Grin and Bear It
illustrated by Jeremy Owen
Jeremy Owen, 2010
by Mike Buzzelli
Jeremy Owen’s “Burly – Beefy Pinups with a Geeky Twist” is a soft-core pinup gallery of large hairy men in Betty Page poses. Imagine cheesecake after the models have eaten all of the cheesecake! Owen, by his own admission, avoids the stereotypical pictures of bearish men, the policeman, the firefighter, and other manly tropes in favor of more whimsical sci-fi fantasy iconography. For instance, picture a goateed blonde man with a Captain Kirk shirt on giving the Vulcan “Live Long and Prosper” peace sign. Another image is the “Attack of the 50 Foot Bear,” with a shirtless portly man attacking Cleveland or some other hamlet. Perhaps it’s the artist’s hometown of Al-bear-querque?
“Burly” is a compilation of guitar-wielding rock stars, space-men, referees, masked Lucha Libre wrestlers, and assorted bizarre characters, all scantily clad. Thankfully, there are no full-on nudie shots, but that doesn’t make it tasteful. It is hilarious, however (tongue planted firmly in chubby cheek).
In truth, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Owen celebrates the oversized with his artful drawings. The overly-proportioned protagonists are lovingly rendered. It is an affectionate love-letter to the larger man. “Burly” is light amuse-bouche of beef, whimsical and entertaining. A reader can leaf through it in a New York minute, but still enjoy its contents.
Owen’s Burly Press website is a stitch. The Burly Links page is chock full of the artist’s favorite comics, author/artist websites, and other miscellany, including stuff like “Jessie Geesaman – the funniest lesbian I know,” and “Ian Cooke – my amazingly talented musician friend who needs to be famous.” Note: there is a shout out to this very website.
With comics like Steve MacIsaac’s “Shirtlifter” and Ed Luce’s “The Wuvable Oaf,” the bear community is getting its comic’s due. “Burly” would slide nicely onto the same shelf (for the comic collector who has everything, including a beer gut).
If you are a bear or you like them and you don’t like to be bogged down with a lot of reading, this is the comic for you.
Editors' Note - Thanks for reading! See you here in seven for a commentary 35 years in the making! - PKA
Screenwriter and stand-up comedian Mike Buzzelli has performed at The Comedy Store, The Ice House and various other locations throughout Southern California.
Mike Buzzelli's four-issue comic book miniseries, NORMAL, will be published by Warpton later this year.
He is a former Third Place Winner in the One In Ten Gay and Lesbian Screenplay Competition, and a former runner-up in Writers Digest Competition, Venice Arts Screenwriting Competition, America's Best Screenplay Competition, and the Wisconsin Screenwriting Competition.
He has optioned two screenplays, both comedies, to independent production companies.
BURLY #1 © 2010 Jeremy Owen. Review © 2011 Mike Buzzelli.
Prism Comics promotes the works of the LGBT community in comics. It does not implicitly endorse any other material or products associated with those works. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s).