Fuzz and Pluck: Splitsville

by Ted Stearn

Publisher: Fantagraphics

Format: Hardcover, 7x9, black & white, $24.99

ISBN: 978-1-56097-976-0

Reviewed by: Publishers Weekly

Imagine a David Lynchian children's story scenario where talking animals, animated toys and regular humans coexist in a landscape of surreal seediness; that's exactly what Stearn achieves, and the results are both dreamlike and picaresque as lovable teddy bear Fuzz and his pal Pluck, a denuded rooster, find work at Lardy's sandwich joint only to become separated and embark on strange journeys of despair and violence. Fuzz is savaged by an unfriendly dog while out on a sandwich delivery and ends up partners with Victor, a nutcase who enlists him in a feeble scam involving access over a river, while Pluck's violent encounter with some delinquents at the restaurant catches the eye of a local fight promoter and launches him into a new career as an unlikely gladiatorial badass. The narrative bounces back and forth between the two plots, and much lunacy ensues before the pair is reunited, and, while never dull, the segments featuring Fuzz's predicament pale in comparison to the truly lysergic and disturbing arena adventures of Pluck. And when was the last time you read a story with a bad-tempered halved lemon with fly wings as one of the villains?