The History of the Bullbarians

The character featured in our first two books, Ribeye the Bullbarian, has a creation history that dates back quite a few years. Mike Milo drew the very first conceptual sketches of Ribeye in 1990. We had written a comic book story called 'The Bullbarian Incident' and Ribeye was a central character in it, along with a whole gang of Bullbarians. Actually, the character wasn't known as Ribeye at all in those days; his name was T-Bone the Bullbarian.

 

The first 'T-Bone the Bullbarian' sketches, 1990.
We always liked the idea of the 'Bullbarian' age. We always pictured it with comic books in mind, as both of us were fans of comic books like 'Conan the Barbarian', 'Asterix', 'Groo the Wanderer', 'Usagi Yojimbo' and others.

T-Bone's appearance began to shift a bit through the 1990's as the project remained a back-burner idea. T-Bone's little brother Cubesteak was created around 1993 when we prepared the concept as a series for television. We felt that shifting the focus to the story of a big brother looking out for his younger brother was more interesting than the usual 'sword and sorcery' fare.


'T-Bone' redesign from the mid 1990's. Mike and I worked at Hanna-Barbera studios at the time, and were greatly influenced by the 'house' design style.

A very Hanna-Barbera styled Cubesteak.

A mid 1990's 'Ren and Stimpy'-esque 'T-Bone' and Cubesteak.
Disney came out with a show that featured a character named T-Bone, and so we changed the character's name to Ribeye around the time I started writing the first book. It's funny how those things work. I thought of the character as T-Bone for so long that was just who he was, and suddenly to have to change his name didn't seem right. But now I find it odd to refer to the character as T-Bone. Ribeye just fits.

Ribeye's current design is actually one of the earliest. We ditched all the 1990's redesign versions, and went back to an earlier design that just seemed to be the 'true' character.

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