August 2nd 2007 marked the creation of the 400th “Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles” comic strip. If you are not aware of Mr. Wiggles then let me be so blunt as to say: the time has come.
Mr. Wiggles is a 3’7 Teddy bear with a cute, murderous smile and adorably menacing scowl. He is featured in the self-syndicated comic strip mentioned moments ago and currently being published in: Real Detroit Weekly, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, Mercury, Internazionale (Italy), and The Badger Herald. As far as teddy Bears go, Mr. Wiggles is a lovably perverse scoundrel who loves to discuss and tackle some important issues. These issues range from “toilet humor”, to hair loss, to violence in society, to love, and subjects much darker and closer to the heart. Did I mention he is also a pedophile?
Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles is as funny as it is controversial and truly within the work there is something of interest for everybody. Who does the world have to thank for this brilliant creation? Freelance illustrator book designer, and teacher: Neil Swaab.
Residing in Astoria, NY, Neil creates artwork for various publications and has published two anthologies of Mr. Wiggles adventures. Mr. Wiggles books have even been translated for publication in Russia as well. If one wishes to check out more Mr. Wiggles humor and antics I suggest visiting www.mrwiggleslovesyou.com and purchasing a book; other memorabilia is available. You can get in touch with creator Neil Swaab via that site or on Myspace at www.myspace.com/neilswaab. These contacts methods work well for anyone interested in hiring Neil for his talents as well.
Being an ever swell fellow, Neil was kind enough to submit to a short and random 10 question interview with me.
Q. Okay, right at the beginning give the world an important message.
“Take a shower every day. Seriously. It’s good for you and nobody wants to smell your funk.”
Q. Did you have any stuffed animals as a child?
“Yes. I had a stuffed elephant named Ellie and a stuffed Koala Bear named Koalie. I was very creative with names.”
Q. If you were able to turn Mr. Wiggles into a cartoon series what would you imagine the show length to be and would there be plots to each episode?
“It would be a half-hour show based around Mr. Wiggles, Neil, and their lives in Brooklyn with some other regular characters thrown in there to flesh it out. Sort of like the odd couple but amped up. It wouldn’t be just like the comic since those are mainly just talking heads and who wants to watch that? There would be actual plots. I can’t reveal too much since it is something I am trying to work on and I don’t want things to get out there before they’re ready, but that’s the “essence” anyway.”
Q. By your own moral standards what is the worst thing Mr. Wiggles has done?
“My moral standards won’t even allow me to say it.”
Q. In the movie HEAT were you rooting for Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
“Oh my God, I LOVE that movie. I root for both! That movie’s so complex. You can’t pick sides. But, if I absolutely had to, I’d pick Pacino since in the end De Niro is still committing a crime.”
Q. What do you do for “fun”?
“I’m boring. I like to watch TV, go to movies, mess around on my guitar, hang with friends, walk around the city aimlessly, do my art and comics (yes, I actually get paid to have fun!). Geez, this sounds like a personal ad.”
Q. What is the most “desperate” you have ever felt?
“The first 6 months I spent in NY upon graduating from college. Just trying to find myself and support myself and being in a completely alien environment and not knowing anybody and being so completely broke and out of my element and alone and not knowing what I was going to do with my life. Those 6 months were really rough.”
Q. Back to making this as creepy as possible: If someone wanted to “woo” you what are some pointers you could give them?
“Are you sure this isn’t a personal ad? I would just tell them to be nice and funny and interested. And make it really obvious that they’re trying to woo me since I’m kind of thick in that regards.”
Q. When did you first start drawing Mr. Wiggles?
“My senior year of college. August 1999 to be specific.”
Q. If you could ask anyone, past or present a question who would you pose the question to and what would that question be?
“I would love to ask the founding fathers of America what their take is on our country right now. It would be interesting to hear what they think about the progress of their American experiment. And also what they think about President Bush. I’m sure that would get an interesting reaction.”
Thank you for your time. I’ll see just how many stalkers I can direct your way.
In these crazy times one horrible Teddy Bear may have the power to save us all with a smile. Whether it is for entertainment or you are an activist looking for a debate topic, Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles is a comic worth checking out.