In Review: Death and the Bear – A Modern Fable by Paul Tonner

Death and the Bear - A Modern Fable by Paul Tonner - Cover

Created by Paul Tonner
24 pages – Full Colour

The Story: A bear is living his day to day in the snow. But he comes across a human with a shotgun. The man fires as the bear attacks. What will happen to the bear and what decisions will he make? Give into death or take revenge or maybe both?

Death and the Bear - A Modern Fable by Paul Tonner

The Review: Released at Glasgow Comic Con this weekend, it’s hard to give the game away on this one. I really enjoyed Paul’s last comic Nom: The Demon Eater but this, as he admits in his email to me, is an altogether different fish.

It is as always a beautifully illustrated comic, but Paul takes a different tack in his approach to the art here. It’s done with a simpler style, often one or two images per page that go a long way to give the creatures and landscapes a sense of power and a real sense of setting.

Overall, this is a beautifully designed comic full of textures in the starkness and brutality of the barren nature it takes place within. It is a quick read, but a very satisfying one.

Death and the Bear - A Modern Fable by Paul TonnerPaul uses the voices of the bear of the title and a crow to weave the story and the decisions his characters make. They are like a pair of folk story narrators who are granted iconically emphatic lines full of pragmatic and sad directness. It looks at first glance like a strangely ferocious children’s’ book but has more depth than that implies.

The story is done with some lovely space and air between images, words and pages that make it feel like you are watching a (morality) play unfold. A real change of pace for Paul.

As a lifelong vegetarian, this was a welcome read – but I’ll let you discover why…

Death and the Bear – A Modern Fable is available to buy online here direct from Paul, and find out more about the creator at www.paultonner.co.uk or buy his art and comics at  and follow him on Twitter @HeavyVoodo

Many thanks for reading.

Antony Esmond

Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer - his hips don't lie.



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