Tag Archives: April O’Neil

Astonishing Art: TMNT by Matt DeMino

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It honestly wasn’t my intent to do another “Astonishing Art” so soon after the last one. Much less another dedicated to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But today’s piece popped up in my Instagram feed today, and I simply couldn’t resist.

Chances are at some point you’ve seen the image at right, or at least some version of it. It’s the classic Norman Rockwell painting “The Runaway,” which made its debut on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1958. It’s textbook Rockwellian America. A naive young runaway sits in a diner under the protective eyes of a policeman and the counterman. As one might imagine, artists have been tipping their hat to it for a long time.

Cast in point, our subject today: A TMNT-inspired spin on “The Runaway” by Matt DeMino. This piece first appeared on the official TMNT Twitter account yesterday.

Damn. Right in the feels. Especially as an ’80s kid who grew up on a steady Ninja Turtles diet. Who among us didn’t run around with a pillow on our backs and a ninja headband on? The boys in green were our heroes, This image could have been plucked from the dreams of a million kids back then. It still could today.

But this one is clearly for the ’80s/’90s crowd. The references to the three original live action movies are pretty blatant. Casey Jones is sporting his look from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. You’ve got the Shredder helmet from that same movie on the counter. The scepter from the third movie is sitting at Raph’s feet. And on the lower left, you can see the broken canister from The Secret of the Ooze. Yeah, you might say I’ve watched those movies a few times…

This isn’t the first time DeMino has been commissioned to work on the Ninja Turtles. The piece at left came out on Thanksgiving last year. Note the same analog Coke can design in both scenes.

Clearly, DeMino’s take on the Turtles and Splinter is very reminiscent of the old movies. Hey, that’s how I’d do it too. That original Steve Barron film is still the definitive presentation of the TMNT, for my money. After all these years, it still holds up.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

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A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65 Review – Sewer Christmas Party

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65, 2016, cover, ChristmasTITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65
AUTHOR: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
PENCILLER:
Mateus Santolouco
PUBLISHER:
IDW Publishing
PRICE:
$3.99
RELEASED: 
December 14, 2016

***Need to catch up? Check out last issue!***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I didn’t expect to like this issue as much as I did, primarily because of what happened in issue #61. I’ve called that “the meeting issue,” because it contains one of the oddest scenes I’ve ever seen in a TMNT book. It’s essentially a big war council scene with all the good guys talking strategy. The promise of all these characters being together for a Christmas party, along with my general distaste for “Christmas episodes” (bah humbug), made me nervous. Thankfully, this story about a Christmas party stays fairly upbeat, and weaves in some nice character work.

The boys in green are more in need of holiday cheer than ever. They now find themselves estranged from their Master Splinter after the events of issue #64. Mikey throws a Christmas party in an attempt to boost morale. But one question remains unanswered: Who invited the Mutanimals?

tmnt-65, pepperoniMateus Santolouco is back on the pencil for this issue. I’ve been a little critical of him in recent months. But given how long he’s worked on this series, his art does feel like a homecoming of sorts. Santolouco is also tremendous at injecting excitement and enthusiasm into his characters. Look at Mikey on the cover. Look at the way he draws Pigeon Pete. Cartoony? Yes. But also a lot of fun.

This issue was also my first exposure to Pepperoni, Raphael’s pet baby dinosaur. Having skipped Turtles in Time and Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything, I was woefully unprepared for this little pink creature running around. On the upside, Santolouco makes him an adorable addition.

While I’ll keep things spoiler free, Splinter makes a brief appearance in this issue. Tonally, it’s odd. We left things in a very somber, painful place with Splinter last month. This month he’s feeling rather…Christmasy. It’s a cool idea. But Splinter is the one character I would have kept immune to all this holiday cheer.

This issue also introduced Angel/Nobody to Woody the pizza guy. This had sort of a Steve-Urkel-meets-Laura-Winslow vibe to it. (Look it up, kids.) This could very well have been a one-off. But it was charming enough to merit a revisit down the road.

TMNT #65 was a nice bit of levity, and a break from the intensity we’ve had in the last few months. Though I suspect next month we’ll crank that intensity right back up. So we may want to enjoy this respite while we can.

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A TMNT Universe #1 Review – “Your First Step into a Larger World.”

TMNT Universe #1, Freddie E. Williams II, coverTITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #1
AUTHORS: Paul Allor, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
PENCILLERS: Damian Couceiro, Bill Sienkiewicz, Eastman. Cover by Freddie E. Williams II.
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $4.99
RELEASED: August 31, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, and the crew at IDW have been creating good to great TMNT comics for several years now. This new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe series opens the door for even more. If this freshman issue is an indicator of things to come, we’ve got mostly good things ahead of us.

The Turtles and April O’Neil are hoping they can make an ally of Baxter Stockman. But Agent Bishop and the Earth Protection Force are in hot pursuit of the boys in green. Our heroes will soon find themselves in a fight to survive. Then in our back-up story, Leo faces off against the Foot Clan by himself. Despite his skills, he may be hopelessly outnumbered.

Paul Allor is no stranger to the Turtles, having written a number of their adventures for IDW. His experience is evident here, as he writes a damn good opening page. We get a glimpse into Bishop’s psyche, and why he opposes mutants the way he does. It’s a misguided, though relatable sentiment.

TMNT Universe #1, sonic weaponAllor uses this first issue to remind us that the Turtles, and mutants in general, are isolated and at times hated. Though Bishop’s motivation, while villainous, is relatable in its own way. As one might expect, the most emotional reaction we get comes from Raphael, and it’s used effectively to close the issue.

Allor also isn’t bad with the repartee between the Turtles. Panels like the one above aren’t exactly dripping with wit. But they’ve got a nice charm to them that we don’t always have time for in the main TMNT series.

Couceiro, who’s on both the pen and inks for this issue, is a solid fit for the Turtles. He’s got a really nice command of light and shadow, which obviously bodes well for our shadow-bound heroes. He also doesn’t draw their bandanas too large, which I tend to chide Mateus Santolouco, and more recently Dave Watcher for. I do, however, have one thing to nitpick: His Turtles are very toothy. He draws toothy Turtles. Panels like the ones below actually take me out of the story, as I can’t help but stare at their teeth. On the plus side, they’re very white. Splinter must have gotten the boys good dental insurance.

TMNT Universe #1, back-up, LeonardoOur back-up story is about Leo trailing a Foot ninja, who as it turns out, has some friends. A lot of friends. When I initially read this story, I thought it was scripted by Kevin Eastman. Leo’s inner monologue reads like one of the original Mirage books. He seems more like an easy going teenager, and less like the disciplined leader we usually see. But the issue credits Tom Waltz for the script. I’m not sure why Leo is so casual here. It almost strikes me as out of character.

This is also a premise that’s been done to perfection in both the original Eastman and Laird series, and the IDW series. It’s Leo against a bunch of foot ninjas. This story is set to continue next issue, so hopefully they do something with this concept we haven’t seen before. Eastman handles the page layouts, slowing the pace a bit to take us into the action. Bill Sienkiewicz and colorist Tomi Varga are a good fit for the Turtles, providing the gritty, street-level feel the story needs.

Like many things in life, this issue reminds me of a line from Star Wars. In the original 1977 film, Obi-Wan says to Luke: “You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.” In a sense, that’s what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #1 is. Chances are good that this series will really enrich what IDW has created for the Turtles. Dare I say, cowabunga?

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A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Review – 30 Years in the Making

Teenage+and+BustersTITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters
AUTHORS: Tom Waltz, Erik Burnham
PENCILLERS: Dan Schoening, Cory Smith, Charles Paul Wilson III
COLLECTS: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #1-4
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
GRAPHIC NOVEL PRICE: $17.99
GRAPHIC NOVEL RELEASE DATE:
April 2015

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

By God…dreams do come true.

If you’re a child of the ‘80s, this story is instantly epic simply because it exists. The Ghostbusters and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, two staples of ‘80s pop culture (pop culture in general, I suppose), are together at last. What’s more, they’re in the hands of creators who actually know what they’re doing! The premise alone is enough to prompt a geek out. Hell, they didn’t even need to give this story a title. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters was enough.

Indeed, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of both franchises, IDW has brought them together in this four-issue miniseries. After an accident with Donatello’s transdimensional portal, the Turtles, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones find themselves in an alternate version of New York City where ghosts run amok…until the boys in gray show up to quell the chaos. But oddly enough, a new piece of that spectral chaos emerges that is connected to the Turtles and their universe. And matters grow worse when Casey finds himself caught in the crossfire.

TMNT/Ghostbusters, DonatelloYes, they took the multiverse route with this one. It was their only option, really. The notion that the Turtles and the Ghostbusters inhabit the same universe, much less the same city, raises too many questions. Most of the story takes place in the Ghostbusters’ world, which again, raises less questions. Could Peter, Ray, and the guys be of use against the Foot Clan, Krang, or some kind of ghostly mutant? Probably. But keeping them in their element is a good way to protect them, and make sure they’re able to stand on equal footing as the Turtles.

In truth, this story doesn’t need a lot of complex storytelling elements to be good. All you really need to do is give them a common enemy to fight, then put the characters next to each other, and let them write themselves. It’s a lot of comparing and contrasting, and playing with the different imagery associated with both worlds. Heck, it’s almost a science (*rim shot*) in and of itself. For instance…

– In the second issue Ray and Donatello are comparing notes about how the Turtles switched dimensions, and generally talking science stuff. Venkman then leans over to Raph and says: “So you have one like that, too, huh?” Raph replies: “At least it’s just one.”

– In the same issue, Leo and Winston have a bonding moment over being the more level-headed ones in their respective groups. They fist-bump.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters, April, Venkman– The second issue closes with Donatello wearing a proton pack. A goddamn Ninja Turtle, wearing a goddamn proton pack. No lie.

Given the story takes place in the Ghostbusters’ world, Dan Schoening was the logical choice to take the reigns for most of the art, along with colorist Luis Delgado. As fans, we can all be thankful for that. Schoening’s more animated style is a perfect fit for both the Turtles and the Ghostbusters. And he’s just got a great flare for ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia. Look at his DeviantArt page and you’ll see not only the Ghostbusters, but Back to the Future, vintage Nintendo, A Christmas Story, and a plethora of other throwback material, in addition to your standard comic book superhero stuff. Make no mistake about it, this is his arena.

A lot of the variant covers done for this story are really cool too. Kevin Eastman did the retail incentive cover for issue #1, which is another big thrill for ‘80s comic geeks. Brent Peeples put together a pretty awesome cover to issue #2 with Raph throwing a ghost trap. But my favorite by far has to be Cory Smith’s cover for issue #3, with Mikey wearing a proton pack. The look on his face makes the cover.

My only major complaint about this book is its villain. Chi-You, an actual Chinese war deity, and in the IDW universe the brother of Kitsune from TMNT, is essentially a mildly spooky looking soundboard for clichéd villain dialogue. He spouts clunkers like…

– “When you next see me, you will regret it!”
– “I will peel the flesh from your bones!”
– “Fool. Your skills are nothing compared to mine!”

chi-you-is-a-ghostI’m a big fan of both Waltz and Burnham, and I’ll reiterate that this story is more about the thrill of seeing these two teams next to each other than anything else. Hell, I even like the choice of the Chinese war god. But Chi-You actually threatens to take you out of the story at times because you’re rolling your eyes so hard.

Still, as a lifelong die-hard fan of both the TMNT and the GBs, I was happy with what we got here. It’s not a masterpiece by any means. But it was, give or take, exactly what you wanted to see from a Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters team up. The characters got to play in each other’s sandboxes, and we all got to watch the fun ensue. I’m sure IDW could easily go back to the well with these two franchises if they wanted to. But frankly, I’m more concerned with Burnham and Schoening getting a monthly Ghostbusters series again. C’mon guys, let’s make that happen!

RATING: 7/10

Image 1 from tmntentity.blogspot.com. Image 2 from adventuresinpoortaste.com. Image 3 from retcon-punch.com.

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