"Stapler Fursuit?!" The Legend of the Paw and the Maw
Yes, you read that right: Stapler Fursuit. In this article we are going to explore a fun story of one furry and his desire to put on a great performance in the Variety Show, that turned into one of the early “memes” in the furry fandom before memes were really ever a thing. First, let’s discuss the name “Stapler Fursuit.” Back in 2017, DeoTasDevil tweeted out this incredible tweet and it spread like wildfire, gaining over 900 retweets and 2000 likes.
But this sure wasn’t a stapler! It was a giant wolf maw! And it was part of a much longer story that I think deserves to be told in all of its comical glory. So join me as we learn about a delightfully fun and funny part of furry history.
The main character of this story is Torrle Wolf, a furry artist and fursuiter who has been active in the furry community since 1994. Torrle, like many early-day fursuiters, enjoyed participating in the variety shows. He got to participate in his first ever variety show at Confurence 8 in 1997. He showed off his fursuit for the first time with some music playing, but he really wanted to do more the next time he participated in one.
In July of 1997, Torrle was at Albany Anthrocon. He walked out onto the stage of the variety show when it was his turn and interacted with the audience for a bit. Then he revealed a plush husky that he tried to eat and step on a few times while the MC told him to stop before shoo-ing him off the stage—all pre-planned, of course.
The next year, in 1998, Torrle would return to Albany Anthrocon, with an even bigger idea for the variety show that involved quite the prop. His plan was to do the exact same skit as last year, but with more emphasis on him trying to stomp on the husky plush. This time when the MC came to shoo Torrle off the stage, a giant paw would step on Torrle from off stage and drag him away underpaw. The crowd loved it!
Later in the variety show, Uncle Kage would be brought out to be thanked specially for all of the work he had put into the convection (he would become con chair for Anthrocon starting 1999 and continuing to this day). While Uncle Kage was standing and receiving the special thanks, Torrle would appear behind him, holding up the massive paw before gently tapping Uncle Kage with it and then splatting him to the ground with it like it was a big macro stomp!
Thanks to Bob Nelson, we actually have video of this exact moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6lDIrC199A&t=993s&ab_channel=BobNelson
Now, Torrle had had set the bar for his own comedic genius extremely high, and had to think of something really special for Anthrocon 1999. What better to follow up a giant paw… than with a giant maw!
He sketched out his concept for the giant maw prop and got to work on building it. The construction on the maw is primarily PVC piping. The lower jaw was designed to take the stress of someone falling into it without breaking. Air pillows were added to the lower jaw as cushioning. The top was made to be lightweight and conceal a hidden handle to lift it upwards. With the assistance of built-in shoulder straps, one person would be able to wear it and control it.
The plan was for Torrle to get up on stage and do his usual routine with the little husky plush and for the MC to come out and rag on him and tell him that skit was old news and to come back with something bigger and better. Then, ideally as Torrle headed to the edge of the stage, the giant maw would appear and eat him in front of the audience. Unfortunately, Anthrocon 1999 was held at a brand new venue, and the stage did not have any wings. It was just a big open room. The person operating the maw tried to hold it down so it wouldn’t be obvious and they could still pull off the gag. And they certainly did: the audience went wild as Torrle was eaten up by the giant maw.
Thanks to Bob Nelson again, we also have video of this skit! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFq1RtgD1KM&t=255s&ab_channel=BobNelson
Torrle would wear the giant maw himself while in fursuit, and that was when the legendary photo was taken that years later would be called the “Stapler Wolf” fursuit.
Torrle would bring the giant paw to several conventions as it was pretty easy to transport, but the giant maw only ever went to Anthrocon 1999. Torrle had considered bringing it to BLFC 2017 for the kaiju-themed year, but it’s just too large to transport easily. Both the giant paw and maw were not really known outside of folks that had seen them in the 1990s or early 2000s and Torrle’s friend group. It was only with DeoTasDevil’s tweet in 2017, and in Twitter posts in the years following, that the giant maw would gain lots of attention.
So maybe someday we will see the giant maw make its return, and who knows, maybe someday someone will create an actual stapler character and make a fursuit of it. This fandom is full of wonderfully creative people, anything is possible. Keep being weird furries, keep being weird. <3 Special thanks to:
- Torrle who provided me with so much information about the giant maw and giant paw and how they came to be, as well as sharing photos with me.
- DeoTasDevil who gave me permission to use their tweet.
- Bob Nelson for taking these incredible videos from Anthrocon 1998 and 1999.
- The photographers of these photographs, whom I was unable to find! (If it was use, message us so we can add due credit!)