Okay, so the Lloyd and the Bear short story is now available as a link at the top of the page titled as ‘Issue 8.5’ as it fits in shortly after issue 8.

I’ve been getting some very positive feedback about this story which I’m not only really happy about but also relieved! You see, I realise that it’s a very quiet story and also a little bit dark but it was also one that I wanted to tell.

I promised myself when starting LatB that I’d tell a story that would be readable to all ages and most importantly not be patronising. I don’t plan to make the book dark and scare away young readers (seriously, what’s with that?) but I want it to be honest and that means that when Lloyd decides to go and help his best friend, Bear, that there are going to be repercussions for this.

If you’ve ever met me at a convention and asked why I created this book I’ll be pretty vocal about my love of a comic I read as a kid called Power Pack which was written by Louise Simonson and initially drawn by June Brigman and then later by Jon Bogdanove. I absolutely loved this book which was about four kids who got powers from a dying alien and after an initial adventure in outer space ended up living in New York and had various stories from being stuck in the sewers (one of my favourite all time stories of any book) to saving an author from kidnappers.

What I really loved was that you had these four very realistic characters who squabbled and had their own issues. Although there were some fantastical elements to the stories it was all very much grounded in reality and never once spoke down to the reader.

So it was with this love and the realisation that there weren’t many books out there that I would want to read and then pass on to a niece or nephew with the confidence that the story was not only age appropriate but also enjoyable that I went about creating Lloyd and the Bear.

Now, going back to Power Pack (and really, if you’re looking for a good comic for your kids the original 80’s series is available to buy in paperback and is still relevant to today with it’s pop culture references) they once had a big arc story called the Snark Wars. In this the evil aliens, the Snarks, kidnapped the Pack and took them back to their homeworld. While this was going on a subplot involved the Packs parents frantically trying to find their kids who that feared were in danger back on Earth (they didn’t know that their kids had powers you see) and it was brilliantly done.

So yeah, this is me telling my story with Lloyd having disappeared from his home and the after effects of that. Nothing too heavy but something that I wanted to point out.

Okay, and breathe…….

Right, so I mentioned a competition! I openly admit that this short story had some panels pulled from previous issues of Lloyd and the Bear which I then made a few changes on and this is what got me thinking would make for a bit of fun.

This is one for those of you who have really read the books and the prize is a choice of any LatB print or issue that I’ve done (including the yet to be released issue #9)!

What you need to do is try and spot which panels from the short story have been taken from previous books (remember I may have made slight changes so I’m going with what looks roughly the same even though I’m aware that this may mean I’m going to get told I repeat a lot of panels – which I really don’t!)

All you need to do is drop me an email at lloydandthebear@gmail.com and state which panel in the short story is taken from which issue and page number. Got that? Cool. As a hint I copied eight panels in all so that’s a starter for you.

Now, there’s a good chance that you two or more of you may have spotted the same number of panels and in that case I have a tie breaker for you. I would like to know which comic and issue number I have paid homage to with the cover to issue #9 of Lloyd and the Bear.

Hmmm, this sure is a lot of work for a comic or print isn’t it?

(I sure hope this goes better than the last competition I held which didn’t have any entries……. *panic*)

So yeah, please give the competition a go and there’ll be more LatB news from us very soon!

Bear hugs!