Friday, July 29, 2016

I've got a TMNT Universe #1 variant coming (NES style)!

IDW dug the variant cover Tim (Ninjaink) and I did for Bebop & Rocksteady #1, so they let us do another for TMNT Universe #1!

This one will be for Heroes & Fantasies in San Antonio.  It'll go on sale on their website (and at the store) when the book releases at the end of August.  I'll update with a link when that happens.

As you can see, it's an homage to the first NES video game box art, which itself was a redressing of my favorite piece of Michael Dooney TMNT art:

Hope some of you dig it!  TMNT Universe #1 is currently scheduled for an August 24th release.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Tournament

Originally published in: TMNT Amazing Adventures #6
Publication date: January 13, 2016

Story and art: Fabian Rangel & Billy Martin
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

"The Tournament"


As the Turtles leave for their nightly patrol, Splinter warns them that they have been resorting to violence far too frequently as a solution.  He challenges them to use only their brains to solve any problems they might face tonight.

From the rooftops, the Turtles spot the Purple Dragons shaking down the owner of the Emporium Pizza & Arcade for protection money.  The Turtles swoop down and challenge the Dragons to a video gaming tournament: Loser has to leave the Emporium forever, winner gets free pizza for a month.  The Dragons agree.

First up is Donatello, who is challenged to arcade basketball.  Using his knowledge of geometry, he wins handily.

Second up is Raphael, who is challenged to skeeball.  His lack of patience leads to a loss for the Turtles.

Third is Michelangelo, who is challenged to a dancing/timing game.  Mikey dominates.

And last is Leonardo, who is challenged to a game of Space Heroes pinball.  His victory is so easy it happens off-panel.

The Dragons, having lost, leave the Emporium forever.  And the Turtles, having won, are given free pizza for a month by the grateful owner.

Later, down in the lair, Splinter compliments his sons on finding a non violent solution.  Casey asks April on a date to the Emporium and she shoots him down (much to Donatello's pleasure).  Raph then notices that Mikey ate the last of the pizza and tackles his brother, leaving Splinter to sigh that his sons still have much to learn in the ways of non violence.

Turtle Tips:

*The series continues in TMNT Amazing Adventures #7.


As far as backups that have to teach kids a lesson in non violent problem-solving are concerned, this one was... palatable.  When your story is about how "violence is always wrong, find a better way", from the getgo it's going to be a certain level of lame no matter how good you try to make it.  Rangel and Martin get a little fun out of it, though.

I kinda feel like maybe the Turtles and the Dragons should have tied 2-to-2 and then had to settle things with a tie-breaker, if only because the story could have used a smidgen of tension.  Then again, this was the backup so maybe there just wasn't enough room for five rounds (hell, Leo's victory happens off-panel).

The artwork is nice, though the Turtles have very defined... "cheekbones" in this aesthetic.  Actually, it looks like the artist inked too much of the structure circle when he really should have erased it.  Also, the letterer (Lee) makes another booboo (he made one in the other story in this issue) and attributes some of Leo's lines to Raph.  That never helps.

Anyway, I guess since this is the kids comic in IDW's TMNT line, they're obligated to include stories with a moral.  Though expecting a a bloodthirsty street gang to accept your skeeball challenge and then honor the results is being perhaps a tiny bit naive.

Tea-Time for a Turtle, Part 2

Originally published in: TMNT Amazing Adventures #6
Publication date: January 13, 2016

Story: Peter DiCicco
Art: Chad Thomas
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

"Tea-Time for a Turtle, Part 2"


In the alley, Tiger Claw and Baxter Stockman have the Turtles pinned while Donatello continues to try and reach Leonardo on the T-phone.  At Chloe's, Leo eventually decides to pick-up and gets a rundown of the danger his brothers are in.  He cuts tea-time short and puts a protesting Chloe to bed, but not before making her promise not to follow him.  She promises, but with her fingers crossed.

Leo arrives at the fight and manages to shove Stockman into the path of Tiger Claw's ice beam, freezing him.  Tiger Claw then draws his machete and charges the Turtles, only to have the battle interrupted by Chloe, who of course followed Leo.  The Turtles try to whisk Chloe to safety as Tiger Claw pursues them.

They take shelter in a nearby park and hide behind a bench.  The Turtles are out of ideas on how to stop Tiger Claw while also protecting a little girl.  Chloe says she's tired of playing "tag" with the "kitty" and asks if they can go swimming in the fountain, instead.  This gives Leo an idea.

As Tiger Claw prowls the park, he spots Chloe playing in the fountain.  He leaps into the fountain to take her hostage, but Michelangelo swoops in at the last second and grabs her.  As Tiger Claw lands in the water, Raphael damages his jetpack, making it explode and soak him in a geyser of water.  A well-thrown shuriken then damages his ice gun, causing it to also explode and freeze him along with the water in the fountain.  The Turtles then triumphantly take Chloe home.

At Chloe's place, her father peeks in to check up on her and finds her sleeping soundly in bed.  When he closes the door, the Turtles emerge from the darkness to bid Chloe good night.  She asks if they can stay for one more tea party, especially Raph, whom she thinks is in desperate need of being civilized.  The Turtles agree to stay a little longer.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from "Tea-Time for a Turtle, Part 1".


It was cute.

I can't really think of anything more substantial to say about this story.  Just that it was cute.  Admittedly, what could have been a very obnoxious script was ultimately salvaged by Chad Thomas's art, as he infuses it with cartoonish pep and makes Chloe adorable when the writing is very clearly calling for her to be bratty.  Under another artist, this might not have been an enjoyable two-parter at all.

There are some inconsistencies and errors in this half of the story; you might notice some and you might not.  Breckel can't seem to decide whether Chloe's lips should be colored skin tone or if they should be colored like lipstick.  Lee attributes a dialogue box to Tiger Claw that was meant for Chloe, so at one point in the story it seems like Tiger Claw is playing tag with himself.

And then there's the labored set up with the ice gun, acting like it was vital to not only get Tiger Claw in the fountain but to also get him completely soaked, otherwise the exploding ice gun wouldn't freeze him.  But then, just a few pages earlier, the ice gun was capable of freezing Stockman into a perfect ice cube without the need of an outside water source, so all they really needed to do was make the gun malfunction.  All that stuff with the fountain was unnecessary.

But I dunno, I'm kind of nitpicking a very simple story that was meant to be cute first and coherent second.  Some might raise an eyebrow about four teenage boys sneaking into a little girl's bedroom in the dead of night to play with her, warning her to be quiet lest she wake her father, but let's all just pretend this is innocent fun and leave the horrors of our sick reality behind us for 12 pages.