Topic: Comic Books - New
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3432:
I met Nat Gertler at the latest Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con as seen in the above right photo. He was kind enough to introduce me to his TPB, 'The Licensable Bear™ BIG BOOK of Fun!
Although the stories re-printed in this TPB had been published in four separate 'floppy' single issue comic books, I had never heard of this comic book series before seeing Nat at this comic con.
Here's what the promotional blurb says the TPB is about:
"Licensable BearTM is a little fella who just wants to be licensed for products. (It's what most cartoon characters exist for, he's just the only one who's honest about it.) Here are dozens of stories featuring the li'l critter, plus guest cameos from heroes Mister U.S. and Liberty Girl, and the very first comic book appearance by Barack Obama! This volume includes all of the stories from the Licensable BearTM comic book series, plus stories created for Many Happy Returns, Wild About Comics, and Liberty Comics. Plus, there are Licensable BearTM's Intellectual Property Insights columns, Licensable BearTM ads, and even the one-and-only Su-do-Licensable BearTM puzzle."
Okay... Sounds like an interesting premise... What's to keeping it from being a one 'trick pony' / one-shot issue?!
Well... It could have been a one-shot comic book, but the creator decided to spice it up a bit with different artists being featured in the multiple stories in each issue!
Issue #1 included art by Rusty Haller, Tone Rodriguez, Mark Dos Santos, and others. I mention these three because I have also met them before, and blogged about them here.
Issue #2 included others that I have heard about, but haven't met, including Eric Erbes, and Ryan Estrada. I have met Dave Lanphear, who also has art in this issue.
Nat didn't stop there. Issues #3 & 4 included art by Hugo Salvatierra, Nimrod Reshef, Sarah Gertler, Jett Atwood, Jim MacQuarrie, and Lonny Chant.
So Nat was sharp enough to realize that different art approaches to this concept would keep the readers into coming back for the next issue. The only problem was... That issue #4 became 'Sold Out'. Why? Well it is the first appearance of Senator Obama!
Here's the story on that:
Is Licensable Bear™ issue 4 the first comic book appearance of Barack Obama?
To the best of our knowledge, yes. The issue hit stores on July 17th, 2007, more than a year before the Obama appearance in Savage Dragon, IDW’s Presidential Material biography, or any of the ensuing appearances.
How rare is Licensable Bear™ issue 4?
The print run was only 1050 copies. There was a special second printing done as a fund raiser for The Hero Initiative, which was only 60 copies (50 signed-and-numbered copies, plus 10 Artist Proof copies) and has a different cover.
Is the character actually Barack Obama, or just some unnamed politician?
The character is specifically refered to as “Senator Obama”, and is seen on two pages. A couple of other then-candidates for president are mentioned in the story (Clinton, Guiliani), but unlike Obama, they are not seen.
Was the inclusion of Obama a publicity stunt?
No. The inclusion of Obama was not promoted at the time this was published (although there was some promotion of the election theme of the story). When the issue was published, Obama was 19 points behind Clinton in the polls, so he wasn’t even the probable Democratic contender, much less the likely winner of the presidency.
There's a lot more than just the 1st appearance of Obama in comics in this TPB compilation. A lot more...
Including pages from 'Many Happy Returns' Issue 2008, 'Wild About Comics' Issue 1, 'About Comics' 2005 Holiday Card, and 'Bits And Also Pieces'.
You know, this was a pretty good concept, and I found the TPB to be a fun read. I did read it over several nights, which kept the adventures 'fresh', as the main 'theme' of the stories was to get licensed and make $$$$$$.
Thus my comic book grade for this TPB is a VERY FINE PLUS (VF+) 8.5 out of a possible 10.0 comic book grading scale.
Here's the info you will need to find the book:
Paperback: 144 pages
For easy purchase, here's a link to The Licensable BearTM Big Book of Officially Licensed Fun!
Nat's own web site for this concept can be found at LicensableBearTM.com.
Here is the credits in comics for Nat as seen in the Grand Comics Database. I don't see this series of comics being shown in the credits, so there may be others as well.
I do not see a Facebook presence for his projects, just his personal profile page, thus no link at this time.
My thanks again to Nat for bringing this TPB to my attention at the comic con!
~Michael D Hamersky
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