Tuesday, August 6, 2013

365 Comics...215: Tales of the TMNT #48 (2008)

[Man, the summer schedule really gets in the way of daily blogging...]

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were never really my thing.  To me, they were the supplantor of the Masters of the Universe at the top of the toy/cartoon, the enemy.  You couldn't like both, and I chose the losing side.  I wasn't interested in martial arts or reptiles, and by the time the cartoon hit I was feeling a little too old for the whole anthropomorphic thing.  Even thought I was still a comic book nut, and I knew (or eventually knew) the TMNT originated in comic books, the concept just seemed out of my realm of understanding.  There are defining works of popular culture in every generation, and it seems that within my generation there were those kids who loved He-Man, the ones who loved Transformers, the ones who loved G.I. Joe, and at the tail end, the seemingly youngest ones who loved TMNT (we all loved Star Wars equally).

I've poked my nose into the Turtles a few times over the years, a peek at the original comics, an anniversary issue or two in the 90's, maybe even one of the live action films...once... (I may have owned a soundtrack at one point) but the appeal just never came.  It's no He-Man.  It saddens me though that the Ninja Turtles have managed to revitalize, nearly as strongly as its original pop-culture explosion incarnation, whereas Masters of the Universe continues mainly to satiate its aging fanbase, unable to find the same level of appeal for a younger audience.

A couple decades later my daughter has found room in her pop culture life for both the original He-Man cartoons and the new TMNT animated adventures.  MOTU seems to be winning out as the favourite as she's gotten quite inquisitive and obsessive about the old action figures, but if MOTU is winning it may be because my own prejudice towards the Turtles has me spending money on Skeletors instead of Shredders.

This issue of the B&W anthology Tales of the TMNT, found recently by my daughter in a 3/$1 bin, begins with a single page introduction that implies the subsequent stories will be about family.  What follows is a passable story about the downfall of the nefarious mayor of Springfield, nicknamed The Decider (seems a bit late in the day to poke fun at George W. Bush), but nothing to do with family.  A second, 4-page story, "One's Shadow" doesn't really make any sense at all, as Raphael fights his shadow demons (I imagine this to be supplemental to some other TMNT story, but I don't rightly know).

Taken on face value, The Decider was a bit heavy for my 4-year-old (One's Shadow I skipped over completely), but at the same time I could skew the voices and the telling of the story enough to be more lighthearted and in the tone of the current animated series.  The Archie Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, rather than the Mirage series, would probably be more her speed.

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