It’s the variant cover that had to happen: Shirtless Bear-Fighter meets Burt Reynolds’ 1972 Cosmopolitan centerfold. It’s reality, and CBR has the first look at artist Andrew C. Robinson’s illustration for the wraparound retailer incentive “nude beariant” — or in this case, “Burt Beariant” — for Shirtless Bear-Fighter #3.
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As anyone who has read Shirtless Bear-Fighter #1 knows, the titular Shirtless Bear-Fighter spends much of the issue not only shirtless, but pantsless. And one of the most famous instances of male nudity in American pop culture of the last 50 years is the Cosmopolitan photo of Reynolds — though he was a bit more covered up than Shirtless, whose private area is obscured only by pixelation, just like in issue #1.
This isn’t even the first “nude beariant” cover for Shirtless Bear-Fighter — the first was illustrated by Skottie Young for issue #2, who rendered the bear-fighting protagonist in the style of his many youthful Marvel covers from over the years.
Image Comics’ five-issue Shirtless Bear-Fighter, by co-writers Jody LeHeup and Sebastian Girner and artists Nil Vendrell and Mike Spicer, debuted last month. While the title undoubtedly draws attention, LeHeup told CBR that it shouldn’t mislead readers, either.
“Once you read the book you’ll discover that while, yeah, it’s pretty bonkers in the best possible way, there’s also a method to it,” LeHeup said. “We’re riffing off a lot of classic genre tropes from ’80s action flicks to ancient myths to superhero fiction to tall tales and others… even a little film noir in there.”
The Shirtless Bear-Fighter #3 “Burt Beariant” cover (and the issue itself) will be available on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Issue #2 is on sale this Wednesday, July 26.