Lions Tigers and Bears Volume Three was solicited in last month’s Previews and should hit stores by the first week of June. Lions Tigers and Bears Volume One and Two are solicited in the new format with the current Previews. So it seemed like a great time to catch up with our old friend Mike Bullock.
First Comics News: For readers who haven’t picked up the comic before, what is Lions, Tiger’s and Bears about?
Mike Bullock: Lions, Tigers and Bears is a story of a little boy named Joey whose stuffed animals come to life to protect him from the monsters in his closet, known as the Beasties. Soon after realizing his stuffed animals (four big cats known as the Night Pride), are more than just simple toys, Joey finds himself thrown headlong into a war between the Stuffed Animal Kingdom and the Beasties. In the first adventure, Joey has to save Courtney Donlolley, heir to the line of humans who create the magic stuffed animals; without Courtney, there will be no new Stuffed Animals…
1st: With a new publisher and new format, is Lions, Tigers and Bears being marketed more as children’s book?
MB: Not necessarily. We’re trying to target the same people who enjoy Pixar movies: the family. Lions, Tigers and Bears has always enjoyed a very diverse audience, from four year olds to 96 year olds, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
1st: This time out Lions, Tigers and Bears is an original graphic novel instead of a mini-series, how does the change in format change the story telling?
MB: It really doesn’t. I’ve always written the stories to exist as four issue series, with complete begin, middle and ends in each volume. Now, there’s just four chapters in the graphic novel, just as there is with the previous trade paperbacks that collect the single comic book issues.
Moving forward with volume IV, we’re continuing to use the four chapter model, but the chapters will have a few more pages providing a longer full story than we’ve seen in the past.
1st: How long has passed between volume 2 and 3 for the characters?
MB: Very little time, maybe a few months at the most. Volume II took place in the late winter months and volume III is in the early spring.
1st: So what is the story about?
MB: Growing up, and staying young.
1st: How is Joey doing these days?
MB: When volume III opens, Joey is more sure of himself than he was in the first two volumes, but with that new found confidence comes a little bit of overconfidence, as he learns to walk the fine line between the two.
1st: What about Courtney?
MB: Courtney is doing well, still dreaming of being a nurse someday, even though she knows her true calling is to take over for her father and continue the family business.
1st: Who is Grillus?
MB: One of the nastiest Beasties alive. Grillus doesn’t have much in the smarts department, but what he lacks in intelligence, he makes up for in hunger. And he has about 300 teeth to go with it.
1st: I hear there will be additional short stories in the books.
MB: The new books feature four new Lions Tigers and Bears short stories, all written by me with art from Dan Hipp, Adam Van Wyk, Manny Trembley and Matthew
1st: Who is doing the cover?
MB: Legendary artist Mike Ploog and colorist Nick Bell created the cover for Lions Tigers and Bears Volume Three.
1st: What about the reissued covers?
MB: Lions Tigers and Bears Volume One will feature a cover by Jack Lawrence, the unused cover created for the second printing of the first comic. Lions Tigers and Bears Volume Two will feature a cover from Mike Wieringo, the cover originally appeared as the alternate cover for v2 #1.
1st: When are toys coming out?
MB: Hopefully sooner rather than later.
1st: Paramount acquired rights to Lions, Tigers and Bears a while ago, what’s the status of the movie?
MB: The movie is cruising along in the development phase. There are lots of neat things happening that I can’t discuss right now. Ask me again after you see it in theaters. [wink]
1st: Now that we have toys underway and a movie in the works, will we be seeing Lions, Tiger’s and Bears come out more regularly?
MB: Absolutely. We’ve already started work on Volume IV and discussed the rough plot for Volume V. JM DeMatteis is onboard now as series editor, taking the place of original editor Ron Marz and he and I have set the timeline in motion for some rather major events in the Stuffed Animal Kingdom beginning in early 2012.
1st: What makes this so cool no reader should miss Tigers and Bears Volume 3?
MB: It has pirates, monsters, a naval battle, more glimpses of the Kingdom’s history, the Skeleton Crew and more. Plus we meet Courtney’s cousin Beth and Pallo’s sister ‘Thena. All that brought to life by the marvelous artistic skills of Michael Metcalf.
1st: Since it’s an original graphic novel instead of a mini-series, where can fans find it?
MB: All the same places they could find the comics, such as your friendly neighborhood comic shop. If you don’t have access to a comic shop, you can grab a copy at Barnes & Noble or Borders. Most comic retailers also offer online stores, as do the book stores and they can find it on Amazon as well.
1st: Where can fans find you at the San Diego Comic Con?
MB: I’ll be at the Hermes Press booth at SDCC this year, with new LTB tee shirts, posters and other cool stuff, including all three of the new books.