WHAT THE ?

For decades people have enjoyed the comic adventures of BEAR but the recent turn this last while into mindless cartoon violence has had people scratching their heads in wonder.

"What the GIVL happened to BEAR?"

OK, well they don't say "GIVL" but if you look at your keyboard you can clearly see what the letters immediately to the left spell out, either way, you get the point, people were confused.   People wanted an answer.   Some people even wrote!

However before we answer this simple question it will help if we go back in time, to the beginning.   No, silly, not the beginning of time but instead the beginning of BEAR IN SPACE.

It was high school in the fall of 1977 as our aspiring cartoonist met a new friend at his new school, the new friend's name was Barry but everyone simply called him BEAR.

As their friendship grew Gary began to doodle various cartoon faces, all animals, representing each of the people he went to school with.

By the end of that year Gary had quite a Zoo friends and many animal drawings of them to prove it.

Our aspiring cartoonist had also recently become a fan of Science Fiction so the title "BEAR IN SPACE" came to him easily but he was left with what story to tell, what framework to use.

It was the fall of 1978 and a much hyped, very expensive but little watched TV series named BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was on American television.

So in the evenings, after homework and gathered around his family (well... his Mom) he began to draw satires of Battlestar Galactica using his BEAR characters.

These comics were drawn free-hand on 8.5x11 sheets of lined note paper and then passed around at school to Barry and other interested parties and thus came a series of one sheet comics called...

THE ADVENTURES OF BEAR IN SPACE

So prevalent were these comics distributed that soon he was asked to draw a CARTOON's page in the fledgling Junior High School Newspaper, not being a terribly inventive person yet the cartoon starred BEAR and friends but often had guest appearance satires of various teachers in the school, all with a sneaky subversive story line.

The culmination of the high school years was the invitation to draw the INTRODUCTION Pages for each section of his graduation year High School Annual!

So what happened to the comic?

Well, it lasted longer than Battlestar Galactica but following graduation our cartoonist began to tinker with it, to make it work within it's own framework free of direct satire and allowing him draw on a more diverse interest in life.

And as he took more cartooning courses his sense of style changed and as he drew BEAR more the sense of character changed too.

Ultimately the time came when BEAR had grown into his own character, said things with his own voice and developed his own pacing, some things in the comic changed, some things stayed the same, and yes, new people in the cartoonist's life were added to the comic still.

But now BEAR himself had a mission, diverse from his inspiration and yet still similar.

And the ADVENTURES OF BEAR IN SPACE simply became...

BEAR IN SPACE

Yet all this time those who came back to the series wondered... "how did that nice bear I knew become this murderous pirate?"

They wanted the story, they demanded the story, some of them even refused to read any more until the story was told, thus was created URSA MAJOR, the story between the story, a BEAR IN SPACE styling similar to the DARK KNIGHT story of DC Comic's BATMAN.

Soon, even you will understand why...

' ' SOME BEAR's WEREN'T MEANT TO BE NICE ! ' '


Of course life is a balance and from time to time jokes crop up that are just plain cute and completely out of place in the big BEAR universe.

These creep out in a mock-retro format called Lil'Bear where the character's seem to be perrenially stuck in High School, kind of like an animal version of the ARCHIE Comics only with less Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Moose and well let's face it, there's no Archie there either.

Click to read the
COMPLETE BEAR IN SPACE STORY GUIDE

1978 to Present