Publication date: Summer, 1994
Script: Paul Castiglia
Art: Stan Sakai
Colors: Barry Grossman
Edits: Dean Clarrain (Steve Murphy)/Scott Fulop
Managing edits: Victor Gorelick
“Be a Star”
Down in the lair, the Turtles are going over a photo album Don put together. When they get to the picture of Headrush, they begin to wonder how their little magical mole buddy is doing now that he’s back in his other dimensional world of Glum.
*Headrush last appeared in “Full Circle”.
*A photo of Usagi Yojimbo can be seen just below Headrush in the TMNT’s photo album. An Usagi stuffed doll can also be seen on the couch on page 11.
*Some time has passed between this story and "Full Circle", but it still can't happen before TMNT Adventures #28. I personally just place it after TMNT Adventures #27.
Castiglia’s script for this second Headrush story in TMNT Adventures Special #9 easily outshines his initial effort, being far more fun and memorable. We actually get a better idea of Headrush’s personality as more of a con artist than an obnoxious prankster and I greatly prefer that take. The skewed moral compass also makes the knowledge that Cudley the Cowlick keeps him in line with blackmail a little easier to swallow (as Cudley is usually a nice guy and we’d need a good reason for him to hold a being in servitude like that). The ending lesson is ham-fisted as Hell, but at least the moral is kept mostly to the last few panels and everything preceding it is more preoccupied with being entertaining than educational.
The real attraction, though, is Stan Sakai’s fantastic cartooning. His lively, action-packed and often cute style just elevates this whole story beyond what it has any right to be. Sakai has such a great command of humor and charm that even jokes that sound dull on paper (a montage of Headrush complimenting himself) will capture your attention and make you smile.
What was fun for me was seeing Sakai let loose and draw places and props that weren’t themed around Feudal Japan. I’ve only ever read his Usagi Yojimbo stuff (and the occasional TMNT crossover), so I’ve never gotten to see how he handles other settings and sight gags. It was great seeing him draw everything from TV studios to barbarians to adding machines.
“Be a Star” is a decent story gifted with a great artist. It’s definitely worth snagging this TMNT Adventures Special for, especially if you’re already a fan of Sakai’s work.
Grade: B+ (as in, “But I’m a little disappointed that they got Jeff Smith to do the cover of this Special but not any of the stories”.)