Monday, August 13, 2012

 

Obscurity of the Day: Bears in Love







In the 1970s and 80s there seemed to be some sort of competition for who could come up with the sappiest, oversentimental, schmaltzy comic strip. While the undeniable winner, in my opinion, has to be Charmers, Bears in Love gives it a run for its money.

Eric Meese first came up with the ursine characters as a spoof on his sister's lovey-dovey antics with her fiancee. The spoof cartoons, shown to his family and friends, seems to have been received without recognizing the ironic intent, and his audience oohed and aahed over the romantic bears and begged for more. Meese's brother then took some of the drawings to an agent in New York. The next thing he knew, Meese had a contract with Universal Press Syndicate to produce the feature seven days per week.

Based on an interview at the time, Meese seems to have been on a very short leash. He had to submit two weeks worth of strips each week, and the syndicate picked out seven from each batch, and sent notes on how to improve the chosen ones. That's pretty standard during the development stage for a strip, but rather unusual for one that is actually being syndicated.Considering that Meese, even in his interviews, gives off a vibe of being in way over his head, I think it safe to say that Universal might have been a little too anxious to bring this strip to market.

Bears in Love seems to have debuted on March 28 1983, and lasted until sometime in 1986. Having solved the world's saccharine shortage, the strip was retired and the bears went to their final endless hibernation.

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Comments:
geeze, forgot all about that strip. I think i cut some of them out and gave them to a girlfriend at the time. I could be wrong...
 
An example of the syndicate trying to hard to engineer a feature, rather than trusting it to grow organically. Formulae don't always produce success.
 
National Lampoon had a strip called "Pigs in Love" for a few issues, centering on two pigs in bed (typical gag involved the power of bacon perfume). I now wonder if that was a specific satire of this strip.
 
I found this strip in Morganblathid - the largest newspaper in Iceland under the name Asterabjarni (starry Bears) while stationed at Keflavik in 1983-85, vonmesser@aol
 
I cut out one for my husband about woodcarving where they sat on the log by the lake. It was so sweet because he could not do good at woodcarving either. We still enjoy looking at stars and the old "Bears in Love".
 
Does anyone have any idea where Eric Meese is nowadays and what he is doing?
 
I KNOW HIM HE'S A NICE GUY YOU WOULD LIKE HIM HE WAS JUST HAVING FUN MAKING THE CARTOONS HE'S A FUN GUY TO BE AROUND AND LIKES THE OUT DOORS, LOVES TO GO KYAKING AT HAG LAKE IN OREGON.i would give you a more up date pic of him on the lake but dont know how to load it on to here.
 
My husband & I saw this strip in 1983-84 when we lived in Sacramento & were newlyweds. Our pet names for each other are Baxter & Trudy to this day!
 
My wife Rita collected a bunch of Bears In Love comic strips and glued them into a scrapbook photo album when we were dating. 30 yrs later, they still make me smile, thinking about her.
 
Is there an online archive of Bears in Love anywhere?

Thx.
 
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