Lions, tigers and bears Volume 1 - Mike Bullock & Jack Lawrence ($12.95, Image): This is a great comic for kids, and is also perfect for adults who enjoy adventure stories about imagination with a strong sense of good and bad in them. There is very little in this book that would be considered 100% new, I know I always say things like that. I don't mean them as a back-handed compliment. I feel compelled to point it out, but what I really mean to say is that I feel the author has taken some things that have been used in various forms, and has spun them into something unique and different. That is good storytelling. The art is pretty terrific animation quality art. It has a very familiar feel to it for the sort of story being told. The characters, especially the animals are just awesome.
The main character is a young boy who lives with his Mom, next door to his Grandmother, and down the street from his best friends. He has had some trouble in the past being spooked at bedtime, and worrying about beasties, so his Grandmother reads to him every night and makes sure that he is safe and protected against the beasties that invariably are lurking around in the shadows, the closet, the usual places.
His Mom has to move to take a better job, and this is causing the boy, Joey, a great deal of worry. His Grandmother gives him a gift to take with him, it is a boxed set of 'Night Pride' Stuffed animals. There are four very cool looking 'great cat' stuffed animals, each with their own name and designation, like Ares, warrior of the night, etc. There are instructions on the box that suggest that stuffed animals are an extension of the tradition of guardians of children that have been carrying out that duty since time began. It states that one pride member should be set at each corner of the bed. It doesn't take long for that to get tested, and for Joey to learn just how real his new friends are.
This is a story heavy on imagination as a powerful force that can be harnessed and used by those young enough to still believe in such fanciful things. It isn't too heavy handed. It avoids overdoing it in a number of places, and reads as a fast paced adventure about friends and heroism and imagination. I won't spoil the rest of the story, but this is good, fun, all ages stuff. If you have kids, pick it up, at least check the library for it.