Turtle Island

[I put this together yesterday morning as a photo album on Facebook. I've wanted to write about this for while, and having the visual aids seemed like a good reason, but I just couldn't think of a great way or medium in which to do it. The photo album idea seemed clever at the time, but as I was finishing up I realized I wasn't satisfied having it there. Since the finished product wasn't *that* different from my Chasing Amy blog, I thought I'd try it here too. This is the unedited version. Enjoy.-- The Management]

I found these pages on a scan site [not one of *those* scan sites, just one of the places that does a few pages for nostalgia's sake], and wanted to share them. They're from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #61, published in October of 1994 by Archie Comics.
The Archie comics spun out of the cartoon, but were "revamped" with Mirage staff when they weren't selling.The artwork is by Jim Lawson, the letterer is Gary Fields, the inks are by Ryan Brown. The writer is "Dean Clarrain," which years later was revealed to be pseudonym of Stephen Murphy, who would go on to write the 2003 TV show [and I believe he was also involved in the recent CGI-feature film].

Significant, because this was one of the first comics I ever read. Probably one of the first 50 I ever owned. Let me put that in perspective. Without bragging, I think my current collection stands around 5,000+. I've read more. And this was part of a small stash I had at my grandmother's, which I tended to read from casually, sitting sideways in her armchair, whenever I was there.
You probably notice these seem... odd. Murphy apparently fought with Archie Comics a lot to get content like this in. Inside were stories about spirituality, sacrifice, global warming, Communist China... a few issues before this, there was a splash page of Hell. So on the front covers were the cartoon turtles from the 90s TV series...

...and inside was this. Did I understand it? No, I don't think I was that savvy then [I'm not sure I'm that savvy now]. I mostly just wanted to see the Turtles beat up some bad guys. But when the books were like this, I never felt ripped off or lied to. I also never felt talked-down to, either -- this stuff was all here, and I was welcome to take it and try and figure it out on my own, or not. It was there, and I could deal with it when I wanted, if I ever wanted.

I think about these 8 pages a lot. Hard to intimate how much they'd affected me, how the tone of certain themes in the book, like the recurring idea of "Dreamland," would help shake me from the mindset that everything needed explained [I like to believe the groundwork laid here was one of the reasons my usual stubbornness didn't kick in when Steven Bach eventually told me just that]. I'd often show them to people. Mostly, they'd be laughed at, called heavy-handed, or be outright dismissed because of the TMNT aspect. Eventually, I stopped. I wasn't keen to have something already so ingrained in me dissected like that. Insecurities.

Eventually I misplaced the book... but that was fine, I think I was okay just keeping it close to my chest. Still, when I came across them tonight, on an occasion when I actually was thinking about them, and realized how much they've stuck with me, and influenced my own work with what they made me feel back then.Considering this, the ending of Adventures #61 still seems stirringly apropos.


Credit to Archie Comics, Mirage Studios, and Scans_Daily.

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