Hermes Press takes a dip into the world of original content with the publication of “Lions,Tigers And Bears – Volume 3”, a completely new story in the award winning series by author Mike Bullock. Hermes, primarily known for its selection of library edition reprints of comic strips (The Phantom, Buck Rogers, Steve Canyon, Dark Shadows) and popular culture books (007, Supermarionation), is actively preparing to expand into the original graphic novel and comics market and even did a series of talent search interviews with aspiring artists and inkers at the recent San Diego Comic Con.
What It Is….
LT&B follows the adventures of Joey Price & Courtney Donlolley through a dreamworld where their collection of stuffed animals come to life to guide and protect them against creepy things that lurk under the bed or live in the closet. In this newest story Joey learns a serious lesson about being careful what you wish for. Joey’s ire at Courtney’s cousin, the taunting Beth, finds him wishing the Beasties would get her. When they do, he finds himself responsible for her rescue. Over course of the story the children, aided by their nocturnal companions including Ares the white tiger and Minerva the leopardess, come head to head with the toothsome monster Grillus and a group of evil pirates led by Scurvy. They also encounter the ghost of Captain Greybeard and his skeleton crew. The volume is rounded out by two Bullock scripted stories illustrated by Dan Hipp and Adam Van Wyck, which give shorter peeks into Joey’s night world of beasties and guardians.
Heralded by a dramatic Mike Ploog cover, the four chapter book is not so scary that children around 6 years of age can’t join the fun. Consider it the equivalent of a good old Disney style bump in the night. It’s no spoiler to say the good guys win, at least for now. The writing is much more literate than the standard cartoon fare found on cable TV these days and a nice introduction to the concept of graphic novels for the early reader. Parents and grandparents who may have previously suffered through some cringe-worthy juvenalia will appreciate this read-along as Bullock manages to infuse a layer of adult themes into the story as well.
The interior panel art by Michael Metcalf is beautifully rendered and scrumptiously colored. A favorite panel of mine casts Grillus and his beasties in a tableaux that approximates Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s iconic “Washington Crossing the Delaware”. I love sly little touches like that.
For those who want to catch up with the L,T & B mythos, Hermes Press also offers the previous stories in two equally nice volumes. Along the way Bullock’s stories deal with life lessons of self confidence, taking responsibility for your actions, and even the loss of loved ones. These books are keepers that I believe will find a place in the “life libraries” of the young people they should be gifted to.