Review: Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark #1

Published on June 26th, 2010

Never in my life have I seen a comic so ridiculous in title, yet quite so exceptional in content. Believe it or not, but this comic had me in fits of laughter for the majority. ‘Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark’… just say it once outloud and you’d think it would fall flat on it’s face in the dirt and have no chance of ever reeling in a single decent review, because it sounds so unbelievably random and stupid. Well, yes. But also, no. I thought it would suck terribly as well, but surprisingly it was the opposite of that. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot.

Combined with the ridiculous title (which you’ll either be drawn to, or be driven away from) and the fact that it’s a one shot priced with an undeniably hefty$4.99 price tag, it may have repelled a substantial amount of readers on that basis alone. Which upsets me, as this is definetly worth reading if you’re looking for a break from your mainstream events!

SEA BEAR GRISSLY SHARKAs mentioned, this is a great one shot. I personally believe that as opposed to another ‘$4.99 comic’ such as Batman #700, you really get a bang for you buck with this. In the grand ‘Image Comics’ fashion, you get 50 pages of strong story with no adverts.

This one shot is split into two stories, as I’m sure anyone could have guessed. One story about Sea Bear, written and drawn by Jason Howard (Astounding Wolf-Man), and a story about Grizzly Shark written and drawn by Ryan Ottley (Invincible). There is a preface written in prose by Robert Kirkman on the second page in, which goes about explaining the origins of both Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark.

I have high appreciation for this comic because both creators have written and drawn their stories completely on their own, and pulled them off very well. Which as I’ve said before, is not often something which can be done by just anyone. Both Howard and Ottley are masters of gore, so be warned, this is one bloody and gorey comic book! The artwork is incredible from both Howard and Ottley in both their stories, it makes me fall head over heels in love with both their styles all over again. I also praise it so much because neither stories are coloured, they are just black and white. Plain and simple. It is gorgeous and doesn’t need colours at all. Their graphic talent and unique styles are enough alone to make me feel content, especially seen as though it looks as if these are pages that have been taken straight out of the artists’ personal sketch books, what with the hand written (not typed) wording, for example. Everything is original in the artwork, nothing has been formulated.

There is a lot of pleasure to be gained also from the actual written side of both stories in this comic. Although they are similar in the way they both take heavy influence from films such as ‘Jaws’ and ‘Jurassic Park’, they are both told with different perspectives on the genre. Jason Howard’s tale of the Sea Bear is a very serious story of revenge and brutality, whereas Ryan Ottley’s story of the Grizzly Shark takes a more slapstick and comical approach, and is absolutely hilarious!

I had no idea that Howard and Ottley were equally remarkable at writing wonderful short-stories as they are renown artists. Ryan Ottley especially! His story made me laugh an awful lot and I enjoyed the heck out of his sense of humour, and lo the humour was intentional, not fluked! Ottley managed to write and draw a fantastically humourous story, whilst keeping it all wrapped up in the sense that he didn’t let it become too silly that it would fall apart and lose control of itself. No, it was well contained and handled to perfection! Jason Howard’s story was more serious, but still delivered in it’s outrageously bloody and violent action scenes. His story of the Sea Bear was full of moments where you just wish you could hang out with the protagnist and be awesome super-bionic (yes, Howard’s story also includes bionic humans, just like Aaron Stack -Machine Man from Marvel!), bear-killing buddies!

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I haven’t really told you what’s going on in either story with regards to a plot. Why? Well I think it’s obvious, you just need to look to the massive title on the front cover of your comic, and there you go. What would the fun be in spoiling a one shot. Read and enjoy.

As much as I enjoyed both stories for their great artwork and different style of story I must give my final praises to Ryan Ottley’s tale, which really made my day! If you give this one shot a chance, you won’t regret it. If you do regret it, then tough I suppose, you probably aren’t much fun to hang around with.

Rob Andrews