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TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures (Mini-Series) #1


tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventuresmini001Heroes in a Half-Shell!

Written and Pencilled by: Michael Dooney
Adapted from the Scripts by: David Wise and Patti Howeth
Inked by: Dave Garcia
Lettered by: Steve Lavigne
Color by: Barry Grossman
Cover by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
Published by: Mirage/Archie
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: August 1988

It’s rather interesting to consider that this was–I  believe–the first color TMNT comic. Sure, First Publishing had colored the original black and white issues, but this issue began as a color production rather than the color being a conversion. And where the original Mirage TMNT comics were certainly of a more mature nature for violence and language, this is based on the animated series that was aimed fairly squarely at kids.

Reading back through the issue, it has–for this fan of 26+ years–a lot of familiarity, both from the cartoon as well as the visual style of the art. Which ultimately makes sense, given Dooney‘s involvement with the Mirage stuff in particular. The character designs are obviously those of the cartoon, though.

Being such an old comic–at least a quarter-century–it’s immediately clear some differences from modern comics physically; and my copy in particular isn’t a particularly clean copy…it definitely is a bit yellowed from age and all that, as the paper is classic newsprint, one can see the dots to the coloring, and so on.

As a whole, the art’s not bad in and of itself, though the style is a bit “interesting” having gotten used to more “modern” renditions of these characters. I rather like the realization that even though this was published by Archie, it was created by the Mirage folks…thus lending a certain authenticity to this as a Ninja Turtles thing, rather than just being some thrown-together adaptation of a kids’ cartoon.

Story-wise, this suffers the same as the cartoon itself does in my mind…overly-simplistic and full of glaring plot-holes and such, requiring a lot more suspension of disbelief than most comics I’m used to. There’s also something rather wonky about the pacing, with this first issue covering maybe an episode and a half of the cartoon, rather than just one episode. In that way it’s a rather “compressed” storytelling that (especially looking at it now) really needs a lot more room to breathe. And as a comic, it misses so much potential in terms of “enhancing” the cartoon with narration or thought balloons or such that just wouldn’t fit the cartoon but would a comic.

Other than some abbreviated dialogue and missing the show’s music, this is absolutely a straight up adaptation and it doesn’t begin to even try to be anything else–different or additional. In and of itself, unfortunately, I can say with honesty I find this issue rather hokey, choppy, and other than the art “working” it’s nothing particularly stand-out or impressive to me.

At the same time, this goes back to the very beginning of the TMNT in tv and “popular” comics, so it has a huge bit of historical significance and is in itself quite the “artifact” of its time. This is the first issue of 3, a mini-series, which adapts the entire first “season” or 5-episode mini-series of the TMNT cartoon. At a time when home media (VHS) was still relatively rare (especially compared to our contemporary age of everything being on DVD and so readily available to purchase and watch whenever we want) this was the closest I personally would get to “owning” the episodes to consume whenever I chose. Back in the late-’80s/early-’90s, though, I’d acquired a rather thick comic that came with an audiocassette, which actually collected all 3 issues into a singular volume…but was not itself a bookshelf volume or graphic novel…it was more an 80-page Giant or such.

Publish this as-is today and I’d be rather disappointed. But looking at it as a singular piece, and in context of its time, it’s not bad, and makes for a fairly interesting sort of read.

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