The Hybrid Horror of ‘Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark’ [Exclusive Preview, Interview]
There have been plenty of unexpected hybrids to come out of the world of comics over the years -- I'm looking at you, Frog Thor -- and this Wednesday Ryan Ottley and Jason Howard continue that tradition with the 48-page "Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark," an Image comic imagining two murderous beasts who have gotten terrifyingly mixed up. The 48-page one-shot contains two stories written and drawn by Howard and Ottley respectively, with a prose origin by Robert Kirkman.
ComicsAlliance has an exclusive preview of the book that contains some NSFW violence after the jump, where we also spoke with Ottley and Howard about their dreams of fusing animals and making them fight each other.
ComicsAlliance: You and Jason are both longtime Kirkman collaborators on "Invincible" and "Astounding Wolf-Man," respectively. What was it like to kind of turn the tables and recruit him for the prose side of a project you conceived independently?
Ryan Ottley: There was NO recruitment. Robert forced his way in by saying "I KNOW HOW THEY GOT MIXED UP! I'll write the origin." And Jason and I said "Yes, you may."
Jason Howard: Yeah, he JUMPED at the chance to be involved. I mean really who wouldn't? This is a Bear and Shark comic we are talking about here. Bear and Shark comics are the best kind and there are hardly any being published these days. I was surprised more people weren't approaching us demanding to be involved, but I guess we are secretive that way. I sure am glad now I didn't give Alan Moore my contact info that one time...
CA: Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark effectively star in their own standalone stories, but which one do you think would win in a direct confrontation? Or would they simply team up to battle aliens?
RO: I don't believe in aliens, however I do believe in Bears and Sharks. I'd love to see those two go head to head in a pool but I doubt that's legal. I'd like to look into it though for our release party -- could you check the legalities on that, Jason?
JH: Maybe we could get that one Bear from that one movie where that guy from "30 Rock" pokes it with a stick? That would be pretty cool. I don't know any famous Sharks though. Any I bet there are some life loving activists somewhere that would object to real life Bear Shark battle. I say we keep to the comic versions. And who knows, a Bear and Shark sequel comic might be cool, maybe they both can fly and battle birds. The possibilities are endless.
CA: Was reference material important in nailing your respective versions of two of nature's most vicious predators? Did you kick back to any nature documentaries to nail bear or shark poses and ensure authenticity?
RO: Well, I'd like to say I do a lot of research before each project. I'd sound cool if I could say I took a boat trip off the West Coast and did some scuba diving, because really the best way to draw a shark is to swim with them and try to get inside the mind of a Shark, see how they move. But the truth is I tried to draw a shark straight from my mind but I couldn't do it. I just couldn't get the jaw right. I googled a couple sharks, did some sketches, then I was good to go. It's in no way accurate or anything but I just wanted some basic knowledge about Sharks and go from there.
JH: I filled a couple sketch book pages with Bear drawings based on photos. And to get in the mood I really tried to think like a bear. But then I kept wanting to go steal picnic baskets and eat honey all the time, so I decided to just think like a comic book artist and it all worked out.
CA: If you could pick one celebrity to read "SB&GZ," who would you pick?
RO: I'd probably choose Robert Kirkman. He said he looked at the drawings but didn't have time to read it. I just would like him to read it, to be proud of his artists getting their writing feet wet. Oh well, an artist can dream.
JH: I think Ryan has a pretty unrealistic dream. I would prefer something more likely to actually happen. Like having Robert Rodriguez read it, like it and decide to make an awesome violent double feature movie based on it.
CA: We've read that the project stemmed from the two of you riffing on some crazy concepts and trying to outdo each other at HeroesCon 2008. "Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark" won out, of course, but were there any stray concepts left on the cutting room floor that you might want to explore down the road?
RO: No, but we have had talks recently about doing more one-shots. We'll see, still not sure if we want to touch on anymore mixed-up animals but "Sea Lion" does sound promising. Just a Lion under the sea.
JH: I was thinking about "Machine Gun Tiger," but I don't think it has quite the same appeal.