Advance Review: ‘Shirtless Bear-Fighter’ Issues 1-3: Bear Punch!

Shirtless Bear-Fighter is one of my favorite titles for a comic, possibly ever. You can’t help but smile and that’s exactly what I did. It’s the story of the comic in one title, he’s a man named Shirtless who fights bears. This has to be the easiest comic book to explain to someone ever. You know what you’re getting into, you know what you’re about to read, and it will still surprise you. That’s how I felt by the end of reading the first three issues. Prepare yourselves for an unusual but wonderful article here. Sit back and relax as I dive into the wonderful world of Shirtless Bear-Fighter. You know what you’re getting into but you ultimately only know the half of it. Strap yourselves in for a bear fighting good time and on with the show!

Yes the title says it all but there is way more to it than you’d realize. Shirtless Bear-Fighter even surprised me by the time I was done with the three issues.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter #1 Cover

For one thing, this is one of the funniest comics I have read in a long time. Comedy in comics isn’t easy, and Shirtless Bear-Fighter does it with absolute ease. Considering this book is filled with endless Bear puns and more, it works well. Jody LeHeup and Sebastian Girner are two people that make this entire world work. In these three out of the five issues you get an amazing look at how crazy this comic series is. Bears invade Major City and now two government agents have to convince Shirtless to help them out. That’s the basic premise of the book. Yet once Shirtless makes his presence known, it only gets crazier. A hint of what’s to come: Shirtless rides in a Bear Plane. You read that right. There’s even more madness to come and you’ll love every second of it.

The two agents, Burke and Silva even have their own twists and turns throughout the three issues. Burke has an especially crazy history that you have to see to believe. Even how Burke tries to get Shirtless to help is a thing of beauty. How the Agents connect to Shirtless is hilarious and out of left field at points but it’s a lot fun to see. Shirtless even reveals quirks himself along the way: shirts are his kryptonite, pancakes are to always be called flapjacks, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now as for the shirt thing, you have to see it to believe it but it all makes sense, trust me. It gets deeper from there too, as the invasion of the city dovetails into more madness. It’s clever and completely and beautifully bonkers.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter #1 Flapjacks

I’m keeping this spoiler free too, as Shirtless Bear-Fighter does have spoilers. Trust me when I say you have to see it to believe it.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter #1 Bear Attack

It is tougher than you’d think to talk about this without spoilers, yet you will all appreciate it more knowing as little as possible. As you may be wondering why the bears are attacking the city, why does Shirtless fight bears, and – trust me – your questions will be answered. There’s even a Hillbilly Warlock which has to be seen to be believed. Your mind takes quite a bit of a beating here but when it comes together it is totally worth it. There is a reason for everything, and by the end of the third issue I was sold on all of the lives of these characters. LeHeup and Girner crafted a non-stop action festival of beautiful madness and comedy and all the characters are a lot of fun. Put it this way, reading these three issues are some of the most joyous fun you will have reading a comic. Embrace it.

Now with all the mind boggling yet beautiful madness of Shirtless Bear-Fighter, the art team of this book gels it together.

The art team for Shirtless Bear-Fighter deserves a lot of props, from the artist to the letterer. I’m going to break format here and talk about the letterer first, Dave Lanphear. Lanphear’s lettering is such a strong part of this comic. As this comic is a big, bold, and wild adventure, the lettering had to match and Lanphear nails it. From the peaceful “Chirp Chirp” of the birds having a rounded friendly look, to the growls of the bears with a rough edgy feel, it all works. Even the normal lettering has this beautiful exaggeration to it that fits it perfectly. That and the lettering for “Bear Punch!” and the rest of the Bear-Attacks were a thing of beauty. Pay attention to all of this and see just why lettering is so important to a comic.

For the rest of this comic, the rest of the art team works well in conveying the tone of this book. Nil Vendell Pallach has a style just exaggerated enough to fit the madness of this story. The Bears in a rage look suitably intense, and Shirtless looks like a wild man. It’s spot on. It’s fast, frantic, and intense action at points too, in between beautifully baffled expressions. The expressions really help this book as it’s all about reactions to the craziness. Another factor here is Michael Spicer’s colors, they’re all bright and fitting to the tale. Yes it has dark moments but really the tone is so brilliantly bonkers that the colors need to be bright. This is ultimately a fun tale and the colors suit the universe.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter is one of the more crazier comics I have read or as I said in the last paragraph, brilliantly bonkers.

Shirtless Bear-Fighter is something you shouldn’t miss. The first issue is released on June 21st, and everyone needs this comic in their lives. If the first three issues are any indication, the entire five issue run should be one amazing story. I hope you all give this a shot so we can have more. Shirtless Bear-Fighter: it’s about a man fighting bears and I am happy to live in a world where this exists. Read it and embrace this beautiful world for yourself starting in June.

Wesley Messer
Wesley Messer
A long time comic book fan, writer on many comic sites and more, and always enjoys finding new stories and worlds to enjoy. With a lot of love for TV, Movies and so on along the way. A true traveler of the Internet Multiverse.