Review: Molly and the Bear by Bob Scott

Molly and the Bear

Molly and the Bear

by Roger Ash

Meet 11-year-old Molly and her parents. They’re just your average family with a less than average pet – a grizzly bear who is afraid of everything. Welcome to the world of Bear With Me, an online comic strip by Bob Scott. The best strips from the first 16 years of the comic have been collected in the gorgeous Molly and the Bear hardcover from Cameron + Company.

Creator Bob Scott works for Disney animation and worked with Jim Davis (Garfield) in the past, so his art skills and comedic timing are well honed. While there are certainly humorous situations in the strip, the reason it works (and why I kept reading) are the characters themselves and their reaction to any of the situations they’re put in. This can range from something normal like a visit a grandparent to something odd like Bear realizing how pointy dad’s nose is.

The main characters in the strip are Molly, Bear, Mom, and Dad. Molly is an 11-year-old girl who is full of life and loves Bear to pieces. She also has to deal with schoolyard bullies and young love. Bear is a full-grown grizzly bear who is scared of most everything. Molly is a huge calming influence in his life, though he has tremendous separation anxiety when she’s away at school. The other major calming influence in his life is food. Dad loves his wife and Molly, but isn’t a huge fan of Bear – at least that’s how he presents things. In reality, he has a grudging love for Bear. Mom pretty much holds everything together and is often the calm in the midst of the storm. She’s really clever and will not stand for disrespect. Bear also has a bit of a crush on her. There are also various supporting characters who appear from time to time, my favorite being a foul mouthed goldfish.

The strip is mostly gag-a-day but there are occasionally longer stories such as taking Bear to the vet, Uncle Walter coming for a visit, and Molly and Bear going grocery shopping. This format made me think of Peanuts which was gag-a-day but there would also be longer sequences about a baseball game or the Great Pumpkin.

The collection itself is really nice. It’s a large hardcover with big, clear reproductions of the strips. There are also some nice extras including sketchbook pages, a process sequence showing how Scott produces the strip from thumbnail to final strip, a selection of color strips, and more.

Before I started reading comic books, I loved comic strips. As a kid, that was what newspapers were all about. I loved getting a daily dose of Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Tiger, and more. Bear With Me would fit comfortably on that comic page from my youth with its top notch art and all ages humor. The Molly and the Bear collection is a wonderful introduction to the strip and an outstanding package. I highly recommend seeking out the book and following Bear With Me online.


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