Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Archie TMNT Adventures continuity timeline


Foreword:

After I completed my previous research article, “The Mirage TMNT Continuity Timeline”, I began receiving requests to construct a similar chronological reading order for Archie’s TMNT Adventures series. For the most part, the Archie series is a far more intuitive, cut and dry read than the Mirage series. As such, there’s no need for a complex Key and color-coding system this time around.

Really, the primary confusion of the TMNT Adventures series involves discerning where the abundant miniseries and Specials should go in relation to the ongoing series. This would often prove more difficult than I had anticipated, as the stories published in the Specials tended to contradict the ongoing series from time to time. Additionally, the ongoing series featured a very tight-knit narrative, allowing for a slim number of storytelling gaps where the miniseries and Specials could place. As such, you’ll tend to find a lot of these stories bunched up in certain places.

For rationalizations on why I placed each story where I did, click “Review” and then scroll down to the “Turtle Tips” section of each individual article. Many stories are rather ambiguous and could take place more or less anywhere in the timeline (providing gaps in story serialization), so I often placed those tales where they “felt right”.

I’ve also included some notations at the end of this article for convenience, detailing certain anomalies or points of interest.

Anyhow, with IDW currently rereleasing Archie’s TMNT Adventures catalog in trade paperback form, the material is now easier to find and afford than ever before. They likely won’t be publishing them in proper story chronology, so with any luck, this reading order will prove a useful resource to collectors trying to read the whole story in sequence.

Enjoy!



HEROES IN A HALF-SHELL (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures (miniseries) #1 – “Heroes in a Half-Shell! Part I” (review)
TMNT Adventures (miniseries) #2 – “Heroes in a Half-Shell! Part II” (review)
TMNT Adventures (miniseries) #3 – “Heroes in a Half-Shell! Part III” (review)
TMNT Adventures #1 – “Return of the Shredder, Part I” (review)
TMNT Adventures #2 – “Return of the Shredder, Part II” (review)
TMNT Adventures #3 – “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles, Part I” (review)
TMNT Adventures #4 – “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles, Part II” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #10 – “Zen Million Years to Birth” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #3 – “The Night of Monsterex” (review)
TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Origin of the Species” (review)

THE FINAL CONFLICT (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures Vol. 1 – “Metamorphosis” prologue (review)
TMNT Adventures #5 – “Something Fishy Goes Down” (review)
TMNT Adventures #6 – “Of Turtles and Stones and Mary Bones” (review)
TMNT Adventures #7 – “Intergalactic Wrestling” (review)
Mirage Mini Comics Collection story #3 – “A Forgotten TMNT Adventure” (review)
TMNT Adventures #8 – “Wild Things” (review)
TMNT Adventures #9 – “Codename: Chameleon” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #5 – “Yo-Ho-Ho! And a Bottle of Mutagen!” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #6 – “Doomsday Hassle in Banshee Castle” (review)
TMNT Adventures Vol. 1 – “Metamorphosis” epilogue (review)
TMNT Adventures #10 – “Going Down?” (review)
TMNT Adventures #11 – “White Light” (review)
TMNT Adventures #12 – “The Lost World” (review)
TMNT Adventures #13 – “The Final Conflict” (review)

THE MIGHTY MUTANIMALS (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Green Legs and Gams” (review)
TMNT Adventures #14 – “Leave Heaven Alone” (review)
TMNT Adventures #15 – “The Howling of Distant Shadows” (review)
TMNT Adventures #16 – “Dredging the Ocean Blue” (review)
TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Red Sails in the Sunset” (review)
TMNT Adventures #17 – “Fight the Power” (review)
TMNT Adventures #18 – “Mondo Metal” (review)
TMNT Adventures #19 – “The Man Who Sold the World” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals (miniseries) #1 – “The Wild Angels” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals (miniseries) #2 – “Under a Big Black Sun” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals (miniseries) #3 – “Ride of the Ruthless!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #20 – “Sun and Steel” (review)
TMNT Adventures #21 – “Space Junk Face Funk Cyber Punk Thief” (review)
TMNT Adventures #22 – “Rat Trap” (review)

THE SLASH TRILOGY (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures Special #4 – “Louie’s Pasture, Part 1” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #4 – “Pig Heaven, Part 2” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #8 – “Cleaver’s Critters” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #5 – “The Darkest Hour” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #6 – “The Darkest Hour II” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #3 – “Monsters are the Rage!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #23 – “Search and Destroy” (review)
TMNT Adventures #24 – “Gimme Danger!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #25 – “Raw Power” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #9 – “Full Circle” (review)
April O’Neil: The May East Saga #1 – “Lost Island of Past Lives” (review)
April O’Neil: The May East Saga #2 – “The Battle for Splinter’s Brain” (review)
April O’Neil: The May East Saga #3 – “Splinter’s Wicked Headache” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #7 – “It Takes Guts…” (review)
TMNT Adventures #26 – “The Keeper” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #1 – “If a Tree Falls…” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #1 – “The Last Sea Serpent” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #2 – “The Wrath of the Fire God” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #2 – “The Ghost of 13 Mile Island!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #27 – “In the Dark” (review)
TMNT Meet the Conservation Corps #1 (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #9 – “Be a Star” (review)
Unpublished – “Coney Island Days” (review)

MIDNIGHT SUN (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures #24 (back-up) – “It Started in… Chinatown” (review)
TMNT Adventures #25 (back-up) – “Dragon Rage” (review)
TMNT Adventures #26 (back-up) – “Questions” (review)
TMNT Adventures #27 (back-up) – “The White Ninja” (review)
TMNT Adventures #28 – “Midnight Sun, Part One” (review)
TMNT Adventures #29 – “Midnight Sun, Part Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #30 – “Midnight Sun, Part Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #31 – “Turning Japanese” (review)
TMNT Adventures #32 – “The Good, the Bad and the Tattooed” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #1 (back-up) – “Oo-La-La, Part One” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #2 (back-up) – “Oo-La-La, Part Two” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #3 (back-up) – “Oo-La-La, Part Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #33 – “The Karma of Katmandu” (review)
TMNT Adventures #34 – “The Search for the Charlie Llama” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #1 – “You’re Fired!” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #2 – “The Chinatown Connection” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #3 – “Big Trouble Under Chinatown” (review)

UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures #35 – “The Black Stone” (review)
TMNT Adventures #35 (back-up) – “Mah Name!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #36 – “Steel Breeze” (review)
TMNT Adventures #37 – “Stump’d Again!” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #1 – “The Mighty Mutanimals!!” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #2 – “Snake, Rattle & Roll” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #3 – “Deadheads” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #4 – “Days of Future Past” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #5 – “Bad Attitudes” (review)
TMNT Adventures #38 – “United we Stand, Divided we Fall: Part One” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #6 – “United we Stand, Divided we Fall: Part Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #39 – “United we Stand, Divided we Fall: Part Three” (review)

THE FUTURE SHARK TRILOGY (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

Mighty Mutanimals #7 – “Armaggon…” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #8 – “The Cruel Sea” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #9 – “Slash!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #40 – “1492” (review)
TMNT 30th Anniversary Special – "Paper or Plastic?" (review)
TMNT Adventures #41 – “…And Deliver us from Evil” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #7 – “The Return of… Monsterex!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #42 – “Future Tense” (review)
TMNT Adventures #43 – “Past Lives” (review)
TMNT Adventures #44 – “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” (review)
TMNT Adventures #45 – “Mutations” (review)
Donatello and Leatherhead #1 – “Hassel in the Hollow Earth!” (review)
Donatello and Leatherhead #2 – “Found: One Lost World!” (review)
Donatello and Leatherhead #3 – “Attack of the Amazons” (review)

THE BLACK HOLE TRILOGY (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures #46 – “Fox Hunt” (review)
TMNT Adventures #47 – “The Eyes of Sarnath” (review)
TMNT Adventures #48 – “Out of the Blue (Into the Black)” (review)
TMNT Adventures #49 – “The Dream of the Blue Turtle” (review)
TMNT Adventures #50 – “Kill Them!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #51 – “Chameleons are Forever” (review)
TMNT Adventures #52 – “Shattered” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #10 – “Fox Trap!” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #10 – “A Perfect Evening” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #11 – “The Fifth Turtle” (review)

MEGADEATH (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures #48 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 1 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #49 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 2 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #50 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 3 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #51 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 4 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #52 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 5 of 7” (review)
TMNT Presents Merdude and Michaelangelo #1 – “Dawn of the Kraken” (review)
TMNT Presents Merdude and Mondo Gecko #2 – “Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel” (review)
TMNT Presents Merdude vs. Ray Fillet #3 – “The Last Tsarnian: Introducing Bloho” (review)
TMNT Adventures #53 – “The Animus War, Part 1 of 2” (review)
TMNT Adventures #54 – “The Animus War, Part 2 of 2” (review)
TMNT Adventures #53 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 6 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #54 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 7 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #55 – “Terracide, Part One of Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #56 – “Terracide, Part Two of Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #57 – “Terracide, Part Three of Three” (review)

THE MOON EYES SAGA (AND OTHER ADVENTURES)

TMNT Adventures #58 – “Adrift”/“How the Pre-TMNTs Got Their Colors” (review)
TMNT Adventures #59 – “Blind Sight, Part One of Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #60 – “Blind Sight, Part Two of Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #61 – “Once, Again, Always” (review)
TMNT Adventures #67 – “Of Wolves and Men” (review)
TMNT Adventures #68 – “The Howling of Distant Tomorrows” (review)
TMNT Adventures #69 – “Twilight” (review)
TMNT Adventures #70 – “A Dusk, a Dawn” (review)
TMNT Adventures #67 – “North to Alaska, Part One” (review)
TMNT Adventures #68 – “North to Alaska, Part Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #69 – “North to Alaska, Part Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #70 – “North to Alaska, Part Four” (review)
TMNT Adventures #71 – “How the Turtles Got Their Weapons, Part 1” (review)
TMNT Adventures #72 – “How the Turtles Got Their Weapons, Part 2” (review)
The Year of the Turtle #1 – “Chapter One: Go, Go, Mutant Turtles!” (review)
The Year of the Turtle #2 – “Chapter Two: Snow Way Out!” (review)
The Year of the Turtle #3 – “Chapter Three: Story’s End!” (review)

DREAMLAND (AND OTHER ADVENTURES FROM THE FUTURE)

TMNT Adventures #62 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter I” (review)
TMNT Adventures #63 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter II” (review)
TMNT Adventures #64 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter III” (review)
TMNT Adventures #65 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter IV” (review)
TMNT Adventures #66 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter V” (review)
Furrlough #47 – “Ninjara, Part 1” (review)
Furrlough #48 – “Ninjara, Part 2” (review)
Furrlough #52 – “Chapter Three: Seed of Destruction” (review)
TMNT Adventures #62 – “Dreamland, Part 1 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #63 – “Dreamland, Part 2 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #64 – “Dreamland, Part 3 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #65 – “Dreamland, Part 4 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #66 – “Dreamland, Part 5 of 5” (review)

NON-CANON ADVENTURES

TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Storm Drain Savers” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #8 – “Ninjara vs. Mondo Dog Catcher” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #11 – “E = MC Zip Lock” (review)



Notations:

*TMNT ADVENTURES: The main TMNT Adventures series was mostly written by one man: Steve Murphy (using the pseudonyms “Dean Clarrain” and “J.D. Vollman”). As such, the narrative is heavily serialized, with one story leading directly into the next. However, wherever there were breaks within the pacing, that’s where I found it best to place stories from the miniseries and Specials. You’ll likely notice quite a few stashed around the “Slash Trilogy” (after TMNTA #22 but before TMNTA #28). That’s because, the trilogy aside, several one-shot stories were utilized as monthly filler during this period while the back-up serial caught up with the schedule so as to prelude the “Midnight Sun” arc. As such, that left plenty of room to throw in stories from the Specials.

*TMNT ADVENTURES SPECIALS: The TMNT Adventures Specials were a series of quarterly editions, each containing two to three stories. The stories in these Specials often occurred in different eras across the timeline of the ongoing, and the letters page even stated as such to soothe confused readers. These proved the most difficult to slot-in, as some contained contradictory elements (the 4-part arc between Special #1 and Special #2 was said to take place prior to TMNTA #5 in the letters page, but the stories-themselves contained references to later events) while others featured guest appearances from characters when there’s scarcely any opportunity for them to show up (Man Ray’s appearance in Special #6 is especially problematic). Still others contained an art style very chaotic and different than that seen in the ongoing. Be that as it may, I endeavored to include everything unless it made a positively irreconcilable contradiction to the series.

*THE MINISERIES: Perhaps the most important of the ancillary TMNT Adventures comics were the miniseries, which often acted as epilogues to story arcs in the ongoing or weaved in and out of issues, containing vital chapters. The placement of some could be a little bizarre (the Merdude miniseries acts as an interlude during the “Megadeath” back-up serial), but they were perhaps the easiest to fit, as they contained specific references to stories and events.

*THE MAY EAST SAGA: The lone exception is the May East Saga, which was originally published as canon to the TMNT Adventures ongoing (characters exclusive to the miniseries received biographies in the Mutant Universe Sourcebook #2) only to later be rendered non-canon by Special #11 (the events being written off as nothing more than a dream). “It Takes Guts…” is the only story to directly reference the events of the May East Saga, meaning it must be considered nothing more than a “dream”, as well. I refrained from placing both stories in the NON-CANON category simply because they were initially written to be part of continuity and were removed after the fact. And if you haven’t guessed, it’s because they were terrible.

*THE FUTURE: Toward the end of the ongoing, Murphy began writing several stories taking place in the not-too-distant to very-distant future. I grouped them here in chronological order: The April story takes place in 1999, the Ninjara story in a non-descript high tech future, and the “Dreamland” story a hundred years from the present of TMNT Adventures.  The Ninjara serial was published after the cancellation of TMNT Adventures in an... "adult" magazine.  As a result, it contains nudity, cursing and gore and will likely never be reprinted with the rest of the TMNT Adventures material.  It was also never completed and ends on a cliffhanger.

*THE FOREVER WAR: “The Forever War” was originally intended to be Steve Murphy’s story arc spanning TMNT Adventures #71-75. However, editorial issues at Archie resulted in the cancellation of that storyline. It was later intended to be completed by Mirage Studios in 2009, but the sale of the TMNT brand to Viacom resulted in the story being mothballed once again. It is as yet undetermined if it shall ever be completed and published. For more, see my article, “Whatever Happened to the Forever War?” then e-mail IDW and tell them how much you want it.

*NON-CANON: Generally, I tried to avoid labeling something “non-canon” as much as possible. TMNT Adventures featured a wide array of artists, each with their own radically different visual style. So with that in mind, I didn’t feel it appropriate to designate something “non-canon” just because it looked weird (the issues by Milton Knight, for example). The stories under this category were placed there because they contained fourth wall-breaking elements (“Storm Drain Savers”), cartoonish gags incongruous with the atmosphere of the series (“E = MC Ziplock”) or positively irreconcilable contradictions in character origins (“Ninjara vs. Mondo Dog Catcher”).

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