Writer/Artist/Letterer: Ryan Ottley
Colourist: Ivan Plascencia
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Amelia Wellman
The idea of a shark in the forest might sound vaguely familiar to you. Back in 2010 Ryan Ottley wrote SeaBear & GrizzlyShark, a comic about a bear in the sea and a shark in the forest. He’s back six years later with a standalone GrizzlyShark comic, while Jason Howard (Astounding Wolfman, Trees) is working on a standalone SeaBear comic.
The standalone GrizzlyShark begins simply enough: a father and son are camping in the woods where a shark is suspected to be prowling while three forest shark hunters are heading there to hunt it. When the shark attacks, the story becomes a wash of gore, violence, and cinnamon bear jubilee ice cream.
For a story about a forest shark, this is a lot less funny than I thought it would be. Probably because it’s first and foremost a horror comic. And that’s why I couldn’t get into it. If I hadn’t gone in blind to the story and genre of the piece I might have had a different opinion by the end. As it stands now, GrizzlyShark missed its chance to be hilarious and comes off like gore porn: in your face and over the top with the intent to shock. The characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue dull, and the climax a little anti-climatic. Though there is a GrizzlyShark Returns so maybe it all improves in the second issue.
As far as the art goes, it’s pretty good. A lot of the action is portrayed through heavy movement lines and blood splatters but characters are very expressive and it’s got some nice details where they’re needed. This edition of GrizzlyShark is also colourized and that is something I can compliment without fault. The colours are bold, bright, and actually quite beautiful, even if the subject matter it’s filling in isn’t.
My verdict for GrizzlyShark really depends on the person. Skip it if you didn’t like a single thing that I just described. Wait and see if you’re intrigued. Going into it knowing that it’s a horror comic will probably put you on a better footing than I was when I read it. And if you’re part of the original cult following of the black and white editions, buy it. This colourized version was more or less made for you.