A Teddy Bear Picnic. OF DEATH. The star of summer's leanest, meanest comic series? He's no Steiff. He's Gund-a knock you out! ... Sorry. Yeah, he's a butt-kicking teddy bear.
NPR logo A Teddy Bear Picnic. OF DEATH.

A Teddy Bear Picnic. OF DEATH.

Mr. Stuffins: Let's put it this way: he knows things most teddy bears don't. BOOM! Studios hide caption

toggle caption
BOOM! Studios

"You gonna let 'em go, or do I have to start some trouble? Cuz trust me: My kinda trouble, you do NOT need."

".....You're a teddy bear. You know that, right?"

Oh yes. He knows that.

Who is this guy? After the jump...

Mr. Stuffins, titular star of the comic book mini-series co-written by Eureka creator Andrew Cosby and Johanna Stokes, with art by Alex Medellin Machain, knows exactly who he is. And that's not all.

Here are some other things Mr. Stuffins knows:

Muay Thai.

Brazilian jujitsu.

Krav Maga.

And he knows something else, something of more immediate concern, and it's one of the first things he tells his new owner, sweet little wide-eyed ten-year old Zach:

"We're gonna need guns. Lots of 'em."

A black-ops take-no-prisoners teddy bear -- sure, it's high concept. Precipitously so.

Yet Mr. Stuffins, the just-concluded three-issue comic series, is a lean, mean narrative machine that's over long before it wears out its singular welcome.

With admirable economy of form, Cosby and Stokes lay out the stakes, ratchet up the tension, and let their cuddly button-eyed hero unleash holy ursine hell on the bad guys.

Yet they're careful to supply plenty of character beats -- moments when Machain shows us complex emotion flitting across Mr. Stuffin's fuzzy muzzle.

How this snuggable secret-agent came to be, why the NSA is after him, and whether or not Zach's estranged mom and dad will reunite -- these are things you should discover for yourself.

These elements also happen to be a bit less compelling, frankly, than the sheer giddy/pulpy thrill ride of the book. (My favorite part? The way you can practically hear Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken rasp in every one of our plush protagonist's word balloons.)

Sure, it's taken its sweet time coming out -- Issue #1 was originally released way back in 2007, followed by two years of nothing. But recently reinvigorated publisher BOOM! Studios called a do-over, and rereleased the first issue earlier this year. It should be relatively easy to find all three issues in comics shops now.

It's worth the effort, because the trade paperback won't be out till November -- and this bear's four-fisted exploits aren't well-suited to the languid highbrow offerings of Oscar season.

Nope -- Mr. Stuffins is a summer action flick. Only one that's, you know, cute as all get-out, and will make you want to hug the stuffing out of it.