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Buddy Christ & Mooby

Dogma Minimates
by yo go re

Bad news for people who believe the King James Bible is the letter-perfect word of God: the New Testament was written in Greek; Greeks didn't have an "SH" sound, so they substitued a plain S, and to make a name masculine, they put an S on the end. Thus, the name written as "Ιησούς" (Iesous) was only a Greek aproximation of the real Hebrew name יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshua). So Jesus wasn't Jesus, he was Joshua. And if you think that kind of J/Y confusion is unlikely, just remember that "Yahweh" and "Jehovah" are the same word.

Born to humble parents, Jesus Christ was in actuality the son of God, brought into the world to save mankind from its own sin and wickedness. His life and works are celebrated on the dashboards of automobiles around the world.

Recognizing that they were increasingly viewed as a passe, archaic institution, the Catholic Church decided to rebrand itself. As part of the "Catholicism WOW!" campaign, they decided to retire the highly recognizable, yet wholly depressing, image of Jesus crucified. Yes, the crucifix was a time-honored symbol of the faith, but it was giving people the willies. So under the guidance of Cardinal Glick, they came up with a new, more inspiring sigil: the Buddy Christ.

"Christ" comes from the Greek Χριστός (christos, also the source of the X in "Merry Xmas") and means "anointed" - it was a translation of the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiach, messiah) which meant the same thing. It's a title, not a name. This Christ, since he's your buddy, rather than a man suffering for your sins, has a broad smile and is throwing you a wink. He's got a painted beard and a new piece of long, wavy hair, matching Jesus' traditional depictions (which became standardized around the 6th century in Eastern Christianity, but wasn't nailed down [no pun intended] in the west until much later - even Michelangelo depicted him clean-shaven and short-haired in the Sistine Chapel).

Jesus is wearing cream-colored robes - or more accurately, he has a cream-colored body and a full-length chest cap to fake robes above it. His feet are bare, and both his hands are new: since in the movie, the Buddy Christ statue was pointing and giving a thumbs up, the standard Minimate hands wouldn't suffice; thus, we get a new pointing right hand, and a new thumbs up left hand. They also gave him Logan-san's forearms, which definitely go with the robes, but still point the wrong direction - and it's particularly noticeable here, since his arms are both meant to point forward, not hang at his sides. Overall, he seems to be based on the "Sacred Heart" depictions of Jesus, which often showed him with a red robe, and definitely had the radiant heart over his chest (though the Catholicism WOW! version eschews the thorns and the fire, as part of their softer, friendlier take on things).

Since this figure represents an icon (in the original "religious art" sense, not the current "representative symbol" sense) and not the real Jesus, he comes with a small octagonal base, the sort seen on any number of religious porcelain figurines. This one is blue with a golden rim, and has a footpeg so the Minimate can stand on it. Good thing Jesus already had holes in his feet!

Created by a schoolteacher, the character of Mooby was subsequently bought by the Complex Corporation and turned into a multi-media franchise, with a TV show, a magazine, two theme parks and a chain of fast-food restaurants.

Mooby is a perfect example of how clever Kevin Smith can be when he wants. At first blush, it just looks like a silly Mickey Mouse pastiche, used as a stand-in the way so many ersatz Mickeys have been used before. Ooh, yes, commercialism is bad, aren't you edgy for pointing it out! But remember, Mooby first appeared in a movie about religion: he's not just a yellow cow, he's literally a golden calf!

Rather than trying to paint a flat cartoon face on the standard Minimate head, Art Asylum opted to give Mooby a unique sculpted head. It's got two short horns, and big floppy ears painted pink inside. There's a flattened tuft of orange hair on top, and a big smiling snout out front. He's even got those classic cartoon "Pac-Man eyes"!

The goal with Mooby's design was to be "as close to Mickey Mouse as possible without... getting sued," and the toy lives up to that goal. He has a chest cap that cover him from neck to knees, sculpted with a distinct chest, a bit of a pot belly, and then shorts that look like he pulled them directly out of Mickey's closet - they have a rolled waistband and cuffs, and two big oval buttons on the front. There are rings around his wrists to complete the suggestion of gloves, and he gets newly molded feet: hooves, actually.

Both these figures, with their ornate chest caps getting in the way of things, don't really take advantage of the Minimates' standard 14 points of articulation (neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles), but then again, this is the same universe that brought us the inglory of InAction Figures, so the fact that the arms move is already a triumph. Even if you're not a huge Kevin Smith fan, the pair of Buddy Christ and Mooby is a good one!

-- 09/14/14

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