Originally published in: The Collected Gizmo
Originally published by: Mirage
Publication date: December, 1988
Story and Art: Michael Dooney
“King for a Day”
At Lord Simultaneous’ summer home on the very edge of time and space, apprentice Timestress Renet has overslept. Lord Simultaneous’ bellowing awakens Renet, but it also awakens one of the magical artifacts housed in her bunk: The Kril. The weird talking flute-thing goes nuts, blasting magical energies into time and space. Renet calms him down and he explains he was having a nightmare about when the evil sorceress Queen Megdaline Fey abused his power.
Earth, the present (technically the future from our POV but whatever). Gizmo and Fluffy are getting a bite to eat at Big W Burgers when one of the Kril’s magical energy blasts pierces the boundaries of time and space and zaps them.
They awaken a moment later to find themselves in the distant past, dressed as a king and a knight. A knight named Castor tells Gizmo that their quest to regain the Kril from Megdaline Fey has failed and they must flee through a teleportation circle while they still can. Confused, Gizmo and Fluffy escape as Fey grips the Krill and swears to end them.
Sometime later, Gizmo and Fluffy find themselves in “their” castle. Apparently, Castor and everyone else is under the impression that they’re King Tobias II and General Dorgon. Castor insists that it was the magical properties of the Kril that changed them and Gizmo and Fluffy decide to just roll with it since they have no other choice. Castor tells them of the evils Fey will accomplish if she’s allowed to keep the Kril and how it will be magically bound to her soul if she possesses it past midnight. The pair figure they’d better get it from her.
Following Castor, they make another bid to reclaim the Kril from Fey. Using giant four-eyed aquatic hamsters, they sneak into her castle through the sewer system. Fey, seeing their arrival through her crystal ball, uses the Kril to summon evil entities to do her bidding.
The first such entity they encounter is a giant man-eating worm. Gizmo manages to blind it with his cape and the worm smashes its head against a stone wall. Next they encounter a demon made of fire. Gizmo, being a robot, is impervious to its flames, but he still can’t lay a finger on it in battle. Fluffy finds a cask of wine and douses the demon with the fluid.
They at last reach Fey’s chamber. Gizmo rushes her and she attempts to kill him with the Kril. The blast passes through him harmlessly, since apparently it cannot hurt artificial lifeforms. Gizmo takes the Kril and conks her over the head with it. Gizmo then uses the Kril’s power to balance the good and evil in Fey’s soul, reincarnating her as a more benevolent (or at least level-headed) individual.
The adventure complete, Gizmo and Fluffy begin to vanish. Gizmo tosses Fey the Kril and tells Castor that his last royal decree is that she should be their new ruler. The Kril says that this isn’t how things were supposed to go down and accuses Gizmo and Fluffy of being revisionist historians.
Gizmo and Fluffy rematerialize at the burger joint and decide to get their lunch to go. As they walk across an overgrown field toward ‘Soto, Gizmo wonders how Fey turned out, but Fluffy figures they’ll never know. Behind them, on a pedestal obscured by weeds, is a majestic statue of Queen Fey, dubbing her “Mother of Justice and Prosperity”.
*This story is continued from Gizmo (Vol. 2) #6. The story continues in Gizmo and the Fugitoid #1.
*Regarding Renet, because of all the time travel shenanigans, it’s hard to say where in her timeline her scene takes place. Since she’s still characterized as an irresponsible apprentice Timestress, probably sometime before TMNT (Vol. 1) #47.
*This story has only ever been published in The Collected Gizmo trade paperback from Mirage.
Although it wasn’t published individually, I sort of think of “King for a Day” as the last issue of the Gizmo ongoing series. It actually bridges the Gizmo ongoing and the Gizmo & the Fugitoid miniseries nicely, mainly due to the presence of mainstay TMNT character Renet.
While it’s just a cameo, it introduces Gizmo and Fluffy to the wider Mirage universe, or at least acknowledges to the readers that they exist within it, and gets us underway for the more substantial crossover to come. Funny how Gizmo and Fluffy have met minor or recurring Mirage characters, but have yet to ever have a full-blown crossover with the TMNT (beyond brief cameos and pin-ups, I mean).
Renet is ultimately just a plot device to get the adventure underway and she ceases to be relevant beyond the first page. The rest of the story is a fun if hurried adventure, though maybe a little bland (kind of reads like a rather listless DnD campaign). Dooney’s artwork makes the story fun to read even if the plot is kind of just going through the motions. I especially dug his renderings of all the creatures and monsters, like those goofy four-eyed hamsters.
So that’s about it. “King for a Day” is the lone exclusive feature in The Collected Gizmo (outside of a foreword from Laird and a few pin-ups). As bonus content, it’s worth the price of the trade even if you own all the other stories in their individual printings. For TMNT collectors, the cameo from Renet might make it extra attractive.