Cold Cut Distribution's Feature Spotlight #21 - February 1997
Publisher: Belfax Studio
Story & Art: Ken Harrison
Cvr Price: $2.95
So one day you're goofing off with your friends, when you find a dying old
man in a BMW who hands you a thick book and a bag of gold, gasps out some
instructions about delivering his ring to another man, and then - ZAP! The
next thing you know, you're all standing in a big field far from any sign of
civilization - and before too long one of your friends gets kidnapped by some
marauding gremlins, and you get turned into some sort of walking, talking,
bear-man... what the locals call an "Ursulan."
Your remaining friend keeps using the book, hoping that one of the "magic
spells" inside will get you all back home safely... but nothing seems to be
working, and instead things just keep getting more complicated!
Good thing you've still got your sense of humor...
Ken has a knack for humorous fantasy and a premise rife with both mystery
and adventure - why did the gang end up here? Who was the dying man?
How will they get back? And can they get back?
Strong plotting and solid world-building has given us two main sets
of characters to follow around: Lisa and the people she ends up with after
being kidnapped and sold to a Baron, and Pen and Steve (now turned into an
Ursulan) and their new companions on their mission to find Lisa. Both sets
are fascinating, and the array of supporting players is both varied and
fleshed out, from the master slaver the boys meet
to the servants of the Baron who Lisa runs into. Entertaining, action-filled,
with an underlying mystery behind it all - all of the ingredients that made
Bone such a hit. But where Bone is more of a fantasy-mystery, Steviebear
tends more towards a quest-mystery, as there's more purpose behind Ken's characters' travels.
Ken has a wonderfully lively style, fluid and kinetic, capturing motion and
emotion equally well. Backgrounds are non-intrusive but filled with details,
and the inking shows a solid command of shadow and anatomy - overall, excellent job!
Fans of Bone should lap this one up, as should readers of other medieval-style
fantasy stories, like Thieves & Kings and Replacement God. Fans of "furry"
books like Furrlough and Shanda should check this out, as should those who
fondly recall the old "Dungeons & Dragons" TV show. Readers of Joel Rosenberg's
Guardians of the Flame books, and especially Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger
books should really get a kick out of this series. Fabulous, funny, fantastic --
Steviebear has nowhere to go but up!
If you like Steviebear, take a look at:
Cold Cut Distribution
220 N Main St. - Salinas, CA 93901 - (831) 751-7300