13 May, 2013

Review: Detective Honey Bear by Alex Zalben and Josh Kenfield

I'm a big fan of the curiosity comic. You know, the books that you can't quite believe came out. Sam and Max, the original and revived Angel and the Ape, Cereal Killers... maybe even 3 Geeks. Comics that don't quite fit any particular mold but keep you entertained. Add Detective Honey Bear to that list. I discovered it through a free issue offering on comiXology and immediately ordered the second volume. Apparently this was a 2012 Kickstarter intended to fund three issues, the last of which may or may not ever see print. At two issues for a buck it's well worth checking out.

This is an all ages comic (I know!) with a slight noir feel. It's a send up of the mystery series where the detective drags out the answer with an endless trail of partially false clues before finally declaring the solution. Honey Bear's partner is a step behind him all through the book. Exasperated, overworked and far from stupid, he's forced to play the straight man to Honey Bear's need for drama. Detective Honey Bear has enunciation issues that make sense for the character but may cause a young reader to stumble. I could have done without the obligatory scat joke in each issue, but the younger market loves being repulsed so it's probably a smart inclusion. It's a little bit Scooby Doo, a little bit 1950's television. I was completely charmed. (The kids are still working on figuring out what Honey Bear is saying, but they have trouble with Donald Duck and Carl Banks did just fine.)

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