A touching tale of a stuffed bear and his boy
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.Â 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.
I went into this title as I do most comics on the market today – a jaded sonofabitch, who is just looking to start a fight.Â 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.Â 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 childâ€™s game.Â 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.Â 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.Â While the â€œbad guysâ€ capture the scientist, they donâ€™t get the disc, as a young boy and his father endu up purchasing the toy.Â 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 sheâ€™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 doesnâ€™t appear to work, and winds up in the back of the closet for the night.Â Mr. Stuffins isnâ€™t broken, but rather it took that long for the AI to engage, at which point Mr. Stuffins comes to life awaiting orders.Â It appears once activated, the agent is programmed to make contact with the home office.Â For Mr. Stuffins, the home office turns out to be the 1-800 number for the toy company.Â Being the middle of the night, Mr. Stuffins hears a recorded message from the company that says â€œYour childâ€™s safety is our number one priority…â€ which Mr. S interprets to be his mission.
What follows is one of the best mistaken identity/out of his elements sequences Iâ€™ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time.Â 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.Â The treat isnâ€™t in the events, but in the way the events unfold and Zachâ€™s willingness to go along with the half crazed out of his mind bear.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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 wasnâ€™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 Machainâ€™s art would carry the rest of the issue without a problem.Â What is really interesting is this issue is a rerelease of Mr. Stuffins #1 from 2007.Â The artist of that issue was by Lee Carter, which means Boom! spent a bit of time having Machain redo everything.Â 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.Â If your local comic book shop doesnâ€™t have the issue, grab the clerk by the front of his shirt and scream, â€œI want my Mr. Stuffins!â€Â It is sure to raise a few eyebrows, but if it gets you this issue faster, then all the better.Â 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 Iâ€™ve read this year.Â Mr. Stuffins #1 is well worth the 5 Stars rating.