Earlier this week, Dennis Culver emailed me to tell me that he had a new comic coming out, and when I found out what the premise was, I sent him back an email that was literally just all-caps cussing. It's called Codename: Ursa Minor, and the high concept is that there's a government agent from the height of the Soviet Union who has the power to shrink down and become a tiny little grizzly bear, because a tiny little grizzly bear is the perfect assassin.

And if you're not cussing right now, then folks, I don't know what to tell you. I can barely even handle that idea.


Ursa Minor, Dennis Culver and Denis Medri
Ursa Minor, Dennis Culver and Denis Medri / Stela


The first chapter of the story hit the Stela app this week, and while it's pretty easy to coast on a high concept that involves tiny little murder bears, there's also an impressive amount of world-building done in a really short span of time.

In that first bite-sized installment, Culver and his collaborator Denis Medri explore a world of weird science, governmental supervillainy, and forgotten labs that have been sunk to the bottom of the ocean. There's a lot to get a handle on, and that's even before we see a man shrink into his tiny bear form, all presented with the beautiful art style that's made me a fan of Medri's for years.

While the concept speaks for itself, I asked Medri for a comment on how the project came together (once I was done cussing at him):

I originally pitched Codename: Ursa Minor to Dark Horse but it wasn't the right fit for them at the time. Once [former Dark Horse editor] Jim Gibbons joined Stela he invited me to pitch them and so I put Ursa back into the mix. Jim knew the material already and it was approved almost immediately. I had been a fan of Denis Medri's work for a long time and I knew he'd put together some great character designs.

Once Medri was on board we both worked together on laying out the book so it would fit both the Stela format and an eventual print version. Medri handled the color on the book as well and I feel this work is next level for him as an artist. I couldn't be happier about working with him.

Codename: Ursa Minor will be serialized for twelve chapters every Tuesday on the Stela app.


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