A touching tale of a stuffed bear and his boy

mrstuffins1picon.jpg

Remember those Teddy Ruxpin bears we all had as kids. Not me of course, I was too old for those kinds of things by the time the line rolled out, and my parents were really cheap bastards to boot, but I found the alluring call of this early animatronic creature fascinating.  I always wondered what would have happened if someone tweaked the programming of that little critter, and thanks to the magics of Andrew Cosby and Johanna Stokes, I get to relive that fantastical part of my childhood that never happened.

mrstuffins1cover.jpgI went into this title as I do most comics on the market today – a jaded sonofabitch, who is just looking to start a fight.  But as I began to read through this first issue of Mr. Stuffins, I swear the writers found my old Apple ][ C+ from 1985 and snatched up all the ideas within those single sided floppy discs.  Not only had I had my own run ins with Mr. Ruxpin as mentioned above, but I had written a story where a scientist escapes from a thug run research agency, and during the chase, replaces the super secret code with a child’s game.  While that scene played out in any number episodic television series from 1982 to 1888, it was nice to see the same events play out in Mr. Stuffins.  Ah, nostalgia…

In this issue, instead of dummy code, the scientist slips the disc containing the AI program from his company into a Mr. Stuffins figure in a local toy store.  While the “bad guys” capture the scientist, they don’t get the disc, as a young boy and his father endu up purchasing the toy.  Turns out Mr. Taylor is buying the toy for his son Zach cause Mr. and Mrs. Taylor are going through a separation – at least that is how David Taylor tells it; his wife has other ideas, which leads to the bribing of his children.

Yes, Zach is the younger of two siblings in the Taylor house, and while his mother tends to be a tad heavy handed, the sister seems to get most of the attention as the teen is riding off on motorcycles with a new boyfriend, and telling her parents she’s planning on spending the night.

The chaos with the sister and the general arguments between the parents, gives Zach a chance to activate Mr. Stuffins, but because of the swapped operating system, the bear doesn’t appear to work, and winds up in the back of the closet for the night.  Mr. Stuffins isn’t broken, but rather it took that long for the AI to engage, at which point Mr. Stuffins comes to life awaiting orders.  It appears once activated, the agent is programmed to make contact with the home office.  For Mr. Stuffins, the home office turns out to be the 1-800 number for the toy company.  Being the middle of the night, Mr. Stuffins hears a recorded message from the company that says “Your child’s safety is our number one priority…” which Mr. S interprets to be his mission.

What follows is one of the best mistaken identity/out of his elements sequences I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time.  Zach wakes to discover Mr. Stuffins interrogating the other stuffed animals, and that is just the beginning of the spirited hijinks as the two go to school, confront a trio of bullies, and prep the house for the coming siege by the bad guys.  The treat isn’t in the events, but in the way the events unfold and Zach’s willingness to go along with the half crazed out of his mind bear.  Even better is the fact that all the adults are oblivious to the bear and his actions, which cranks the humor level up another couple of notches.  You really need to purchase this issue to get the full impact.

If Calvin has his Hobbes, and Elwood Dowd has his Harvey, then the pairing of Mr. Stuffins and his ward brings some high comedy with a dash of spy thriller tossed in to heighten the story.  Cosby and Stokes have delivered a wonderful little story, and if Mr. Stuffins actually manages to get his paws on real firearms, look for the mayhem to explode in the next issue.

I wasn’t too sure of the art at first, but the moment Mr. Stuffins activates and his face turns into a brooding scowl that would cause Batman to take a step back, I knew Alex Axel Medellin Machain’s art would carry the rest of the issue without a problem.  What is really interesting is this issue is a rerelease of Mr. Stuffins #1 from 2007.  The artist of that issue was by Lee Carter, which means Boom! spent a bit of time having Machain redo everything.  From what I can tell, this is actually a step up from the original release.

Mr. Stuffins #1 arrives again in stores this week, and is worth picking up.  If your local comic book shop doesn’t have the issue, grab the clerk by the front of his shirt and scream, “I want my Mr. Stuffins!”  It is sure to raise a few eyebrows, but if it gets you this issue faster, then all the better.  I gaffawed the first time I saw an ad for the series, but having read it, I can honestly say this is one of the most fun comics I’ve read this year.  Mr. Stuffins #1 is well worth the 5 Stars rating.

5stars.jpg

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

Previous post

Scott Pilgrim vs. The Merch

Next post

Review: Kick-Ass #6

8 Comments

  1. Chakka
    April 27, 2009 at 11:00 pm — Reply

    man i was so hoping this would be good now i’m gonna pick it up

  2. Jerardo
    April 27, 2009 at 11:29 pm — Reply

    This is going to be fun as hell hopefully it’s not a mini like haxed was thay need to bring that back ASAP!

  3. Randallw
    April 28, 2009 at 12:11 am — Reply

    Does he interogate the other toys “Jack Bauer” style?

    I’ll keep an eye out for this one.

    • April 28, 2009 at 7:48 am — Reply

      There are no waterboarding scenes in this issue, but Mr. Stuffins does have it in for one pink fluffy bunny…

  4. April 28, 2009 at 11:54 am — Reply

    Man, the artist’s name is actually AXEL, not ALEX ;)

  5. ~wyntermute~
    April 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm — Reply

    At least he didn’t call the poor guy “Lexa”. THAT would be humiliating! And as one who’s Teddy Bear STILL has a place of honor on the shelf at the top of my closet, I think I am obligated by one law or another to read this. I always wanted my bear to come to life, and I guess this is as close as I get! (Hey. If you people can have “action figures” and “mini-mates” and “collectible busts”, leave me my bear! :D)

  6. Randallw
    April 28, 2009 at 8:07 pm — Reply

    You can’t trust those pink fluffy bunnies. Coming over here and taking our jobs. Damn Terrycloth heads. :)

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section