When it comes to anything post 2000, there isn’t a ton I have nostalgia for. One of the very few things though is Homestar Runner, and in particular, the character Strong Bad. Strong Bad was brought to my attention by my best friend when we were in college. He was not my roommate, officially, but he might as well have been as he was in my dorm all the time, save for when it was time to sleep. He somehow found out about http://www.homestarrunner.com and was playing catch-up with the Strong Bad email segment. The first one I can even remember watching was the infamous “Dragon” installment which spawned Trogdor: The Burninator. I talked about my affection for that segment when I reviewed the Trogdor board game over a year ago, but now I get to really talk about Strong Bad.
Strong Bad is the villain of homerstarruner.com though he quickly supplanted the titular character as the most popular character featured on that website. Everyone loves Strong Bad, who is more rascal than dastardly. Created by The Brothers Chaps, Strong Bad speaks in a gravelly tone with a slight Spanish accent which matches his appearance of a Luchador with boxing gloves. The boxing gloves are an intentionally odd touch, but certainly a part of the character’s charm. The character has sibling characters in Strong Mad and Strong Sad, neither of which are as entertaining as Strong Bad. He also has a sidekick, or lackey, in the form of The Cheat who long ago received a plush doll all his own. Strong Bad did not, though there’s been Strong Bad merchandise over the years, but it was mostly stickers and apparel.
In 2020, Strong Bad got a brand new plush. Designed by artist Nina Matsumoto, this plush of the beloved web toon is adorable in its accuracy and pretty interesting in its construction. Sold exclusively through fangamer.com, Strong Bad sold out pretty quickly, but was re-stocked recently and I was able to grab one. Since this is a plush toy, there isn’t a ton to say about it other than what you see. Standing at 11″ tall, it absolutely nails the character aesthetic which is certainly aided by the fact that it’s a simple character design to begin with. The proportions are not exact to the web toon as if they were the head would probably be a little larger relative to the body, as would the boxing gloves. Instead, we have something that was perhaps designed to be more aesthetically pleasing all on its own and it definitely works for what it’s going for. The gloves are constructed of a faux leather material that is reminiscent of real boxing gloves and the mask features actual laces. It’s not removable, and the horror that would be underneath it if it were is too impossible to imagine, but it’s a nice detail to feature. The stitching seems clean, though I wish they didn’t need to put a seem right down his chest and abdomen. There’s a little bit of “fluff” protruding from the rear seem on the head and back of my doll, but the actual stitching doesn’t appear loose anywhere. He seems like he’s plenty durable, but the tag also says for ages 12 and up so don’t be surprised if your toddler wrecks him.
Even though this is a plush, it actually features some degree of articulation. There’s a wire frame of some kind running through the limbs of the doll. This allows for some posing in the arms and legs which was unexpected. No, you can’t really get him to stand on his own, but Strong Bad can kick his legs forward or raise his arms in a victory pose. It’s possible that over-working of these limbs could cause the skeleton inside to eventually protrude from the plush body, but so far I don’t get the sense there’s any undo stress being placed upon the doll by moving his arms and legs.
You can only cram so much majesty into a plush of Strong Bad without also jamming his actual personality into the doll, which is why this plush can talk. He has 15 voice clips built in that are activated by squeezing his face. It can be a little tricky finding the right spot, but it’s there. There’s no easy access to it should the battery run out, which all batteries do, but hopefully it lasts a long time. The phrases are pretty much what you would expect of a Strong Bad doll. There’s his mild brand of swearing (“What the crap?!”), a Trogdor sound, and some good attitude baked into this guy that should please any fan of the character. And even if you’re unfamiliar with Strong Bad, you still may enjoy listening to him if my kids are any indication.
What else is there to say? If you like Strong Bad, you’ll enjoy this talking plush. He retails for $36, and even though he’s presently sold out, Fangamer is planning a restock so head on over to their site if you’re interested and sign up for email notifications. He’s probably been a pretty nice seller for them and I suspect they’ll keep ordering more until they either lose the license or people stop buying. He’s been such a hit that I wonder if we can expect more characters to follow. I don’t know if I’d necessarily be interested in other characters from the Homestar Runner universe, but maybe a new Cheat to go with Strong Bad would be pretty cool.