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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