and emotion into his narrative, never dwelling too heavily on either. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, nor does it feel like it’s trying to be, with Sambrook instead opting for a restrained approach for our endearing rabbit’s first steps into the world. There are a few gaps in the narrative that feel a little uneven, like blanks we’re supposed to be filling in ourselves, such as the whole “half-breed” slur that’s directed at Bun in the early pages. I mean, there are plenty of talking animals in this world, but also real animals living in burrows and the like, and it’s not really made clear just what the societal setup is. And while it’s perhaps overthinking what is essentially an all-ages story about a giant rabbit, it still felt a little jarring to me.
It’s also worth mentioning that, as a preview issue, it’s a little on the short side, clocking in at just eleven pages. That said, Sambrook manages to pack a lot of exposition and interesting character work into the limited space, providing us with an intriguing introduction to Bun and the world he inhabits. Oh, and the price point also supports the limited page count, with the first chapter costing just £2.
The identity of the story’s narrator remains a mystery, and it’s clear that their eventual reveal is going to play a big part in the story as it unfolds. Speaking of which, the final pages, which see our giant rabbit crossing paths with a shady fight promoter, give a fairly sizeable hint at just where the story is headed, and with more Bun goodness planned for 2018, the groundwork has been laid here for what should be a charming, enjoyable story.
Featuring an interesting hook and some lively, upbeat artwork, Bun is just the right amount of weird, and serves as a worthy addition to the rapidly expanding all-ages wing of the Madius Comics mansion. Packwood instantly cements herself as one to watch, and Sambrook proves that he doesn’t need to be co-writing alongside Robin Jones to tell an enjoyable story. Lovely stuff.
Bun #1 goes on sale at next weekend’s Thought Bubble Festival, and will be available shortly afterwards on the on the Madius Comics Bigcartel Page.