Monday, 23 November 2009

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; End of an Era

In the early eighties Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created a parody comic that they then sold at the local comic convention. They hoped that it would sell. Oh boy, did it sell.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of my fondest childhood memories. My first exposure was the '87 cartoon, and I bet most of us do know the Turtles through that series alone. Yet I distinctly remember that single day when I was in the fifth grade when I saw this comic book at my local library, this single comic. The cover was so familiar, but different. The Turtles I knew were there, all wearing a red bandana, grittier and darker than what I've ever seen. The cover reminded me of the NES game cover and I knew somehow that in my hands rested something really damn awesome.

It was the first Finnish print of the Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the one and only original black and white comic. And I fell in love with the world of Turtles once more.

The world of the original TMNT is dark and gritty, filled with abominations and beauties, magic and fantastic technology. More importantly, it's a parody. I never took it as a parody, but I've learned to see all the subtle hints and splashes. It's funny how TMNT was meant to be a one-shot comic and it grew into something global.
Nevertheless, even thou there has been more than a dozen different version of the Turtles, I find myself still loving the original B&W comics. I can't pinpoint the reason other than that it has that something. That something special, a sparkle of paper white enhanced with a thick line of ink. I can't describe how much I love these works, and now I feel that we will never see THE original Turtles as an animation, movie or in any other medium ever again, as Mirage comics, the original creators and publishers, has sold all TMNT rights to Nickeledeon.

A cover of TMNT Vol.1 Book 31. One of the many different worlds, one of more interesting, mystical.

I have no hopes whatsoever for the future. What comes of future animations and movies comes. I only wish that the '87 cartoon won't have any larger impact on the upcoming animation, as it must be left as it is. The 2003 series was perfect update to the original comics with a twist from the Archie comics and small nods from '87 cartoon, but I really hope that the new series does its own things. If they want to recycle something once more, then they should just do a direct adaptation.

I enjoyed the '87 cartoon. I enjoyed Archie's TMNT Adventures comics. I enjoyed the 2003 series altogether. Still, for reasons unknown even to me I simply love the original Mirage Studios' TMNT.
To me all other Turtles from now on are something different, completely out of place. I may enjoy them, but I believe I will honour the Mirage Comics, as they still carry the spirit of the past. The joys and sadness, hardships and victories and all that all indie publishers go through. Whether TMNT is a sellout or not sn't the question any more. Mirage studios sold TMNT, and thus got rid of their flag franchise. For the last ten years Mirage didn't really out much effort into TMNT during the last ten years anyway, but at least we got the awesome 2003 series.

I honour Eastman and Laird, but I had hoped that their passion for the characters they created had lasted. Now I can only look back and see all the great things TMNT has brought to me, to us all. The stories, characters, toys and that damn catchy theme tune.
TMNT is dead and is going to reborn from its flames like a phoenix. We will see what kind of bird it will be.

What can I say? The Turtles have been around for the last 25 years, and their strikes have been hard, and now, they are fading away... in to the night.

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