BORIS THE BEARMedium: Comic books
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
First appeared: 1986
Creator: James Dean Smith
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With superheroes growing increasingly violent during the 1980s (even before Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen emerged to exemplify and give direction to the trend), it was only natural that superhero parodies followed suit. James Dean Smith's Boris the Bear was an especially
violent example. In fact, he kicked off his series with the gruesome murder of "Teenage Radioactive Black Belt Mutant Ninja Critters".
This collective rubric included not only Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but also such non-funny funny animals as Cerebus the Aardvark and Usagi Yojimbo. Even humorous characters which were apparently not up to the cartoonist's standards, such as Wile E. Coyote and Smurfs, were slaughtered. It was implied he offed The Care Bears off-stage. He did, however, spare Droopy on grounds that "I like you."
This mayhem was accomplished in Boris the Bear #1, dated August, 1986 and published by Dark Horse Comics (Hellboy, The Mask). Smith was credited with both art and script, but also receiving script credit were Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley, the publishing company's founders.
Boris next did in a bunch of giant robots that resembled Transformers and/or Japanese imports. After that, he took on characters that resembled Marvel's and DC's superheroes, the Elfquest characters, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents etc. In the fourth issue, it was revealed that he, himslf, was a robot.
After 12 black and white issues and one full-color special, Boris moved from Dark Horse to Smith's own self-publishing imprint, Nicotat Comics, where it was more of the same. Parodies of The Punisher, Blackhawk, X-Men and more all made the Boris cover. Superhero fans seem to have found it fun for a while, but after 22 more issues, it finally ground to a halt. The last was dated November, 1991.
Boris (along with his annoying pal, Wacky Squirrel, introduced in #4) made one more appearance at Dark Horse. The 64th issue (August, 1992) of the publisher's anthology title, Dark Horse Presents, where stars such as Duckman and Concrete had been introduced, contained one last appearance.
Ever since, there's been talk of bringing Boris back. So far, it hasn't happened.