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By Jodie Orr

GENRE: Comedy, Drama

A group of fictional characters who never made it past the drawing board have suddenly come to life, and they now have less than 10 days to become real or disappear forever.


Colonel Max "Shredder" Schroeder is a soldier's soldier, a man of action and military savvy. He awakes in a field after his last mission with one thing on his mind: his next mission. According to the voice in his head (or chest), his new team is made up of Bobbie, Widow, Suzuka, and Crash. He sets out to find them.

What Max finds is a purple Jeep—with a tall, lovely fashion doll of a woman named Bobbie and her traveling companions, edgy Widow and Japanese schoolgirl Suzuka. It isn't until two miles down the highway that Max learns his new team is a "bunch of skirts." But transportation beats walking, so off the four go.

Until they run over a pedestrian. Bobbie blames the Jeep, Max blames Bobbie; but Crash, their new Jeep-mate, seems okay with being run over at 55 miles per hour. It's not the first time. Crash settles in with his new acquaintances and learns they're either lost or uncaring about where the Jeep seems to take them. All he can really discern is that Suzuka is searching for her brother.

Five hundred miles, one name change, a biker bar fight, and one unpaid motel night settled with a wounded ego later, Bobbie's Jeep of odds and ends friends enters the outer Chicago area and heads for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Seemingly drawn to the event (largely due to Suzuka's pleading with Max, now driving), the group arrives.

And fit right in with the cosplayers.

It's here that James Nevins and his kids, Cammie and Jimmy, discover Max and company.

And it's here that battle-worn Max, stunning beauty Bobbie, svelte diva Widow, Suzuka-chan, and prototype crash dummy Crash/Gears learn the truth about their new lives. James is the grandson of Steven Lan, action figure Max Schroeder's creator, and Max has the dog tags to prove it. James is shocked to see them.

Equally shocking is that none of them are real. Each is a failed pop culture concept dreamed up by Steven Lan and his creative friends in the late 1960s. Max was supposed to be the next military action hero, Bobbie the next fashion doll rage, Widow an urban comic super-heroine, Suzuka the first American anime, and Crash-now-Gears a high school safe-driving spokesdummy ploy.

None of them are real, and none of them made it off the storyboards and sketchbooks.

They have, however, enacted the Gepetto Protocol, James tells Max and company.

And they have ten days—now three days—to keep their new real world lives or be lost forever.

Jim Boston

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