Family Comic Friday: Bear; A Preview
Writer: Ben Queen
Artist: Joe Todd-Stanton
Published by Archaia
Bear is a guide dog. From a family of police dogs, all Bear has ever wanted to do is serve. Overlooked by the police academy, it seems that Bear will never achieve his dream to helps others. The puppy finally gets his chance when Bear is paired with his blind master, Patrick. Unfortunately, Bear’s mission is seriously compromised when he suddenly one day loses his sight.
Afraid to not be able to be a guide dog any more, a panicked Bear runs away from home. Hearing of a miracle lying in the woods beyond his home, Bear wanders alone seeking a way to regain his sight and runs into another bear. The grizzly kind.
Now the unlikely pairing of Bear and bear run amok seeking to save the guide dog’s sight while hopefully being reunited with owner Patrick. It’s a comedy of errors that evolves into the self-discovery that being blind means that one can see just as well with their other senses!
Bear was one of the most beautiful books I have read. The way Joe Todd-Stanton paints these ethereal displays of how the blind pup sees the world with his hearing, touch, taste and smell was so magnificent.
For instance, there’s a scene in which Bear hears a choirs in a nearby cathedral. The imagery of what Bear imagines this setting to look like filled my mind with bellows of organ pipes and voices of angelic singers. Todd-Stanton doesn’t use any sound effects for this scene. But I could hear volumes thanks to his wondrous art!
Ben Queen’s story is just as superb as Joe Todd-Stanton’s art. I must confess however that when my editor asked me to review this book I balked. I’ve been burned by promising projects starring animals that end up having some tragic death of a beloved furry character. SPOILER- I can attest that no animals were seriously harmed in the making of this book.
Bear is an original graphic novel that the whole family will fall in love with. It’s got humor, drama, and above all else- heart! The message of perseverance and overcoming personal challenges is a story that will resonate with any and all! There’s even a little bit of romance between a couple of characters. Nothing mushy. But it does help make for the perfect ending.
It’s a real shame that this book isn’t available in a format for the visually impaired. This would be such an inspiring story for a child dealing with blindness. However, if a young reader with sight has a family member or friend that is experiencing the effects of vision loss, Bear is the perfect introduction into that person’s day-to-day life with the disability. I feel you really get a chance to experience life as a person with blindness thanks to the artwork especially.
This is one of those rare stories that you want to know more with a sequel. But I think if you added more to Bear and Patrick’s story, you’d ruin how perfect it is. I think we definitely have another nominee for all ages graphic novel of the year!
Bear will debut in August, 2020. It’s currently available for pre-order now! Help a struggling comic shop recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and order a copy today!
For more Family Comic Friday and other reviews, check out my blog: Madman with a Book!
One of the Best All-Ages Graphic Novels of 2020!