At least year’s Thought Bubble, Madius Comics released an eleven-page preview of BUN, their new all-ages series. We were pretty excited about it in our review, pointing out that “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”, and that “Sambrook proves that he doesn’t need to be co-writing alongside Robin Jones in order to tell an enjoyable story.”
Well, fresh from a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, the full-length first issue is finally set for release at this year’s Thought Bubble, and we’re thrilled to confirm that things only get better with the addition of the fourteen extra pages.
For those of you who missed our review last year (shame on you!), here’s a quick summary: Bun is a rabbit. A big, big rabbit in a big, big world. In fact, he’s so much larger than his brothers and sisters that he finds himself cast out of the warren, forced to travel to the big city to make a new life for himself. However, when a chance encounter with some mean-spirited bullies on the train prompts Bun to unleash his impressive bully-whupping skills in emphatic fashion, he finds himself drawn into the murky world of shady fight promoters and exploitative agents .
As strong as the opening of this rabbit-based coming-of-age series is, with a hilarious training montage and Bun’s less-than-hilarious first fight both sure to delight and shock new and old readers alike. The training sequence where Bun tries to pick up the finer points of Valleytudo are brilliant, showcasing the inherent niceness of the character as his new “boss” tries to teach him the finer points of the fighting arts. It’s during these moments where the charming silliness of both Sambrook’s writing and Packwood’s artwork really shines through, and I defy anyone to witness Bun’s impressive kicking skills and not have a smile on their face.
That said, as silly as it undoubtedly is, I absolutely love the way this book manages to be funny and accessible without ever feeling like it’s dumbing things down for its readers. Sure, kids will find a lot to like here, and there’s an inherent sweetness and charm about our loveable lunk as he silently and innocently makes his way through this rather unpleasant situation, but this is a book clearly designed to work on a lot of different levels, belying its cutesy, cartoony exterior.
Y’see, it’s not all fluffy bunny tails and uplifting “Ugly Duckling” shenanigans here, and there’s definitely a subtle, slightly darker undercurrent flowing through the book. I mean, we’re not talking Horrere-level darkness, but there’s a slightly uncomfortable sense of realism to the violence and aggression that most purely child-focused comics would likely shy away from. Plus, as the story unfolds, it becomes obvious that Bun is being manipulated in a lot of different ways, which is a little hard to watch for such an effortlessly endearing character.
I’ve always been a massive fan of books that don’t fit comfortably into a traditional pigeon-hole, and with its mixture of heart-melting giant bunny sweetness and eyebrow-raising sports movie- action, The Incredible Bun fits that description perfectly. An all-ages comic that will actually appeal to all ages, Bun is a book with a surprising amount of depth and has the potential, when all’s said and done, to end up as the glittering jewel at the centre of the Madius Comics crown.