Boris the Bear
Publisher Dark Horse Comics
Creative team
Creators James Dean Smith
Steve Mattsson
Original publication
Date(s) of publication 1986 – 1991 (original run) 2007 (revival)
Language English

Boris the Bear is a fictional comic book character featured in several independent comic book titles published between 1986 and 2007.[1]

Publication history

Starting in July 1986 and created by James Dean Smith and Steve Mattsson, Boris the Bear was the second title published by Dark Horse Comics. Telling the story of an anthropomorphic bear, who is soon revealed to be a robot, the book parodied many other comic book characters while also satirizing the comic book industry as a whole. Often extremely violent, the book was a Black comedy that developed a cult following. The title also served as the introduction to Wacky Squirrel, who gained his own popularity and went on to star in his own series and specials published by Dark Horse.

Early issues of Boris the Bear centered on parodies of industry trends at the time. For example, the first issue, titled Boris the Bear Slaughters the Teenage Radioactive Black Belt Mutant Ninja Critters features Boris disposing of characters resembling the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Usagi Yojimbo, Cerebus the Aardvark, the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, Hamster Vice, and others in an extremely violent matter. The trend continued through the early issues of the title with Boris confronting or parodying characters resembling the Transformers, the heroes of the Marvel Universe, Swamp Thing, Batman, and Elfquest. It wasn’t long before Boris even met the actual T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.

The popularity of Boris led to two early appearances in the third and fourth issues of the first volume of Dark Horse Presents as well as full color reprints of the first three issues of his own book, under the title, Boris the Bear Instant Color Classics. The character’s popularity also led to parodies of Boris himself and “revenge” stories appearing in titles such as Blackthorne Publishing’s Laffin’ Gas and Eclipse ComicsAdolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.

In 1987, a disagreement with Dark Horse, over the direction of the title, convinced Smith to take Boris back from Dark Horse after the twelfth issue, and begin self-publishing the book under his own Nicotat Comics banner. The book picked up with the thirteenth issue, one month after the departure from Dark Horse. Nine months later, Nicotat introduced what was intended to be an ongoing second title, Boris’ Adventure Magazine. The original Boris continued to parody other comic books, although in a less vicious way, while also maturing into more of a somewhat serious adventure title. As the title changed and the book began shipping more and more infrequently, readership dropped and sales decreased. Eventually, despite Smith having the title plotted through the fortieth issue, Nicotat ended its run with the thirty-fourth issue in November, 1991.

In 1992, Boris briefly returned to Dark Horse with a short story in the sixty-fourth issue of Dark Horse Presents.

In July, 1996, Nicotat returned to the Boris character by Boris’ Adventure Magazine with a second issue. The title ran bi-monthly for three more issues, through November, 1996. Solicitations for the fifth and sixth issues were sent to retailers but the actual issues were never published. The book was officially canceled in 1997.

In April, 2007 James Dean Smith began self-publishing again under the name Oasis Comics. Smith handled writing, art, lettering, editing and production chores on a brand new Boris the Bear title.


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