Wednesday, 8 July 2015


Ok, time for the best strip ever about a polar bear. Nope, not that guy, although he was around at the same time and was nearly as cool as our star today.
No, THIS polar bear:

Shako ( The Only Bear On The CIA Death List ) was a great example of the early 2000AD's mission statement of fat-free action strips that mostly involve people's heads getting chomped off.
Shako, a polar bear who's swallowed a mcguffin is, like his predecessors Hookjaw and the dinosaurs of Flesh, an example of nature run amok, and delights in eating the human bad guys of the story, including the brilliant Jake ' Foulmouth' Falmuth, who's gonna get that goddamn bear, dammit!
Like a lot of my favourite comic strips, Shako has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and is all the better for it. Twelve year old you will not be able to stop yourself going Cor! Look at that!!
In these days of adult, nice, worthy graphic novels that are reviewed in The Guardian, we still need comics like Shako. 
Put it this way, Jim Warren would've loved it.


  1. No redeeming qualities? But Pete, Shako's an ecological allegory about the dangers of... yeah, I'm not really convinced by Pat Mills revisionist take on his earlier work either. Theres a bit of eco-subtext I suppose - you gotta love the name Buck Dollar - but it really is all about the misanthropic nihilism (it pretty much ruined me for American superhero comics:)

    I like that instead of nicking from a film, Mills and Wagner rip off one of their own rip offs. You can just imagine them at an editorial meeting -
    "The kids liked Hook Jaw so we'll do that again, but with.... a polar bear!"
    Now if I was in charge of a science-fiction themed comic I'd be cooking up the Rigellian hotshots for Mills and Wagner after hearing that pitch, but 2000ad bought and published it! Fantastic!
    (Apologies if I went on a bit there, but its an all time fave that I haven't read in a while - thanks)


  2. And there it is at last! Thanks for posting this, Pete. I can still remember the illicit thrill of reading this series for the first time - great stuff! It must have been quite a gamble for 2000AD to publish such a graphically violent strip so soon after all the controversy about Action. I'm glad they did :-)

  3. Still waiting for that Hookjaw / Shako team-up, mind...

  4. I was very much the standard 2000AD punter as a 9 year old. My faves were Mach one and Flesh and Shako was a welcome addition. I guess Shako has never been reprinted?

  5. Hey HD, yes, Shako is part of the 2000 AD reprint trade line so you should be able to pick up a copy still. MACH 1 / Flesh / everything else on the way!