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.



Polar Bear Hunt

A straightforward if overly familiar plot: nice guy has incriminating tape, bad guy wants it. Nobody seems to know how to make copies of a tape, here or in Hollywood. Lionheart and his Polar Bear pal outwit slow-witted hit men with bad accents. The setting of a Polar Bear Convention is based on the annual Polar Bear migration in Churchill, as seen on PBS.

Not much to say here; the plot is simple, the characterization and dialogue was the focus here. Hardly a visual stunner, but I'm proud of the script. The cover came out swell, though, one of my few acrylic works. It was good enough to get a swap for an original Stan Sakai, so I must've done something right!


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Lionheart, grumbling over Christmas commercialization, meets a group of young carolers. At first charming, their repertoire expands to include Rapping, Heavy Metal and Techno. Then I run out of pages and the story ends.

The first Christmas story I'd ever done that wasn't darkly cynical and comically violent. How could it be, when you're quoting and honoring Walt Kelly? Deck Us All With Boston Charlie, indeed.
A damned rare issue due to an all star roster and a real record inside, from Alan Moore and the Sinister Ducks.


Fourth Estate, Fifth Column

As has happened too often, Lionheart stumbles into a huge story when his morning jog is interrupted by a two-headed dog that walks on all fours. He becomes the target of Quasi Norse, the weepy-eyed head of a shadowy government agency. The whiny Marine's conspiracy to jump-start the Cold War involves Russian defectors, cartoon and theme park magnate Walt Whimsy, the drug-addled Dr. X, and genetically altered rats, to name but a few. The adventure veers wildly from the dark corridors of the Secret Government, to the lobby of a fast food cannibal franchise, and finally to the Whimsiest Place On Earth .

The pop-culture blender was set to "puree" and the story nails everything from Bat-Mite to The Next generation, though peripherally.
While my strips almost always have some political message, this is the most overtly political story in the Lionheart library. Blame Reagan. The Iran Contra affair and it's parade of bitter old billionaires, flag-draped scumbags and spin doctors just made me physically ill and furious. As it did Anthony Smith, who cowrote the incredibly dense and ambitious storyline. We should have done 200 pages to do the material justice, but we crammed it into 50.
As much as I like this story, I wish I'd done a better job of translating Anthony's multi-leveled and clever ideas into images - I was unable to make them as funny on paper as he did in story conference. It's the major peril of collaboration for me; when I work from my own scripts, I do major revisions in the layout process to properly time and stage the humor.
Curiously, the Whimsy World sequence predates my first visit and subsequent addiction to Walt Disney World. Otherwise, the parody might've been more elaborate. Look to Critters #46 for a story set in Whimsy World that comes much closer to the real theme park experience.


all images ©1999 by Tom Stazer

No reproduction allowed without consent of Tom Stazer

Like this'll stop you thieving cyber-weasels.