|Original review author:||SinisterTwist|
|Webcomic name:||Bear Nuts|
|Start Date||August 2008|
|Reviewer's opinion:||5 stars|
|Positives:||Good artwork, nice storylines, updates regularly|
|Negatives:||Bears don't talk in real life (I don't really have any negatives)|
Story and Plot
Bear Nuts is about a group of dysfunctional bears at a discount zoo. The bears each have a name that describes their overall demeanor and outlook on life. You have Prozac, the leader bear who has to take an enormous amount of sedatives each day or risk reverting to an incredibly aggressive bear capable of tearing the others apart. You also have characters such as Evil, whose sole purpose is to irritate and sabotage everything in the zoo, as well as Tanked, who spends most of his day drinking and well… being tanked.
The plots are pretty simplistic. The bears have an adventure, finish it, then move on to the next plot arc. So far there aren't any big plot arcs, although some tiny plot points (such as Evil getting an ear tag) do extend over the other arc for good continuity. If one of the bears hurts themselves, you can expect to see them in a tiny cast or animal cone for a few strips.
The comedy in this series is pretty good, and while it isn't something you'd show to a small child, it does have a pretty wide appeal. Teenagers and adults can easily get into this comic.
This is one of the rare comics where the artwork has started out as excellent. Not only do you get a high quality strip from the get-go, but it is in color as well. Over the years the artwork has changed slightly as Acton got more used to drawing her characters and refined the strip, but the artwork has always been fantastic, resembling something between a Saturday morning cartoon, Yogi Bear, and Happy Tree Friends.
What makes the comic so much fun is that there's no huge plot arcs sweeping over the entire comic, no long extended drama, and every arc is pretty self contained. Sure, there's some tension between the characters, but Acton manages to avoid falling into the "omg, we're going to emphasize this beyond what it should be" category that tends to plague many strips. The character interaction manages to be very natural and organic. Nothing feels forced about the interactions between the characters.
The stories are pretty good, never going overboard and never being drawn out longer than necessary. If I calculate correctly, you can expect two story arcs a year, each of which will be wrapped up cleanly and neatly. If the comic updated more, we could probably expect more arcs but concessions do have to be made for the artist's personal life. Plus it must be said that Acton has never missed a promised update day that I can remember, so the once or twice a week updates are pretty reasonable. (She might have missed one, but she was giving birth.)
This has to be my favorite webcomic right now. It is one of the four comics I check daily and it is one of the VERY few that I have actually purchased the merchandise for. I have to admit, I'm pretty stumped as to why none of the indie comic houses haven't snapped Acton up or why we aren't seeing an animated series of Bear Nuts on Adult Swim. Her work is consistently good, she updates when she says she will, she's good with her fans, and she manages to juggle her busy life with her comic. As far as webcomics go, she should be given a trophy or a medal. She's one of the very few webcomics out there that manages to do all of this AND isn't a complete jerk about it. I'm not going to name names, but there's at least one webcomic out there where the creator brags about how s/he never misses an update and looks down on webcomics that don't have a team of people who can do their work for them. (Hey, if you are doing it by yourself, you are limited as to what you can reasonably accomplish, so I generally don't mind a skipped update day now & then.)
If you want a good quality webcomic AND no drama, then this is a good comic for you!