Monday, November 3, 2014

No Cowabunga. No Pizzas.

It’s 1996.  The Ninja Turtles toyline has hit hard times.  The animated series is cancelled.  The second volume of the original Mirage comic has ended.  The Archie all-ages title is gone.  Who will carry on the tradition of pubescent reptile martial arts action?

Image Comics will.  And since the target audience of the original TMNT marketing blitz has now reached its teen years, they want you to know that this incarnation of the Turtles isn’t for little kids.  The third volume of TMNT is overseen by Erik Larsen, and within a few pages it’s obvious that the book follows the early Savage Dragon style of hyper-violence and relentless action.  A black and white TMNT series aimed at older readers sounds like something the hardcore Turtles fanbase would eagerly devour, but some loyal TMNT fans reject the book initially.  Over the years opinions seemed to have mellowed (the back issue prices on this run are outrageous), and many fans just accept the Image TMNT book as an extended What If…? that can be enjoyed on its own merits.  One could argue that the Turtles paved the way for Image Comics as one of the very first successful creator-owned titles (and creators Gary Carlson, Frank Fosco, and Erik Larsen all participated in the early ‘80s B&W comics boom), so the concept of the Turtles arriving at Image isn’t too outrageous if you think about it.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect from these issues.  Violence, yes.  Sophomoric attempts at “mature” material, perhaps.  But hopefully it’s an entertaining series, and a fun contrast to the quirky Archie series of my youth.  The two extremes of the most unlikely comics franchise in history…at the very least, I doubt I’ll be bored.


Anonymous said...


I read the Archie TMNT Adventures as a kid and have been enjoying re-reading them in TPB with my kids and then reading the reviews you wrote a while back.

I never knew that Image published TMNT and look forward to your take on them.

Matt said...

But... if they grew up, shouldn't the series be called ADULT MUTANT NINJA TURTLES?

Anyway, I look forward to this. The only Turtles comics I ever read were the Archie ones.

Anonymous said...

I quite liked the series, but it complimented Savage Dragon quite well as you might expect. I could see a Turtle fan hating it. I had no idea this was valuable since I assembled my run out of dollar bins at the time.

Mela said...

I never knew about the Image run, but this should be interesting. I followed the Archie run along with your review and was surprised it went to some thoughtful, surreal places (along with, less enjoyably, more soapboxy places). So even though the "we're totes mature & edgy now" advertising isn't the most inspiring, this should be similarly interesting.

G. Kendall said...

Apparently, getting the soap box material in front of kids was one of Murphy's major motivations for writing the Archie book.
If anyone's interested in reading more recent work from Stephen Murphy, writer of the Archie series, you can check out his experimental web comic:

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