• October 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Black and White Mini Turtles

The other day, I picked up a 4-pack of Mini Mates TMNT figures. While I already owned the Leonardo and Raphael Mega Bloks figures styled after the original Mirage comics, getting all four in this new format prompted me to seek out Donatello and Michelangelo in the Mega Bloks format to complete that set.

Which now gives me a set of all four turtles in both formats, very similarly sized, but quite different visually.

black_and_white_tmnt_megabloks_minimates

Despite the recent mega-haul comics-wise, I see 2017 possibly being the year I delve much more concertedly into completing specific "runs" or "sub-collections" much like this. In 2016, I "silently" (I have yet to really cover it in this blog) completed my "reading copy" of the Ultraverse, and it’d be quite cool to "complete" my Mirage run of TMNT (though I content myself with later printings, I still want one of each Mirage-published issue!)

Who knows…I might even (also) expand my TMNT Mega Bloks collection beyond what I’ve already bought–there’s a Second Time Around set to go with the black and white Turtles, as well as a Party Wagon set for the classic cartoon series. I’ve no illusion of coughing up $250 + tax for the Technodrome set, though that one makes the others seem very cheap by comparison!

Advertisements

Unexpected TMNT

Over the weekend, I’d stopped in at a Books A Million with a  friend. While there, I spotted a TMNT Mini Mates pack that I’ve somewhat had an eye on for probably a year or so (quite awhile, anyway). This time, though, it had a 50%-off sticker on it!

weekendhaul_tmnt_01142017a

While the full price was way more than I wanted to spend–even on something supposedly Comic Con exclusive–at half price, it’s FAR more reasonable.

Add to that the fact that I had a $10 card on me, and a BAM membership, and I walked out for 56 cents out of pocket!

weekendhaul_tmnt_01142017b

Of course, my OCD has kicked in a bit, and any savings is going to be offset by the fact that I now want to match this set with the Toys R Us exclusive TMNT Mega Bloks black-and-white figures.

I did stop in at a Toys R Us looking for those, and while I didn’t find what I was looking for, I was quite surprised to discover that there were a LOT more TMNT stuff from Mega Bloks than I’d been aware of, primarily gauging stuff by Walmart and Target (both of whom seem to be clearancing out the entire line, what little they’d actually carried!).

weekendhaul_tmnt_01142017c

While I’ve typically NOT been a huge fan of the classic cartoon version of Baxter Stockman–for a number of reasons–something to the mini figure grabbed my attention, and hit the right bit of nostalgia for me; so I went ahead and bought this; not so much for any accessories but just for the character itself.

weekendhaul_tmnt_01142017d

Apparently Mega Bloks also did the van (the "Party Wagon") as well as a $250 Technodrome; I never even realized these were out there!

Sadly, it seems like perhaps the line is dying, with "everyone" clearancing out the earlier sets from the beginning of 2016 and some of the summer Movie stuff. I don’t know if it’s to make room for more new stuff, or if Mega Bloks has "lost" the license already, or what.

My hope is that they’re just clearing way for some new, awesome stuff for 2017, though!

weekendhaul_tmnt_01142017e

Chloe the cat was not impressed with Baxter-Fly. However, when I tried to remove him from her presence, she tried to bite me. Lil’ Miss Attitude… (but I adore this kitty!)

Showing Off the Shelves: TMNT (November 2016)

I’m showing off the latest configurations of "sub collections" on my shelves.

Here, today, are my TMNT and Usagi stuff. While not officially tied together, I’ve long associated Usagi Yojimbo with the TMNT stuff; and so they fit together well on a shelf. Though I’m basically maxed-out on this shelf now, so the Usagi stuff might end up getting moved to fit elsewhere before too long.

tmnt_shelves_late_november_2016

I’d jumped on the TMNT Ultimate Edition line as soon as it started, and "kept up" with it, including the surprise/addition of the 6th volume. Then I have the 1First graphic novel series, collecting the early Mirage stuff in color the first time. These were my initial introduction to the original/Mirage version of the characters, having had my start with the classic cartoon and the Archie-published TMNT Adventures.

After those we have stuff from Mirage itself over the years–first some of the generic collected volumes; then a bunch of the mid-2000s collected volumes up to the cgi-TMNT film just before Laird sold the property.

From there, the Archie edition of the original TMNT Adventures mini, collected; along with 4 of the 6 TMNT Classics Digest that reprinted the earlier TMNT Adventures issues; and then the current run of IDW‘s volumes collecting the TMNT Adventures run. From there, some other versions of the TMNT Adventures collections, the IDW TMNT hardcover, the 30th Anniversary Special and the 2012 & 2014 Annuals.

Finally, the first 4 Usagi Yojimbo mega-collections from Dark Horse.

I’d had a number of the earlier IDW TPBs of their TMNT series; but stopped with those as soon as I found out about the oversized hardcovers–and though I’m a couple volumes behind, my aim is to use THOSE for my "double-dipping" on the series. They’re the far better value, with about 3 paperbacks’ contents for about/slightly over the cost of 2.

I had at one point figured I’d be getting some of the various other large hardcovers IDW has been putting out for the various TMNT stuff…but they’re all different dimensions, and just don’t look like they go together that well, and thus are quite unattractive to me as a group of books.

tmnt_80s_toys_novemer_2016

Then, of course, there are the TMNT toys. While this is not the entirety of my TMNT toys collection…it is a full shelf’s worth, laid out for display at present.

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures004The Incredible Shrinking Turtles Part 2

Script: Beth & Ken Mitchroney
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Inks: Dave Garcia
Letters: Gary Fields
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Cover: Ryan Brown
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie
Cover Date: July 1989
Cover Price: $1.00

This issue resumes from the previous, with Shredder holding a shrunken Empire State Building. Now having shrunk a number of buildings, he presents these to Krang as proof he is worthy of having his Foot-bots returned to him…Krang disagrees. Baxter chimes in with a turtle-tracking device, and Shredder sends him after the turtles. The turtles, meanwhile, have been dealing with things being much bigger than they’re used to, and the trials that come along with that. Escaping sewer dangers they wind up in open water, where Baxter nabs them. Placed in a specimen jar, they’re presented to Krang, and Shredder prepares to smash the miniaturized turtles. Meanwhile, Splinter and April have been stuck in traffic, but conveniently burst onto the scene (Splinter having “sensed” his students nearby and directed April to this place). While Splinter and Shredder fight, the turtles point the crystal fragment out to April, who retrieves it and holds it near them. None know how to “turn it on” but it does its thing on its own, and the turtles are restored to normal size, bursting free from their jar. As it shatters, Donnie’s bo is flung at a machine, saving Splinter. Shredder and Baxter escape with the fragment, and the turtles return home. Reflecting on their adventure, the turtles are presented with miniature pizzas, and the news that everything is back to normal.

Once more, plot-holes abound. I particularly have problems with the turtles’ escape–I can only assume they would’ve been killed WHILE growing in the jar. And the convenience of the bo flying away just right at the exact moment to shut down the machine about to kill Splinter…highly implausible. Perhaps even moreso, though: what the heck happened with the shrunken buildings? The turtles failed to stop Shredder from getting away, failed to retrieve the crystal fragment…and I hardly think Shredder and Baxter would feel generous enough to re-place and re-grow the buildings without the turtles providing intimidating incentive. Part of my problem with this is knowing that this functionally concludes this short ‘run’ on the title, and that the plot point of the shrunken/stolen buildings is (as I recall) never touched on again.

This issue adapts the 2nd half of the Incredible Shrinking Turtles episode, and while not horrible, is a little less “fun” than the previous issue. I blame that on the plot-holes glaring at me far, far more here than in reading #3. This seems a faithful adaptation of the episode, to the point that I have to wonder if everything would have come across without having seen the episode and only reading this issue.

The art is consistent with the previous issue, which obviously makes sense given the creative team carries over from the previous issue. I like the art as it is different from the cartoon and doesn’t have the feel of “trying to be” the cartoon. The characters look uniquely comic-booky while being perfectly recognizable and fitting the story and all that.

We have a change in cover art, moving from the usual Eastman/Laird/Lavigne group to Ryan Brown…a credit I had to look up as it’s not provided in the issue and I couldn’t find it on the cover. The image is a lot more cartoon-ish and doesn’t quite fit the interior, though it dos better than the previous covers with a similar visual style. It’s nothing I particularly like, though I don’t not like it. It just…is.

Despite not disliking this issue, I’m glad to be through it, and ready to dive into the rest of the series. In its own way, this is like the conclusion of a 7-issue mini-series, with next issue–#5–serving (to me) as the TRUE beginning of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, with a creative team that leaves the cartoon behind and tells all-new original stories of the turtles, introducing new mutants and building out a great cast and “universe.”

Re-reading these past few issues–the original 3-issue mini and these 4–I do have a bit of nostalgia for the cartoon, and found myself “hearing” some of the voices in my head as I read. Not a bad thing. Still…other than being artifacts of the time, of being a non-video/VHS way to “experience” the story for kids who love the cartoon, I have very little interest in this issue or its predecessors, and one is truly NOT missing out to skip over them altogether.

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures003The Incredible Shrinking Turtles Part 1

Adaptation: Beth & Ken Mitchroney
Pencilling: Ken Mitchroney
Inking: Dave Garcia
Lettering: Gary Fields
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Cover: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Steve Lavigne
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie
Cover Date: July 1989
Cover Price: $1.00

Straight away, I think this is probably the most “fun” I’ve had re-reading any of these issues so far. The cover image is of course familiar to me–both from simply seeing it through the years as well as being an obvious “Mirage” piece, certainly a large influence of Eastman. The coloring–with all the green–is a little boring, but I am a fan of thick borders around an image…there’s just something about it that works for me, so overall I do like the cover.

I like the interior art quite a bit. Mitchroney keeps a certain “fun” feel to the visuals–and the characters recognizable–while bringing a slightly different style that hasn’t been seen in the Archie issues til this. I think it’s that the turtles look like comic characters here, MEANT FOR comics, rather than just being drawn to look like the tv show. The rest of the characters hold a consistent look to previous issues, but work well to me.

The story is a straight up adaptation of the first part of the cartoon episode, but I like it here. We find the turtles working out and see them interacting when a spaceship crashes in a lake right near where the turtles were hanging out (mighty convenient, that). The turtles leap in to see if there are any survivors, and pull an alien out. The alien references an “Eye of Sarnath” and gives them a device to track the Eye. Shredder (who EXTREMELY CONVENIENTLY has been watching from within a nearby bush) decides he must have the Eye. Later, the turtles are on the hunt, as is Shredder–now having brought Baxter Stockman along. The first piece of the Eye is found on a garbage barge, and while the turtles find it first, Shredder’s right there to take it from them. They fight–Shredder defeating the turtles–and then the piece activates, shrinking the turtles. They escape to the sewers and Splinter enlists April. Before those two can act, they hear a news bulletin about the Empire State Building being shrunk and race to the scene. Already at the scene, Baxter (in a fake Police uniform) takes the shrunken building. Shortly, at Shredder’s hideout we see the villain preparing to use the building as proof of the Eye’s power to convince Krang to send him his foot soldiers.

As usual, there’s a lot crammed into a single issue, though this is thankfully less compressed than the original mini-series. Though the end isn’t much of a cliffhanger, it’s an ok breaking point to me (at least for my not yet having re-read the next issue nor rewatched the actual episode this is based on). There are some monstrous plotholes throughout the issue–something I blame on the simplicity of the cartoon this is adapted from. Despite those, as said above, this issue was a lot more fun to read than the previous five, and I look forward to getting to the second half, and maybe even re-watching the cartoon episode for good measure.

These first few issues had the look of being two-part adaptations of episodes…which could have carried this into the mid-20s on issues if the formula was kept of splitting each episode across two issues. As the first of two parts and the nature of the issues, one doesn’t really need to have read the last couple episodes to “get” this…just know the basics of the turtles and enjoy a “random” story in the (for obvious reasons) style of the ’80s cartoon.

Skipping YEARS ahead (comics-wise) I recall that this story comes back into play, which I think lends to my enjoyment of this issue…particularly with my eagerness to get back into the Clarrain/Allan run.

On the whole…nothing overly special to this issue in and of itself. No particular memories associated with this story beyond where it plays into things that story around #47. But I think it’s safe to say that of these early issues, this one’s my favorite yet!

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #2

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures002Return of the Shredder (part 2 of 2)

Written, Drawn, and Lettered by: Dave Garcia
Adapted from Scripts by: Christy Marx and David Weiss
Colored by: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Cover by: Eastman, Laird, Lavigne
Published by: Archie/Mirage
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: May 1989

This issue gives us the second part of the adaptation of Return of the Shredder. There’s a lot going on in the issue as it zips through the second half of the episode. Shredder breaks Baxter Stockman out of the asylum he’s being held in and recruits him to build the greatest rat-catcher ever–which he does, capturing Splinter while the turtles are out. The turtles, meanwhile, find and take down the fake turtles gang and discover a message from Shredder. This leads them to a confrontation with the villain as he stands by with Splinter ctied to a wall and a huge battering ram situated to swing down once its rope is cut. Baxter bursts in with his modified forklift/rat-trap and provides the distraction the turtles need to rescue their master. Shredder escapes, taking Baxter with him, and tries to explain the failure to Krang. Back at April’s office, we see her boss’s fling end, and the turtles have a meta-moment in the lair watching her news report on the capture of the Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang.

Story-wise, I’m still not impressed with this. I hold that for me, at least, looking back across 20+ years–there’s little characterization here and most of what I “know” is experiential rather than learned from the issue. There are plot-holes a truck (or giant rat-catcher) could be driven through, and things seem overly simplified in their way. I also continue to lay the bulk of the blame for that on this being an adaptation, and the material it had to work from (to say nothing of the fact that this is aimed more at the audience of the ’80s cartoon series, and my present-day self is certainly far from being the target audience). That said, the adaptation is pretty faithful to the cartoon, enough so that I can “hear” the characters’ voices as I read.

Visually, the issue is in a middle ground somewhere. The art is solid, good, but not exactly a favorite. All the characters are recognizable except April’s coworker Irma, who just looks significantly “off” from her appearance in the cartoon. Beyond that my main issue with the art is primarily that it doesn’t match the cartoon exactly, and the differences are very noticeable.

Overall, the issue simply “is what it is,” the second of a two-part adaptation of a single episode. Which is far preferable to the “ultra-compressed” nature of the mini-series. While this is still compressed by contemporary standards, it fits well enough into its place in history.

My copy of this issue is in fairly rough shape–a bit yelled, rough edges, the cover doesn’t quite line up with the pages. The cover image works well, though, and is far superior to any of the interior panels of the turtles facing Baxter.

I’m looking forward to the next issue, as it’s a story I haven’t read or particularly thought about in quite awhile…plus, I’m looking forward to getting into the “new stories” that made me love this series, beginning with #5.

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #1

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures001Return of the Shredder (part 1 of 2)

Art and letters by: Dave Garcia
Adapted from Scripts by: Christy Marx and David Wise
Color by: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Cover: Eastman, Laird, Lavigne
Published by: Mirage/Archie
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: March 1989

We begin the issue with Mikey and Leo in a supermarket, doing some casual shopping. A couple of would-be thieves try to hold up the place, but the turtles stop them without any trouble at all. Back home, they wax nostalgic of the workout Shredder’s foot-bots gave them. Meanwhile in Dimension X, Shredder laments his recent defeat and begs Krang to send him back to earth. Tiring of the whining, Krang does so…but sends him alone. To Shredder’s surprise, he’s been left without any of his previous resources, and must make do with himself and anything new he can do.

Still meanwhile, at Channel 6, April’s boss has a new girlfriend who hates turtles, and thus he tries to impress her by pushing an anti-turtle agenda that April (of course) rebels against. Shredder recruits some thugs at a dojo and has them dress in turtle costumes…on the idea that if he turns the citizenry against the turtles, they’ll be forced to come out to defend themselves. Krang disagrees, and maintains his strict notion: Shredder’s on his own until he produces results. We leave off on Shredder musing that he’s left with just one place to turn…

While still rather corny and hokey (and I mostly blame the plot the comic’s creative team had to work with), this is a huge step up from the initial mini-series. While that was cramming nearly an episode and a half into each issue, this series gives the adaptation room to breathe. This entire issue comprises a mere HALF of one single episode.

The story feels a lot more open and a bit more complex as a result of the extra space for pacing. However, the characters all still seem rather surfacey and underdeveloped. If I didn’t already know plenty about them, I’d hardly know one from another. Additionally, April’s coworkers are little more than plot-point gags.

The art has a much different feel to it while maintaining a certain familiarity. The creative team is different from the mini-series, and other than the cover doesn’t seem to be utilizing any names I recognize as being from Mirage. The art isn’t bad, but it’s not wonderful…though I do definitely appreciate the layouts and that we aren’t given a bunch of huge splash panels or full or double-page splashes. This sticks very much to a “typical” comics feel and appearance, just differentiated by the turtles.

All in all, nothing terribly special about the issue–though I definitely like the cover. It’s one of the most “iconic” to me, and to this day it would hold up well as a poster or some oversized print, I think.

This was one of my earliest #1 issues of anything…back when #1s were actually a ‘special’ and significant thing, not something that came around every year or two for the same series again and again. Though I remember this as one of my earliest, I can’t honestly remember where I got this issue–whether it was a $5 issue at Capp’s Comics, or something I found at Comics & Collectibles. And I’m pretty sure I did not get it through American Entertainment–I remember a couple other issues from the mail-order route.

While I’ll get to it when I cover it, I’m actually more inclined to count these earliest issues as a longer mini-series, and see #5 of TMNT Adventures as being the true first issue of the run.

%d bloggers like this: