Bear Necessities

Death and the Bear (A Fable) by Paul Tonner

Upon perusing Google maps recently I discovered that I dwelt near to a rather unusual business. To be precise it was a Shamanistic Healing Centre. I had hoped that they would allow me to travel the spirit plane to find a fox spirit or maybe a squirrel to guide me through my next annual review. But it looked like they offer drumming and sweat lodge sessions and stuff like that and I don’t think trips to the spirit plane are guaranteed.

REVENGE, Brother Bear? Revenge is such BAD MEAT…

What has all this to do with comics? Well in Death and the Bear (A Fable) mankind meets the vengeful spirit of a bear. Death and revenge make for some strong storytelling themes. But as the clever crow guide points out “revenge is such bad meat“. As the bear closes in on his prey he has to make a choice.

As a good fable should do, there are lessons to be learnt. In the rage and ego of the bear we can recognise our aspects of ourselves and our society and in the wisdom of the crow we hear of a different way to go forward that might make a better world for our cubs.

The illustration is lovely in this comic, with an effective colour palette that moves from the browns and whites of the hunt in the wilderness to the ethereal greens and blues of the spirit world. My copy, which I picked up at the Edinburgh Comic Art Fair, part of the book festival, also came with a choice of prints and crow is looking at me as I write, hopefully imparting some wisdom.

Get your copy here. Track down the author at


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