Bear With Him

Columbus Alive | September 8, 2005
I wonder why nobody ever created a child-molesting teddy bear character before Neil Swaab did. It seems like such an obvious, subversive reversal—to have a plaything that children are always dragging into their beds turn out to be a psychotic deviant that likes the attention.

Well, I guess I know why nobody created such a character before Swaab unleashed Mr. Wiggles on the world in his weekly comic strip; probably because no one had the guts to go “There,” as Ted Rall says in his introduction to Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles Vol. 2 (NBM). And if anyone did have the guts to go for a child molestation joke, they probably didn’t also have Swaab’s talent for making the wrongest jokes seem so funny. It helps when the depravity is coming from a cute little teddy bear.

If you aren’t already hip to Swaab’s strip about a lonely bald man named Neil and his sadistic, abusive teddy bear (online at, this collection will get you up to speed on Jesus’ struggle with alcoholism, Neil’s hysterical blindness brought on by ridiculing the blind in the strip (“Hey, it’s not like they’re reading this!”) and a gag about losing the remote that ends with the punchline, “Actually, in this case it was the first!” I’d tell you the set-up, but I couldn’t get away with it—I’m not a cute little teddy bear.

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Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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