Wednesday, September 23, 2009

TMNT MEET ARCHIE – Spring 1991

Green Legs & Gams

Credits: Ryan Brown & Dean Clarrain (plot), Dean Clarrain (script), Ken Mitchroney & Stan Goldberg (pencils), Ryan Brown & Rudy Lapick (inks), Mary Kelleher (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)

It had to happen…the Turtles meet Archie. Plus, Josie and the Pussycats (but not Sabrina). The story begins as Cudley drops the Turtles off in a parallel Earth to have fun for a few hours. They’ve entered the strange world known as “Riverdale.” Archie and Betty just happen to be nearby, engaging in a G-rated makeout session in Archie’s convertible.

Their sinful lust is interrupted when they witness a giant cow’s head spitting out four little green men. This understandably unnerves them, but they find that the locals at Pop’s Malt Shop are hardcore skeptics. After thoroughly mocking their friends, the teens leave for a Josie and the Pussycats show. Meanwhile, the Turtles disguise themselves and explore Riverdale. They run across Veronica, who doesn’t make a great first impression.

The Turtles watch as she’s taken into custody by “Infernal Revenue Service” agents who allege that she failed to claim several cash gifts on her last return. The Turtles explain the situation to the Archie gang when they come looking for Veronica. Jughead astutely points out that Veronica actually has no taxable income, being a rich daddy’s girl who doesn’t work, which makes the gang suspicious. Archie overcomes his fear of the little green men, as everyone crams into his convertible and looks for Veronica.

The Turtles soon spot the car belonging to Veronica’s abductors at a seedy motel (as seedy as it gets in Riverdale, at least). Jughead risks his life playing pizza boy, which distracts the kidnappers while the Turtles break into the motel room.

(Jughead’s really putting himself out there for someone who’s only shown him contempt in the past. Why isn’t Archie doing this?) The Turtles quickly defeat the kidnappers, just as Veronica’s father arrives with the ransom money. Mr. Lodge thanks the “oddly-dressed” heroes and offers to treat them to pizza at Pop’s. Everyone enjoys pizzas and malts, as poor Hot Dog watches enviously outside. Plus, it looks like Veronica has made up with Raphael. Enjoy it while you can, Raph. It’s only a matter of time before she realizes that there’s no money in ninja turtling.

Review in a Half-Shell: The Turtles meet Archie, and the story covers most of the things you would expect it to in twenty-two pages. Ken Mitchroney draws the Turtles while Stan Goldberg handles the Archie characters, which is similar to the way Archie treated the Punisher/Archie crossover. It’s really the best representation of both styles, and while there’s nothing that notable about the story, the characters are given enough room for some entertaining interactions.

I Love the (early) ‘90s: Veronica tells Archie and Reggie not to engage in any “slam dancing” at the concert when she sees Reggie hassling Archie.

Red Sails in the Sunset

Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Don Simpson (art & letters), Barry Grossman (colors)

In this backup story, which takes place in-between issues #16 and #17, the Turtles and Man Ray are still on the beach after Bubbla’s funeral. Man Ray uses his Aquaman powers to call out to any nearby humpback whales that might be able to offer a ride. Instead, a mysterious pirate ship arrives. Onboard, the Turtles discover old skeletons and a locked treasure chest. Raphael opens it, inadvertently freeing the souls of the skeletons.

The Turtles fight the skeletons while Man Ray and April try to decipher the message left in a bottle onboard. They eventually realize that they have to bury the engraved woman on the ship’s masthead in the sand. After they follow the directions, the skeletons and the ship soon dissolve into nothingness.

The Turtles aren’t willing to forgive Raphael just yet, though. He must be punished.

Review in a Half-Shell: This actually has more action than the average issue of Adventures, and it’s only a few pages long. I guess zombie skeletons are the type of villains the Turtles should be facing in this series, since they can be slashed and hacked mercilessly without offending anyone. The real standout is Don Simpson’s art. He draws the strangest Turtles I’ve ever seen (with bug eyes, overbites, and scales…and I’m still not sure how I feel about them), but his depictions of the pirate ship, the skeletons, and the overall setting are fantastic. As ugly as his Turtles can look, he also manages to draw the most attractive April O’Neil yet (through his website, I see that Simpson has also done “adult” comics, so I guess he has experience with the female form). I honestly think this issue is worth tracking down just for this backup.

Pizza References: Raphael hopes to find coupons to Pizza Shack in the treasure chest.

Storm Drain Savers

Credits: Stephen Murphy (script), Jim Lawson (pencils), Peter Laird, Dan Berger, Michael Dooney, Steve Lavigne, & Eric Talbot (inks), Mary Kelleher (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)

This originally ran as a give-away Earth Day comic from the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project. It mainly consists of the Turtles walking through the sewers, pointing out garbage and telling you not to litter. It’s notable for Stephen Murphy being credited under his real name, and the five people it took to ink a four-page mini comic. There’s a “no plastics” stamp on the bottom of one of the pages, which is amusing. I guess all of that TMNT merchandise was made out of fairy dust and the innocence of a child’s dreams.

Origin of the Species

Credits: Ryan Brown (story), Doug Brammer (script), Dave Garcia (pencils), S. R. Bissette (inks), Mary Kelleher (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)

In a story from the recent past, Bebop and Rocksteady steal a frozen caveman from a capsized ship. Shredder attempts to mutate him, which creates an out of control Mastodon Man.

(If this guy was never an action figure, that is a true shame.) The Turtles run across him in the streets, but soon realize that he’s hurt and confused, not evil. Bebop and Rocksteady arrive and blast the Mastodon Man into the frozen river. The Turtles try to save him, but the mutant drowns. Bebop and Rocksteady proudly fly away, leaving the Turtles to wonder who the real monster is.

Review in a Half-Shell: I’m not that familiar with Dave Garcia’s art, but the combination of his pencils and Stephen Bissette’s inks is very impressive. The story’s very straightforward, aside from the twist that the mutant is just misunderstood, which is actually pretty standard by this point. (How many of the mutants Shredder created actually ended up working with him? He should probably think about this.) The story’s just an excuse for the Mastodon Man to run around for a few pages, and it looks great.

What the Shell? : A young girl writes in to say that we should all learn from the animals, since they don’t kill, rape, and steal like people do. I’m not getting into the sheer naiveté of her statement, but I am wondering if this was the first (and only) time the word “rape” showed up in an Archie comic.


wwk5d said...

Well, I'll def have to try and find this for the Simpson art. From what I've seen, I like it. And I like his version of the turtles, and I like it more than the Ken Mitchroney.

Btw, wasn't the cover a wrap-around?

selvatico said...

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Matt said...

I'll have to take another look at Simpson's artwork, because I think his turtles turned me off so much that I never noticed if he drew anything else well. I just powered through his artwork as fast as I could, choking back the vomit those turtles induced.

I never owned this comic -- I had no idea it had all those back-ups! As I recall, there's an issue much later where the mastadon guy comes back, and he flashes back to this story. I never understood what the flashbacks were referencing, though, thanks to the lack of editorial footnotes (but I guess that can be excused in an Archie comic). Now, at long last, I know where the mastadon first appeared!

G. Kendall said...

The cover is wraparound. You can see it here:

Anonymous said...

By the by Kendell, will you be covering TMNT spin-offs like April's miniseries, or only the main series?

G. Kendall said...

I only have the first Mutanimal mini, which I will cover soon.

Teebore said...

I guess all of that TMNT merchandise was made out of fairy dust and the innocence of a child’s dreams.

That one had me laughing out loud...

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