Gear (Image Comics)
|Publisher||Fireman Press Ltd.|
|Publication date||November 1998 - April 1999|
|Number of issues||6|
Gear is a six-issue comic book limited series written and illustrated by Doug TenNapel. It was published in six issues by Fireman Press Ltd, a production company and publishing house. The issues were reprinted in trade paperback form by Image Comics in 2007. Many of the characters presented in the book were retooled for TenNapel's Nickelodeon cartoon series Catscratch.
Gear featured black-and-white artwork mostly created with an ink brush by TenNapel. Many of its covers were photos of 3D sculptures, owing to TenNapel's affinity for stop motion animation. The Image Comics collection presents the artwork in full color.
Gear tells the story of a podunk town of squat, hominid-like cats who are bordered on all sides by bigger and more war-like animals. The town's only protection comes from an aged Guardian, a gigantic battle robot in disrepair. The town elder sends four brave cats out to capture an enemy guardian to further defend the town. The cats are named Waffle, Mr. Black, Simon and Gordon. They were named after TenNapel's actual pet cats. After tragedy strikes the cats in a battle with the neighboring dog faction's Guardian, Waffle begins blaming himself for the trouble and goes into the woods to end his own life. There he meets Chee, an insect from another warring faction. The two befriend each other, little knowing of the role they will both play in the oncoming battles.
The name "Gear" comes from a mystical artifact existing in the land which promises to greatly increase a Guardian's powers. Many parties search for the Gear, including a secret ninja-like Gear cult. The main plot revolves around the appearance of the gear and the subsequent mysteries it creates. Further themes in the story are the politics of the animal towns, the friendship of the four cats, the afterlife and giant robot combat.
Gear was loosely adapted into a Nickelodeon cartoon series entitled Catscratch, though most elements from the comic book do not appear. The series main characters are Mr. Blik (changed from Mr. Black in the book), Gordon and Waffle. The characters of Simon and Gear do not appear, but the name Gear is used for Mr. Blik's beloved monster truck.
- 'Gear' at the Comic Book DB
- A review of TenNapel's Gear at The Daily Cross Hatch, from March 4, 2007