Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stuff I Read: “Bear Nuts” by Alison Acton

Remember the Care Bears?  Cute cuddly (sickly sweet) bears with symbols on their tummies which indicated their temperament and role?  Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Grumpy Bear, and so on?

(C’mon, admit it.  You remember them.  You just wish you didn’t!  You also remember Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony.)

Alison Acton’s comic Bear Nuts asks the question: “What other iconic bears were out there which we never saw on the cartoon?  The ones with less (market-to-)kid-friendly personalities?”

The “About” page for the comic glosses over this origin, saying just “As one of the largest exhibits at the Discount Zoo, (in both size and number of inhabitants) the bears attract a lot of attention… something none of them are happy about.  Between gawking adults, jeering children, and their own rather profound personality clashes, it’s a wonder the bears can get through each day without maiming each other… well, most days.”

With characters like Gay (with a lavender rhino, a barely known gay symbol), Evil (with an inverted pentagram), Prozac (with a pill), Tanked, Death, Nerd, and Vanity all sharing the same exhibit at the zoo, Acton has the makings of a fun, emotional, explosive story.  Currently posting a couple times a week, Bear Nuts is a perfect blend of cute and twisted.

Two collected volumes, plus prints, sketches, original art, and merchandise are available from the website and from Acton’s partner companies.  (I want a Gay Bear t-shirt!  One of those “sports” design shirts with a white chest and light yellow sleeves and collar, and a pic of Gay on the tummy as though I were “Gay Bear” Bear would be way cool.  Bet Evil would sell even better.)

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