Since Critters was an anthology, not every Lionheart story was accompanied by a cover. I have shown here only my covers, respecting the rights of the artists whose work graced the often beautiful covers of Critters. Follow links to excerpts, or just visit the gallery that follows these story synopsis pages.



Zany But Deadly
Lionheart debuts, as an investigative reporter on the West Coast: Looney Tunes meets Hollywood Babylon meets Citizen Kane. It's worth pointing out that Lionheart precedes Roger Rabbit by a few years.
The body of has-been cartoon great Dizzy Dog is found flat as a pancake, on top of a skyscraper. Cynical investigative reporter Lionheart looks into the dark history of the irascible, violent-tempered, cross-dressing zany, interviewing his co-stars and many enemies, which are one and the same. Dizzy's flattening is eventually revealed as accidental, as he fell into a giant typewriter in a drunken rage. His body was then folded into a giant airplane and hurled into the air.

Like many "first episodes" this is rather dissimilar to the stories that follow; it was conceived from scratch and finished within a few weeks. Subsequent tales put Lionheart in the Northeast states and took him off the Hollywood beat. I also discarded the idea that the characters were fairly pliable, like cartoons: you could get crushed flat as a pancake, and it would kill you, but your guts wouldn't ooze out - you'd simply get flat and wide. It's a funny premise, but once you cross that line it really messes up the internal logic of the character's world. How many bullet holes does it take to kill someone? How far can that neck stretch before it snaps? Can characters swap heads?


Geex In Wako
On his way to cover a boring story, Lionheart finds himself in the aptly named town of Wako. After he spots some very odd looking strangers - amorphous, laughing blobs to be exact - he decides to stay and investigate. After a hallucinatory night in a local hotel, he believes he has uncovered an alien invasion and conspiracy. That's not quite correct; it's more of an alien vacation. Unfortunately, Lionheart's snooping alerts mean, profoundly ugly, warlike aliens named The Slaarn. The slimy BEMs announce a real alien invasion of Earth, but their ships aren't very fast, so it'll take them 150 years to get here.

We all in Texas knew about Waco long before CNN.

This story successfully sets the tone and style for Lionhearts that would follow. I like to add some moodier elements, and this storyline ends with no joke - just Lionheart staring apprehensively into the sky, contemplating his part in ruining mankind's future. The second chapter - issue #9, shown here - was a real experiment for me - and not quite successful. I tried to tell the story with no dialogue or narration, and in uniformly shaped panels, but my grasp of the medium was not up to it.
The issue of the Slaarn's upcoming invasion comes up in a few later Lionheart stories.


all images ©1999 by Tom Stazer

No reproduction allowed without consent of Tom Stazer

Like this'll stop you thieving cyber-weasels.